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September 05, 2018

Writer’s Burnout Part 1 (Speak)



What is writer’s burnout?

Burnout is very different from writer’s block. It’s worse. Many years ago, I experienced a bad case of writer’s block that stopped my writing for 2 or 3 months. I’ve also experienced the normal day-to-day writer’s block, as well as weeks of writer’s block. And, yes, writer’s block can last a year.

But writer’s burnout is not writer’s block. Writer’s burnout is something you feel deep down…bone-deep. It’s just like when athletes burnout from working themselves too hard and too much for too long. They can lose their love of the sport, physically and mentally. You can get writer's burnout from doing anything related to being an author.





My Story:

I had been writing since I was twelve, and I mean seriously writing with the goal of publication. I wrote nearly every single day. Of course, as I got older and started publishing, I couldn’t write every day, but I still wrote most of the time.

September 2016, I fell headfirst into a spiraling abyss of depression. This depression went on for nine months. I couldn’t write. I struggled to even want to blog. In the beginning, I could hardly eat. April 2017, I finally felt like my old self, but something was still wrong…I wasn’t writing.

I did experience one week of great writing in August. And I did write during the last few days of 2017 and the first two days of 2018, but then…nothing. I tried. I did everything I could possibly do, but I couldn’t focus on a single project longer than a day or two. Writing a paragraph was a mental and physical challenge. For months I had a scary thought but didn’t want to admit it. And then, one night, I knew it was true…I was burned out as a writer.

The next day, I took to Facebook to confess the struggle I’ve had for so long. I got lovely support from many writer friends.

I ended up having to add an update to my post saying I wasn’t looking for advice. I just wanted to be honest and to share my problem with writers who may also be facing burnout. And all the advice I was getting, I had tried. Several times. I did all the things I tell others who suffer from writer’s block to do, but again…I didn’t have writer’s block. The normal tricks were falling. Although the advice was given out of love, they were given by writers who didn’t quite understand, which is not their fault. It was their support that really boosted me, and I did get messages from a couple of writers who did know just what I was talking about and also dealt with extreme depression. It was nice to know I wasn't alone.




3 Tips to START Reversing Burnout:

It was thanks to all of the comments I got that I realized a big step to hopefully reversing my burnout was what I had just done and didn’t realize…

I spoke my truth.

I shared my personal struggle.

I let others in.

TIP #1: If you are afraid you’re facing writer’s burnout, or if you have writer’s block, or even if you’re not sure…share your struggle with others.

A light bulb went off in my head. From then on, I shared my journey back to writing on my author Facebook page.

Why?

1. Accountability

Sharing each and every day how I did was a great way to be accountable, to at least try so I had share something with my supporters. And knowing that made me want to try harder.

2. It’s a journey.

I may be doing the journey alone, but by sharing it I am including others…I’m not alone anymore.

3. Daily Log/Progress Meter

I posted in the evening to share how I did that day, like a daily log. It was an update for the people who wanted to know how I was fairing, but it was also a journal for me, something I could look back on to see my progress. That in itself was motivating.


TIP #2: Post daily progress reports on a social media platform of your choice. In my updates, I shared my word count, if I wrote that day, or what I did that was writing related that was a step out of my comfort zone or was new and inspiring. I also shared how I reward myself each day, even on the days I didn't write.


TIP #3: Reward yourself, too. Whatever you accomplish that day, whatever you do, reward yourself.

Did you write? Reward!

Did you go to a writer’s meeting? Reward!

Did you start reading a writing book? Reward!

Did you do things on your to-do list that prevented you from writing? Reward!

I’ve talked about rewarding yourself in two other blog posts (for submitting stories/queries and seeing rejections as badges of honor), so I really do believe in this practice.

I’ve rewarded myself with hot baths, chocolate, and binge-watching Charmed. It can be anything, and it helps me to relax, which is a big reason why I burned out in the first place. I was working myself too hard and not rewarding myself enough. Don’t make my mistake.



More posts for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!


QUESTIONS: Have you ever been burned out? How'd you get over it?



124 comments:

Jennifer Hawes said...

I was a little burned out this past year. I almost didn't finish the book I was writing. Boy, am I glad I did!! Got some exciting news on the old blog!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What I do as a publisher burns me out a bit. I see both great work and bad work and then I consider my own and it makes me not even want to write.

