The idea of perfection is something I struggle with every day. Not so much today, but in general, absolutely. It makes me push myself a little more when I’m tired. It fires me up to do certain tasks repetitively to make sure my end product is close to perfection. It sometimes makes me feel a little crazy.
For the past few months I’ve not felt like myself. I attributed it to the fact that I was lazy. Even that I had no more creativity left. I even thought that because I was published, I no longer wished to write―that I achieved my goal and that I was complete. If you're me, you would chastise yourself for thinking such things. And I did. The truth however, which I didn't want to admit, is that I was suffering from burnout.
As I was getting my manuscript ready for publication I didn’t always take good care of myself mentally, or physically. I worked long hours, well into the night. I skipped meals. I kept working and working. Telling myself that after all was done I would rest. But that was a lie. Even after I published I kept pushing myself more. I had to promote more. I had to write more. I just had to do more. I felt guilty if I wasn’t working. At some point, I don’t remember when, my body and mind just wouldn’t do as much anymore. I had a depression episode and I blamed my lack of sales. The fact that I wasn’t better at marketing. That I wasn’t likeable as a person, or writer. I blamed everything but myself for keeping on and pushing harder.
I am finding my way back after yet another episode of depression and I admit that I've been suffering from writer’s burnout. I don’t feel sorry for myself anymore, because now I know what not to do next time. I was so focused on getting everything just right, that I forgot to have fun. Fun is important. After all, I’m planning on doing this until the day I die, so if I don’t enjoy the process I won’t be doing it for long.
I am still struggling to get back into a writing routine, but I'm optimistic that I will figure it out. For the past few months I’ve just been binge watching TV and I never thought I would say this, but I'm bored. The programs aren’t that appealing anymore.
If you're in the process of publishing, or are writing a new project, please take care of yourself. If you feel tired, take a break. If you need a few days off, take it. Be kind to yourself.