The Business of Being a Writer

Being a writer is not just about writing. That’s one of the first things you learn when you actually become a writer. It’s about a lot of other stuff, too. The stuff that allows you to do the actual writing. 

For example, I subscribe to a lot of email lists for writers. I belong to several professional organizations for writers and journalists. I’m a member of a couple of online communities for writers. I spend most of my professional time….yes, writing.

Or well, actually, I spend most of that time doing the things that will allow me to eventually write. Like contact potential sources, plead with potential sources to let me interview them, interview sources, keep in contact with sources, double-check info, buy office supplies (what is it with me and my inability to keep enough printer paper in stock?), make sure the printer has paper in it, contacting those sources again, going over notes, looking up stats, and so on.

And then I write. I write, then I edit, then I rewrite, then I edit some more, and then I (gulp) file with my editor or client. 

So today, I got my usual assortment of emails from that variety of organizations that I mentioned above, and you know what I did? I deleted them without even looking at them. All of them. They may have–probably did–contain amazing gems of information that would kick-start or nourish my career, but man, I am. just. tired. 

Every once in awhile, I get like this. I lose a little bit of steam. The big culprit right now is Summer. Endless summer. My son has been back in school–first grade, gah!–for more than a week, but it’s still full metal summer here. I’m tired of summer leaching all the energy out of me. I don’t want to market myself. I don’t want to send pitches to new editors…or even to old editors. I don’t want to send friendly emails to former contacts to check in and see if maybe they have any new possible work for me. I don’t want to network with other writers. I don’t even feel much like sending invoices to the clients for whom I do regular work.

I kind of just want to lie down. 

Does anyone else out there sometimes get burned out by the business of being a writer? It’s a necessary part of the job, absolutely. I get it. I really do. But sometimes, it’s just exhausting. Again, necessary. I’m not going to give up my professional memberships or stop reading articles about improving my craft–or more importantly, reading and studying the issues that I write about. I’m not going to stop being my own manager, either. But sometimes I think I just need a break from that aspect of it. 

The writing, though…I still like doing that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here, would I? I think what I need to do is find a Really Great Book to read. That often inspires me. So does a Really Great article. Autumn will help, too. 

What burns you out? What do you do to move past it?




About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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1 Response to The Business of Being a Writer

  1. Abby says:

    Oh, I can totally relate. I’m in this place now. I actually let one of my association memberships lapse, because I couldn’t keep up with the publications and message boards, and the constant reminders of what I COULD and SHOULD be doing were exhausting. I dialed back, did almost no writing work at all over the holidays, and am just now starting to feel energized by a couple new assignments. Those periods of burn-out are just part of the deal when you’re a freelance writer, I think.

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