Meka James said...

Burnout is a real thing. I talked a few months about having the writer blahs. Not a full burnout, but still enough that the idea of getting words on a WIP was a struggle. Luckily the ladies in my CP group were there to keep giving me words of encouragement so I didn't slip too far into it. Still working to come out of it 100% but I am on the upswing.

nashvillecats2 said...

I sometimes get lost at to what to write about as life here at present is none too good owing to family health concerns and my not being able to travel like I once did...... but am working on it.

Have a good month Chrys.
Yvonne.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I've been in the abyss of depression. So scary. Right now, I have compassion fatigue (my job). Writing has always been my therapy. I'm glad for that.

Teresa

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

I don’t think I’ve precisely been burned out, but I have often let life overwhelm me to the point of pushing out the writing. When that happens, the only thing I can think to do is try to control the chaos and knock off some of the big things that prevent writing. Then I have to stop and think about what I can do, writing-wise, even in the midst o the chaos. Right now, all that I can manage is a journal, and not too well at that. But at least that involves picking up a pen.

Carrie-Anne said...

I'd say I had burnout after finishing some of my very long books and trying to immediately start the next book. I needed time to wind down from that intense experience and take stock of it, just as I've found it hard to read anything after finishing a long book like War and Peace or watching a long, epic film. Attempting to write, read, or watch anything else, let another another epic journey, too soon after that results in exhaustion and lack of motivation.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't think I've been burned out from writing. Stuck for ideas - you bet!
Good advice for those facing burnout.

Liz A. said...

That's hard. I'm glad you found some things to help.

Jemi Fraser said...

Good for you! It's hard to struggle back from it. I've suffered twice from burnout - once due to a nasty person and it took me almost a year. Currently I'm working my way back (so very slowly). Life has thrown a few huge and daunting curve balls our way and I've lost energy and confidence with the writing. Hoping it's on the upswing soon!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - I think the most difficult thing at any challenging time ... is what we need to do next and then act on it ... this you've done - and I'm sure helped the many who will be reading this. Good for you ... and it's great you're here with us - cheers Hilary

Christine Rains said...

I've seen people never come back to writing after a burnout. This is wonderful advice. It's not huge, but these little things do help.

Crystal Collier said...

For me, burn out usually only comes with the stress of marketing. I had writer burn out once while working on a project that didn't love me. Truth, I just needed to take a break and move on to something I was passionate about. The reality is, no matter what part of life we're facing, there's always going to be burn out. I think those are the times we pull back and focus on what really matters.

Bish Denham said...

I think I've been in a case of burnout since September of last year. I haven't written a thing, had no desire to. Haven't look at any of my manuscripts that are finished but need those final touches. Haven't been interested in doing any kind of research. Haven't had a desire to explore new ideas... Even cut my blog back to once a month...

Anonymous said...

The other week, a youtuber hubby and I like made a video about burnout and hubby mentioned he thought I was trying to do too much and heading toward burnout. I took his words seriously and gave a hard look at what I was doing. I've ended up cutting a bunch of things and changing direction on a few. I also let myself veg out and watch some TV and movies. I kept putting those relaxing activities off because I wanted to write, but then I'd be too tired to write. I've been feeling much better now (oh and some allergy medicine has helped on that front.)

Rachna Chhabria said...

When I feel burned out, I push myself a little more everyday to achieve my goals.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad that you were able to persevere and finish your book!

Chrys Fey said...

I can see how being a publisher would burn someone out. Editing does that to me, too.

Chrys Fey said...

Burnout is definitely real. Three cheers for the ladies in your CP group!

Chrys Fey said...

i wish you all the best, Yvonne!

Chrys Fey said...

It's great when you can turn to writing when your down and need help. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I talking about journaling in a later post. It really does help. For a while, all I could do was write in a journal, too. But the important thing was that I was writing, and that felt good.

Chrys Fey said...

Not taking a little break between such big projections can definitely lead to exhaustion and burnout.

Chrys Fey said...

The right ideas will come when they are meant to. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Liz!

Michelle Athy said...

I've been burned out this year, not on writing, but from work. I've made a change this week and I'll have more time to write but also to find a better work situation that'll allow me to breathe a bit. I haven't been able to sustain a longer project idea for a while, but that's not unusual for me.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope your writing will be on the upswing soon, too. Maybe tomorrow! :D

Chrys Fey said...

