Monday, April 18, 2016

Writer’s Burnout

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. 

30 comments :

  1. Hi Murees - this is so true ... there's no point in driving oneself into the ground - even if you achieve .. the 'left-overs' are difficult to deal with - good for you realising what is necessary and what you need to help yourself ... be kind to you - essential in this day and age - all the best - Hilary

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  2. You're so right about being kind to ourselves. And I'm glad to hear you're optimistic that you'll figure it out - you will! :)

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  3. It is supposed to be fun, and if you're not enjoying it, that's a problem. Take care of yourself, do what you can, and remember to have fun.

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  4. Burn-out is a major thing. If you're starting to feel bored with watching tv, your muse might just have a new idea in store for you. :-)

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    1. I think she's urging me to get off my butt and do some writing:) At least that is what I'm hoping.

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  5. I COULDN'T be facing burn out could I? This is the first time, finishing one project without having another mapped out in my brain already. Do I do another stand-alone? A third volume of SEEker? A sequel to Haunting Tressel? A Lycan Council? Revenir? What about a SF, or another Thriller? Oh my. What should I do?

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    1. I think you are doing good. You have so many choices. All of them sound good. I'm jealous:)

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  6. I do the same thing, work all hours of the day and night, little to no exercise, same with food and sleep. And yes, you do tell yourself you'll make up for it after the task is finished. I've always done that, but ass I get older the harder it is to recoup. Need to change my ways, and I keep saying that, but will I do it, that's the question. :)
    Hope you find your balance soon!

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  7. Good advice! It's true. We push and push and push. Writing is such an open ended thing. There's no 9 to 5. So we always think we need to push more, push harder. Take care of you!

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  8. Thank you for sharing! This is so true. I got sick immediately after I published my first two books. I think I killed my immune system with stress. So, this last time, I didn't go for a huge push when I published. I don't know if that was the wisest decision to make, but it was the one I chose. And, I'm glad that I did for the sake of my health.
    Take care!!!

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    1. Thank you. You always have to consider what is best for you. Wishing you well.

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  9. When you work too hard, you get burned out quickly and it's no longer a joy but a burden. Taking a little time away always helps.

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  10. So interesting that we are going through such similar experiences after both having published books recently. Maybe it is a bit of a finally published adrenaline high crash? Depression, poor eating, lack of writing, lack of desire to write - all this plus more recently. Hang in there. We will both get through this!

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. We will absolutely get through this, no doubt. Wishing you well.

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  11. At least you're aware of the reason for the burnout, and can now put measures in place to ensure it doesn't happen again.
    A step at a time. As the saying goes - Rome wasn't built in a day.
    You have to look after yourself too.
    Take care.
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. It was definitely a hard lesson to learn. I agree with taking it a step at a time:)

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  12. I guess we all find our way when the body/mind is ready.
    You will too. There doesn't seem to be "one size fit's all

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    1. Thank you, Belva. I look forward to the day I'm ready to bounce back:)

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  13. Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this post. I really hope you're feeling more positive now. Writing, first and foremost, should be fun. Sometimes you'll be tearing your hair out and crying in front of your computer because you lost all of yesterday's work... but, you should accept (and even enjoy) those feelings. Oh, that makes no sense at all... I'll just go and stand in the corner.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Annalisa:) I know exactly what you mean. I tend to get obsessed with doing things perfect and then I forget to have fun. Next time will definitely be different.

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  14. Sorry I'm late reading this post, Murees. I do hope you are feeling better. Try not to despair too much - I think many of us have experienced similar. Don't be afraid to wallow in the feelings for a time and accept them. Do nice things for yourself - allow yourself some selfishness - then after a while you will begin to feel better. Sending you lots of well wishes and positive vibes to help you through - and you will get through :):)

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    1. Thank you. No worries:) I am fighting my way back. I appreciate the kind words.

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  15. I wrote a post about this once--how you reach the end of the race only to find out another race starts at the finish line. I think that's the biggest surprise to most debut authors. Here's to taking it easy and going at a pace we can handle!

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    1. Agreed. Thank you for the support, Crystal.

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