Burnout

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I read this article in the May 2018, Romance Writers Report “The Key to a Lifelong Career,” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and I totally recognized myself in it: new on the scene, obsessively working to get as much content out as possible.

I already realized that I put myself on a tight schedule, but it’s my first full year as a published author. I definitely did not read this article and say “that’s not me” when it is so me.

You see, I can bang out a complete book in six weeks without any problems. I know this because I’ve done it more than once. But what I haven’t done more than once before this year was write, edit, revise, and have released back to back to back novels. I can feel myself headed toward total deep fried burnout.

So, even though I am in the middle of a deadline, I took the day off. But not just from writing, from panicking about the writing. I actually took the advice of the article and took screen time off too. I didn’t record my day’s adventures for Facebook or Instagram. I took pictures of my kids for me. And at the end of the day, when we were all back home and exhausted, I didn’t scoop up the laptop to occupy half my brain while we sat around and watched movies. I watched the movies.

The next day I’m back at writing. I have a huge word count to meet, but I tend to work ahead of my deadlines (not up to my deadlines). I’m confident everything will get done on schedule. And I know that going forward I will take the time for self-care first. I will not schedule my edits so close together, I will not schedule my releases so tight unless I’ve managed to work way ahead of those dates.

You see, writing the story is actually the easy part. Six weeks to get a complete, cohesive story is easy, as long as that’s all I’m doing. Once I add in the hours for marketing, revising and editing a second or third story at the same time, while still working my two part-time desk jobs, six weeks is not enough time.

I failed to take into account life, and all that other stuff when putting this year’s schedule together. Fortunately, I think I figured it out before I hit burnout. I recognized the signs in myself. I am approaching work with a new attitude, and a new sense of balance. I already knew I needed a business plan, now I know a few things that will need to be included. I’m glad I figured this out now, and not after two or three years of pushing myself too hard too far.