Practical Tips to Prevent Research Burnout So You Can Keep Writing

Practical Tips to Prevent Research Burnout So You Can Keep Writing

Practical Tips to Prevent Research Burnout So You Can Keep Writing
Photo by Lesley Scott

Practical Tips to Prevent Research Burnout So You Can Keep Writing

It's easy to get burned out, especially when it comes to research. If you're researching for a book or a series of articles, you can find yourself feeling overwhelmed and uninspired.

Some writers prefer to get all of the research done upfront prior to starting the first draft. It sounds good in theory because it makes the writing process seem so much easier. But while it sounds good, writers can get overwhelmed and lose the motivation to continue or even start the writing process. Rather than setting yourself up to get burned out, find ways that help you stay motivated and inspired.

If you're struggling in this area, here are some tips to help you prevent research burnout so you can keep moving forward on your writing project:

Break it up into parts.

Instead of doing all of the research at once, break it up into smaller parts. Figure out what information you need before you can start writing. You should be able to figure this out from your outline. Your outline might also tell you what information you'll need to know later on down the road. When you get to the point in your novel where you need that new information, set aside time for research. 

If you don't have an outline, I recommend spending a few minutes getting some ideas down. An outline will help you determine what information you need and where it should go in your first draft. And then as you get farther along with your novel, you'll likely have more ideas and revelations about your story.

Once you have gathered enough information to write each section, put the research aside and get started on the writing.

Write as you go.

As you learn, incorporate the information into your first draft. This process is similar to taking notes while you research, but instead, try to update your first draft with the information you've learned. While you research for your novel, make a point to keep up with the writing. In addition to helping you prevent research burnout, this will also help you stick with the routine of daily writing. 

Make the research interest-based.

When you're interested in the topic you're learning about, it's easier to enjoy the research. As you write, make a list of questions you need answers to as they come up. See if there are questions you can come up with that are either interesting or thought-provoking. Once you have a few questions listed, take some time to find the answers. 

Most importantly, don't get sucked into thinking you need to know all of the answers before you start to write. If you don't know them, write a skeleton section so you can maintain your momentum and rhythm. Then once you have the answers, update your work with the information you've learned. The main goal is to prevent burnout so you can achieve your writing goals.

Jody Calkins
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