I’ve been helping writers to create publishing schedules for 2015. Several writers are very ambitious, which is wonderful. However, you need to be aware that your energy is a finite resource. We often discuss writer’s block, but we don’t pay enough attention to burnout. If you try to do too much, and push yourself, you run a very real risk of burning out.
Today, writers write a lot. You’ve got 101 balls in the air, and you need to keep them spinning. Sometimes, for the sake of your health and sanity, you need to drop some balls.
What’s burnout? You’ll know when it happens to you. Over the years, I’ve had a couple of episodes, and I never want to go through it again. Here’s a rundown on the symptoms.
Relax, and create: always be relaxed when you write
You need to create, and to relax. Most of all, you need downtime each day:
“To help relieve pressure, schedule daily blocks of downtime to refuel your brain and well-being. It can be anything from meditation to a nap, a walk, or simply turning off the wifi for a while.”
Relaxing is a real challenge. It helps to get up from your desk every half hour or so, and stretch. Take a couple of deep breaths. Shake out your arms and shoulders.
If you’re a full-time writer, schedule your downtime. I go for a walk at least once a day. I also take Honey, my Jack Russell terrier, out to play several times a day.
You’ll find that when you take breaks, your energy lasts longer, and you get more done.
Do what you CAN do: be ambitious
Yes, I know it’s paradoxical. I’ve pointed out the dangers of burnout, and suggested that you build in downtime. I’m also suggesting that you extend yourself, and become ambitious.
I’d say that at least 90% of the writers with whom I work aren’t ambitious enough. They don’t have a real perspective on their skills, and on the current writing environment. They set their goals too low.
You can accomplish more than you think you can.
Make 2015 the year you stretch yourself as a writer. Go for writing jobs you think are just beyond your reach. Send out more qeries and proposals. And if you’re writing ebooks, publish more.
Writing more than you think you can won’t lead to burnout if you’re excited and challenged. Write what excites you, and scares you, too. Go for your writing dreams in 2015. You CAN do it. 🙂
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