Burned Out

I am burned out.

candles

I have been burning the candle at both ends, and as so many have said before, you can’t do that forever.

I’m a mom, corporate employee, spouse, writer, and person who exercises.

I just can’t be all of it the way I want all the time, and I’m paying the price.

 

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And here I gave up coffee…

I am no longer finding joy in writing.

I’m finding less happiness in blogging.

All of the branding and social media is exhausting. A more extroverted person might not find it so, but that’s not me. Few writers seem to be natural extroverts, though they do exist, and this whole use of personality to connect with readers is starting to seem spurious at best.

So, I unplugged. I took several days off of all social media, and no one missed me. Makes me think social media is a lot less social than its name implies.

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I haven’t exercised in over a week.

Rather than feeling tired and run down, I’m actually feeling better. Maybe the break was needed.

I haven’t written in 5 days. Not even over the weekend. It felt good.

No guilt at sneaking in a few words while the kids were playing or while I was doing housework. No race to the computer once the kids were in bed.

I don’t know what this means for me long term. Perhaps it’s the wake-up call I need to get my priorities straight and realize I can’t do everything I want and need to do.

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I’ve spent the last 2.5 years working on my writing. The last 1.5 years adding a blog and other social branding to the mix. I have yet to publish a book. I don’t even have an agent.

A growing part of me says to self-publish and be done. Put the work I’ve already done out there and walk away. But I can’t do that without feeling disingenuous.

If my self-published work fails, which it most likely will, I won’t know how it could have done if I pushed forward and kept up the branding. If I had a back list. Or if I’d tried, really tried, and succeeded in landing a publisher like Avon that know the Romance market.

I’ve walked away from writing before. Many times before. It demands so much, and there are so many other things in life that need me.

Demon
Is this the doubt-demon making an appearance? Again…

Perhaps I just need a break. A chance to catch my breath. To ignore my muse for a while so she’ll want to come back (she can be fickle like that).

Or maybe I need to take a long break and ease back. I already know I will never be a full time writer. We depend on my corporate America income.

 

Have you ever come to a point where you know something has to give? Where you’re feeling frazzled, burned out, and like you aren’t always present in the moment? What did you do about it? What choices did you make? How did you deal with it?

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15 thoughts on “Burned Out

  1. Been there. Done that. Corporate manager, demanding job, four kids, husband, house, everyone’s everything. Except I wasn’t giving myself the stuff I needed for me. I sucked at taking care of me.

    Result? Aortic valve replacement. Yes. Open heart surgery. Oh, it was helped along by a undiagnosed genetic condition but still I was told even people with that condition usually didn’t have that surgery until 20 years later.

    Did I listen?

    No.

    Kept doing the same thing. Until the Universe decided it had enough of my nonsense and got me laid off my job. 55 years old working in a dying industry. No jobs for me.

    Went to school on a government program and finished my degree. Still no jobs for a 57 year old woman with a pre-existing heart condition.

    Then the Universe, that bastard arranged a series of falls where I was bed bound for 7 months out of 24 and spent the rest of the time regaining my ability to walk.

    And you know what? The electric company doesn’t care. And I still had to earn money for the bills.

    Finally I got the hint and took up writing again. I started ghostwriting romances.

    The first year was tough. Hand to freakin’ mouth. Kept the lights on though.

    Second year much better.

    I knew I was on the right track when I woke up a couple mornings after securing my first ghostwriting job after nearly two years of being unemployed and I said to myself, “I have a job and it’s writing.”

    And I haven’t regretted it.

    The only thing I regretted was all the years I didn’t write, because I spent a lot of time in intense catch-up to get to a standard where my work was publishable.

    Everyone has a different path, but your burn-out is a symptom of something not working and that’s not you, because you are working damned hard.

    You aren’t getting what you need. A lot going out. Little coming in. If you were fed spiritually and emotionally by the work you did you wouldn’t feel burned-out.

    Something has to go, and you chose the one thing you consider a luxury.

    It’s not a luxury. It’s your life’s breath. That is, if you are a writer.

    Do you know what a real luxury is? When you look at the upcoming month and you say, hmmm, what story do I want to write that I can sell to one of my clients? That when you need extra cash, you put your fingers to the keyboard and start typing.

    Yes. Reorder your priorities.

    Decide what you really want. Not what you think you need to do. Then do that.

    Don’t wait for the Universe to knock some sense into your head. 🙂

    Good luck,

    Beth

    1. Thank you for sharing this. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in 5th grade. Something has always stopped me. Something was always more important. I really do need to do some thinking.

    2. Here’s some advice for you Beth; start telling your story too! Ghost writing pays the bills, but don’t stop putting your name and work out there either!!

  2. Yes, been there, too frequently. Kept searching for the right balance and for understanding about what pushed me into what directions, and how my priorities affected my balance and direction. Took years to find a place anywhere close to balance between life’s demands and my writing desires. It’s a precarious balance. I lose it too easily.

    We’re all waves on the ocean, and none of us are ever the same twice. We can share our experiences, and you can find thought, inspiration and comfort from our comments. But, as you know, your truths are as different and the same as the personalities of your children, or your feelings and hopes from one day to the next.

    Good luck in it all.

    1. We took the same class on branding and I understand the effort required to keep up a blog, FB, twitter, and write something meaningful. It shrinks the days. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the week to do it all, so somethings don’t get done. My suggestion would be to rest first. Don’t make major decisions tired. Don’t try to write everyday. Don’t do social media everyday. Write when you feel like it. I have to want to do something to enjoy it. So I write when I feel the urge. I blog the same way. I get on social media when feeling sociable.
      A final thought, enjoy the moment Mom. Being published does not make you a writer. You are a writer because you want to be and have written. Someone said that or I read it somewhere.
      Keep the dream alive but enjoy the time awake too .Make the most of these years, they don’t last long. Make memories you can share with your grandchildren or use to write your next best seller.
      When you need a laugh, drop by and read my latest drivel.

  3. Balancing life is becoming more and more of a problem nowadays that ever before. It is good to take a break every now and then however. I too know how it is to feel ‘burned out’.

    Perhaps taking a few days out of each month just for you would help give you that break that could make all the difference.

    1. I have really only been doing Twitter. Facebook languishes. The blog does take some time. I have thought about going down to two posts per week… The real time commitment is the day job and the kids. Neither are negotiable.

      1. Agreed, kids kinda like eating! 😛 I would suggest dropping to three blogs a week and theme them like I do. Maybe one is where you post pictures of fantasy art that inspires you? Then you can easily prep a few in advance. Also, maybe some interview series since they’re easy to do. Just ask in a busy Facebook group for your genre and you can easily send them a blank interview template with the questions ready. Just a thought! And slow grow it until you’ve enough books out to warrant the effort. At that point, maybe hire your kids (if they’re old enough) to help manage the Twitter. Make the publishing a bonding opportunity! Obviously it would depend on the temperament of your kids, and you know them better than I do!

  4. Could your husband help with the social media, so you have time to write the stories? Maybe streamline your blog with a theme to content so getting the content gets easier? I use a maroo could your husband help with the social media, so you have time to write the stories? Maybe stream on your blog with a theme to content so getting the content gets easier? I use MARINE MONDAY to talk about snippets of my books, some interview series and WORLD BUILDING WEDNESDAY to talk about my process. Basically, the easier you make it to come up with blog content for your genre, the less work it takes. Find things that fit within your romance genre, and make a theme about it and then you can spend one day a week writing all those blogs, prep them to post and the rest of the week working on your writing.

    1. I asked him. He gave me *the look*.

      An idea, though, to think more about posting topics,

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