Writer Burnout: My Struggle to Not Turn Into a Pile of Ash by Keri Kruspe
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Keri Kruspe as she shares with us “Writer Burnout: My Struggle to Not Turn Into a Pile of Ash .” Enjoy!
Not too long ago I sat at my computer and stared at the proverbial blinking cursor.
It wasn’t the writer’s block that had me frozen; it was an unfamiliar feeling of indecision.
The only thing looping in my brain was a never ending of “what do I do…what do I do”?
Several things fought for attention within me:
- Several writer sites were in a frenzy, saying we had to leave Mailchimp and go to another provider. That meant that I’d have to once again learn a whole new system, just when I was just becoming comfortable with this one.
- I had just released my debut trilogy. How, where, and when should I market it? Keep marketing it? My ROI on my ads was dismal to say the least.
- My reader’s magnet was finally ready. I had to create a landing page. But, where? How do I do that? On my website or in the email provider (see above)?
- What was the best way to advertise my new reader magnet to get folks to sign up for my newsletter? I had to increase my mailing list — everyone says so. Do I do it on Instafreebie? Bookfunnel? Other newsletters in my genre? All of them?
- I was in the middle of my current Work in Progress. How do I balance a full-time job around getting this novel completed? I should have had this finished a month ago and I’m only half-way through! Ack!
- I had to update my website, especially with the new reader magnet. Maybe I should
change the image. What should it look like? Are the tabs in the right place? Was my homepage effective?
You get the picture.
That’s only a small snippet of what was rattling around my brain that day.
All I knew was… I couldn’t do anything. I was completely immobilized.
The mere thought of changing email providers made me numb.
Researching the best way to promote my reader magnet made me gag.
Don’t get me started on figuring out how to revamp my site.
My brain and chest hurt.
While sitting there like Elsa from Frozen, I began to hyperventilate. I was absolutely paralyzed and couldn’t make a decision… any decision.
How in the hell did I end up like this?
Sometimes I’m smart enough to recognize help when it slaps me upside the head.
I’d only just begun listening to writer’s podcasts in the morning while I got ready for work (i.e. Self-Publishing Formula by Mark Dawson and The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn) and I’d run out of new material.
So, a couple of days after my “indecision meltdown” episode, I read on one of my reader groups about a speaker at RWA by the name of Becca Syme. Who discussed author burnout.
Heart pounding, this sounded like something I wanted… no, needed to hear.
Writer Burnout (4)
I started with her episode “Writer Burnout (4)” in her QuitCast and immediately got blown away.
It alarmed me to hear Becca state that when she’d gone to conferences in the past, she’d seen random cases of people burning out. But this year, the sheer volume of people talking about burnout felt abnormal.
She stated people were worried they didn’t have what it took. They couldn’t keep up the pace. They couldn’t continue to do whatever it is that they had to do to “succeed” or up the pace to become “successful.”
They didn’t know what to choose, or they had decision fatigue that caused them to hit this fever pitch.
That sounded awfully familiar. It gave me chills.
She continued, that it appeared to be an epidemic in the writing community and she was quite alarmed.
The more she explained why she was saying what she was saying, the more my stomach dropped.
I wasn’t alone. The overwhelmed feeling squeezing my chest was not just happening to me.
Burn Out Faster
She explained how there are outliers in our industry who operate and thrive at a very high level of production. These folks can constantly push five books or more a year; run a podcast/course, lead in some outside endeavor, all the while constantly use social media as their virtual marketing habitat.
If we try to mimic those rare individuals, we’ll have a tendency to burn out faster, and it will take us longer to “dig” ourselves out of the rut we’ve created.
The Writer Community
Keep in mind, as a community of writers, what we do impacts every one of us.
We all rely on each other.
We are a part of a system in the same way that our writing lives are a system, or our networks or communities are systems.
When one part of the system is faltering, the whole system will eventually not run at optimal peak speed or ability. It might fail because we’ve all hit burnout to some degree or another.
Think of what would happen to us if all the groups/ networks/ friends/ collaborators/ organizations as writers we rely on were to experience burnout at the same time.
Our precious community would suffer, and it would take a miracle to bring us all back to optimal performance.
Suffering from Writer Burnout?
Could you be suffering from burnout?
According to The American Institute of Stress, the number one leading cause of stress is Job Pressure.
Take a few moments to ask yourself a couple of questions:
- What does burnout really look like?
- What happens if I can’t stop the inertia of my life, and I hit the bottom?
- How do I know if that’s happened?
- And how do I get out of it?
If any of your answers concern you, take a few steps back and reevaluate what’s going on in your life.
Search for some answers. Don’t brush it off by saying you can “motivate” yourself out of it.
If you need a place to start, check out the podcast I mentioned above. Becca is a great speaker and has worked with numerous authors over the years. I know I will continue to explore her podcasts and blogs to help me get over my burnout situation.
After all, I can’t just sit like a lump, staring at a blinking monitor for the rest of my life. With my luck, some scary little girl will jump out and say, “They’re here.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Keri Kruspe has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures, Keri’s first series is An Alien Exchange trilogy. An Alien Exchange is the first book in the arousing Alien Exchange sci-fi romance series. If you like sexy aliens, feisty heroines, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Keri Kruspe’s steamy space adventure.
Keri now resides with her family in the wilds of Northwestern Michigan. An avid reader, Keri enjoys good wine, good food, and watching action/adventure movies. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world of writing or traveling with her hubby in their RV, discovering intelligent life here on Earth. For goodies, news of upcoming releases, sign up for her newsletter at www.kerikruspe.com.