I am not a stranger to burnout. I’ve burned out from pretty much every single job I’ve worked since I was sixteen. It’s part of who I am, I can become a bit of a workaholic and then I burnout. I take awhile to recover and then I move on to something new. The timeline is usually about two years. Two years of doing the same thing and then I get exhausted and do a major life shift. This time I lasted three years before I hit writing burnout.
My burnout story starts where I think a lot of peoples do which is the beginning of 2020. At the start of 2020 I was just starting a new job that I love and I felt secure enough to write at a pace that works for me. When I felt overwhelmed by other parts of my life I’d take a break from writing. There was no rush when it came to writing and publishing. I was what a lot of people would call “balanced.” But, here’s the thing about me and “balance”. I hate it. I think it’s boring and boredom is my arch nemesis. So when the pandemic hit and my job did this weird thing where we worked from home every other day. I 10x’d my author career because my full time job doesn’t have a lot we can do from home so it was basically data entry which meant I had a lot of time to think about story ideas and plot them out in my head. On top of that everything was closed which meant I didn’t have to cancel plans with people, something I’m notorious for doing. I could just BE. I thrived in the beginning of the pandemic. I got new covers for old books, wrote and published four new books, grew my mailing list, worked with a PR service, etc. etc. Basically I started to take writing seriously and it felt AMAZING! I requested my release days off so I could talk with my readers and respond to blogs. And then August 2020 hit.
Before I start to talk about the mudslide into my burnout let me preference this by saying I don’t regret all the work I did. It was needed and it set my author platform up for success so now I can just focus on my writing and marketing and not with all these silly admin task. But in August I was back at work in the office full time, the shutdown that we all thought would last a month was still going on, my apartment was starting to feel like a prison, my relationship was getting increasingly worse, my mental health was giving me warning lights.
If ignoring my body and health was a sport I’d be in the Olympics. For those that follow the Gallup strengths I have high Competition, Focus and Achiever. Which basically translates to I ignore everything around me in a attempt to get shit done. So that’s what I did. I wrote another book, and another book, and then I paid wayyy to much money for a image that I figured I’d turn into a cover. I set up a book for pre-order that I hadn’t written yet because my readers wanted it. I was on a high. All while working full-time, all while pretending the pandemic wasn’t happening, all while acting like my 9 year relationship hadn’t slowly died, while acting like I hadn’t gained 30lbs. And then it finally hit.
I couldn’t write anymore. Nothing else got my attention. And for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. Why can’t I write? I don’t believe in writers block, I don’t believe in excuses. I’d gotten up at the crack of dawn everyday for the last three years, I put my butt in the chair and I wrote damn it. No excuses ever.
I woke up early, I put my butt in the chair, and…nothing. The well was dry. Ok I know what to do here I’ll take a day off. That usually does it, one day off, I won’t be able to stop thinking about my WIP and then I’ll be ready to write tomorrow. I’ll be itching for the keyboard. One day turned into two, three, four. And I wrote, don’t get my wrong I said no excuses ever but damn it hurt and it was horrible. Not like “first draft just get it down” horrible I mean actually horrible. It didn’t even sound like my voice. I wrote 10,000 words and then I deleted 8,000 of them. I started over. I started new books. I had a pre-order up and the clock was ticking! I tried writing at night instead. I tried everything.
Meanwhile I still have books that are in some part of the publishing process. I needed to soothe the pain of not being able to write because I could feel the reality seeping in, so I did what any logical person would do…I tried to buy a house. That didn’t work out. So then I applied to college in my sleep(I literally sleep applied) because that was obviously the change I needed. Finishing my degree had to be the answer. That also didn’t work out.
Then it all stopped. Like a train slamming on its breaks everything came full stop. Holy shit there’s a pandemic! I’ve been working basically two jobs the entire time, Holy shit I’m single! Holy shit I got fat! Holy shit I’m broke, I’ve been ordering Amazon packages like it’s no one’s business. Holy shit now my apartment is wayy to small because of all the Amazon packages. I used to be a minimalist.
My feet finally hit the ground and damn did it hurt. It was all too much so I finished the books that were already in process and then I quit. I deactivated my Instagram. I cancelled my pre-order and I stepped away.
To say stepping away was hard would be a understatement. It was painful but I had to fix myself. I made a plan. If you follow gallup strengths I am #1 Futuristic which means I had to remember everything I wanted in life within this world that is currently a little out of whack. Who do I want to be? What do I want my life to look like? At the time I seriously didn’t know if writing was going to be apart of this new me because it was so painful to think about.
The first thing was I had to fix my health. I think I was starting to get sleep apena due to my weight and that scared the shit out of me. I’d wake up gasping for air and I felt like my neck fat was literally choking me. Gross, I know. I was always physically active but I was using food to cope. It had become my only sense of joy.
The next thing was my living situation. I moved but I’d failed to make my new apartment home. I needed the space to feel like mine. A place I could be comfortable, the great thing about my new apartment is that there’s a ton of windows and natural light is my bliss.
Next was hobbies. I didn’t have any. My hobby was writing that’s it. So I started socializing with friends as much as I possible could. At this point the vaccine was out and I felt a lot safer. I could actually go to a restaurant with friends. I started crocheting again, I got into crystals and tarot cards. I went to small business vendor events. I went on vacation for the first time in YEARS!
Then it was my appearance. I stopped caring. I don’t know when it happened I think it was around the time a friend said, “You’re going for guys out of your league.” but I wasn’t! These guys were in my league I’d just let myself go. Or it could have been when my sister said. “You look like you work in a cubicle all the time.” I could scream from the rooftop “I’m pretty, I swear!” all I wanted but no one is going to believe me unless I actually started putting effort towards how I looked. Cue, the hair dye, acrylic nails, Brazilian blowout, make-up bag and clothes that didn’t scream “cubicle.”.
My feet were firmly on the ground, I was living again and only then did my fingers itch and I could write. But I had to set boundaries. I’d heard about boundaries before but I never clearly understood them until this year. I’d set my boundaries for my relationships- things that I won’t and will never tolerate in a romantic partner, I’d set them for my appearance,-unless I’m just taking the dog out for a potty break I won’t leave the house looking like a swap creature. And now I needed to set them for writing.
- Until I can write full-time I won’t force myself to write more than three books a year. That fourth book sent me over the edge lol. (Thank you everyone who read Escaping the Bratva it was a labor of love.)
- I won’t do it all. I’m narrowing my focus to writing/book production and two marketing tactics that I can do consistently. THAT IS IT! No ifs, ands, or butts about it.
- I lowered my expectations. My goals now is just to make enough to keep funding my writing. I have to set goals I can attain at the place I’m at or else I’ll never be satisfied. (Of course I have bigger long term goals but for now this is my focus.)
For my readers, I am more than okay now. My current work in progress; Golden Handcuffs feels so good to write. It doesn’t feel forced by any means and the story is beautiful. You might not see me on social media but I’m here creating books I’m passionate about and living my life. 🙂