If you’ve ever tried to pursue a creative field as a career, or even just as a routine hobby, you may have experienced what a lot of people call “burnout”. It’s when the craft that you used to love starts to feel so tedious and aggravating that you begin to wonder whether or not it’s worth your time anymore. I know this from experience—as I write this, I’m currently on a semester-long leave from studying musical composition at the University of Southern Maine. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll continue with this major, but there were a number of things that pushed me to the point where I felt I needed a break. Some may have been beyond my control, but in this post, I’m going to be focusing on the ones that certainly were, and how they can bring the creative train to a screeching halt if you’re not careful.
My biggest worries always seem to stem from the future. I’m not a man who typically dwells on the past, but in retrospect, my sophomore year in high school was one of the better years in recent memory. I was in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in my life, I was just beginning to discover my love of music, something I would eventually go on to study in college, and I even started to flex those creative muscles. However, one of the things that I’ve always regretted to this day, even if it rarely comes to the forefront of my mind, is turning my back on the craft of writing.
One of the biggest things that hinders the aspiring storytellers, myself included, is the fear of criticism. This is my first time in years writing something for my own personal satisfaction, and two sentences in, I’m already beginning to pick it apart. Anyways, to the point. Characters are the basis of any story. They’re the vehicle that drives the plot along, and the amount of time you spend crafting them is an indication of how much effort you put into your work overall. I mean, if your readers couldn’t care less what happens to these guys, how do you expect your work to engage anyone?