A Case of Burnout


Last year at this time, I was celebrating the release of my 7th book, “Educating Sophia”. Admittedly, by the time her book was released to the world, I was ready to be done with it all. I was worn out – tired of working 24/7 to market my books, while simultaneously not shoving them down people’s throats. Twitter was no longer the darling of social media, what with all the nastiness and insults thrown around. I stopped posting on the regular, stopped participating in the few weekly chats I once set my clock by. In truth, I stopped caring about it all. I was burned out, finished, discouraged. Done.

I decided then and there that I’d give myself a few weeks reprieve from marketing and writing. But the weeks turned into months and I’m nowhere near ready to put another book out there. It’s not that I don’t love writing, because I do. The words are harder to come by now. And honestly, all the marketing and social media responsibilities began to suck the joy out of the craft I once couldn’t get enough of. I stopped writing altogether, which truly terrified me. Had I somehow lost my lost my love for the written word, or was I simply out of words to say?

I reduced my weekly blog posts to just once a month. I stopped interacting on Twitter and rarely interacted at all on Facebook. This was more than ordinary writer’s block. This was me considering walking away for good.

Writing is a discouraging craft regardless whether or not you publish anything. The self-doubt is a constant. But I can deal with self-doubt. I can encourage myself to push through it and have faith in myself. The thing is, I no longer wanted to.

I’ve mentioned before that I was bitten by the writing bug back in high school. I have numerous books (good and bad), just sitting in my computer gathering dust. So you can imagine how unsettling it must be for me to even consider throwing in the towel.

In the year since Sophia’s release, I’ve had a lot of time to consider my next step. I haven’t closed the book (pun intended) on publishing more work, but I don’t have a need to do that right now. I also don’t have the funds to do it, which is part of what holds me back. Sure, I could find someone to make me a cover on the cheap (I’m not at all creative in that regard). I could forego the cost of editing and rely on Betas or Critique Partners to look over my work. I could figure out how to format a book on my own, rather than relying on someone I pay to do it. But here’s the thing….if all I’m going to be able to put out there is a half-assed version of my work, why bother? I may not have a best seller, may never make any money at writing, but I won’t disrespect my readers by giving them anything less than a (mostly) perfect product.

I’ve slowly found ways to stay engaged with my readers without working too hard. I share a lot of other writer’s posts on Facebook and take comfort in the fact that others are putting out the work that I cannot. I sometimes post on Twitter, but mostly I cycle through the nastiness and occasionally interact with the few friends I’ve made on that platform.

To ease the writing burden on myself, I’m going to recycle some blog posts from a few years ago. Maybe give someone new some insight to me and my writing. It should buy me some time, until I can decide what my plans are.

The pressure I put on myself before this case of burnout is no longer there. My goal is to get back to writing what I love….when I feel like writing it. And I must say, it’s amazing that creativity can begin to flourish again when you allow yourself to pause….take a timeout….and breathe.

-AJ

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