I hope this does help many writers. I know that I'm not alone in my struggles. :)

Chrys Fey said...

And that is such a scary thought.

The little things count. When dealing with burnout, you have to do the small things first.

Chrys Fey said...

That's true. Every part of life can bring burnout, but not all of them as extreme or devastating. I'd never experienced the kind of burnout that plagued me earlier this year.

Chrys Fey said...

That sounds like a case of burnout to me. From one writer to another, burnout can look different. But it's the lack of desire that says it. I hope you get that desire back. As for blogging, I hear you. Next year, I'll be doing the same.

M.J. Fifield said...

Oh yes, I have experienced the burnout before. I forced myself to take an entire summer off from writing, which ended up being the hardest summer ever, but I think it was a good decision because I came back much more able to focus and just get the words on the page.

I never really do rewards for myself for achieving a goal, but maybe I should. Any excuse to eat cookies, right?

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you're feeling better. I also had to give myself permission for a while to just veg out and watch TV and movies. I had really needed it. I work to much to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. And it usually ended up with my getting a cold at the end. I've been doing that a lot lately and haven't been able to write (too tired), but I hope it'll change this month.

Chrys Fey said...

That's good! Just don't push yourself too much or you may push yourself into burnout. As I had.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope you find a better work situation! When you are stuck in a work environment that's toxic or doing something you no longer enjoy, it can be really draining.

Sarah Foster said...

I don't know if I'm burned out, but not writing and depression tend to fuel each other in a vicious cycle for me. I don't write because I'm depressed, but then I'm depressed because I don't write. I actually really want to write but it's difficult to motivate myself. I like the reward idea and making daily progress reports. Maybe I'll start doing something like that.

Lee Lowery said...

I've definitely experienced burn out. Sometimes a few days away help. But I've had occasions of needing to hibernate and regroup. I'm blessed to be surrounded by a few trusted people who know this about me. It would help a lot if I didn't put so much pressure on myself. :-)

Chrys Fey said...

Taking time off can definitely bring back the energy and motivation we need.

The more cookies the better! lol

Chrys Fey said...

I know just what vicious cycle you mean. It's an extremely hard one to escape. I hope these strategies motivate you!

Chrys Fey said...

I also put a lot of pressure on myself. I think those of us who do are more susceptible to burnout. *sigh*

emaginette said...

I've face burnout (passed by the next day) that some call decision fatigue. Lucky for me a good nights sleep and its over. My son also suggested sugar pills for those times when stopping isn't an option. Luckily for me, that doesn't happen often.

Thanks for sharing. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Anonymous said...

Chrys - Thank you, thank you, thank you. Not just for sharing your journey about burnout but also for talking so openly about depression. You're right, you need to be heard. You've got to have your voice and you need to celebrate your victories! Awesome post!

Elsie

Loni Townsend said...

It's encouraging to read your story and what helped you through it. Thanks for sharing!

Pat Hatt said...

Allowing rewards can sure keep one going. Can't say I've ever had burn out. Plenty of times where I just didn't want to though as life got in the way.

Adrienne Reiter said...

I definitely have, Chrys! I don't suffer from depression, but anxiety. I run everyday to keep my gamma receptors in line. Luckily, and unluckily, I have tight deadlines to keep me in check. Sometimes it's a true struggle where each step forward is like walking across broken glass. Other times it's elating and an ego boost. It depends on the month I'm having.

Great post! Thanks for sharing.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A really great post. You're so honest which might help others facing the same situations. I've never felt burned out. Sometimes I take a break, but then I'm ready to go back to work.

Chrys Fey said...

I find it's good to be honest. For others and for me. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I experience anxiety in certain situations. Not fun at all.

A deadline can sure motivate or hinder.

Chrys Fey said...

Burnout over in just a day? Hmm...I'd call that exhaustion. Burnout is different for everyone, but I feel that it usually lasts much longer and is distinguishable from writer's block.

Arlee Bird said...

Periodically I'll experience burn-out in one realm of my life or another. I tend to go to escapism to alleviate and distract me. In recent months I've experienced a bit of depression as well as a lack of initiative. I'm not sure that I'd completely call it burn-out since a lot of what I'm dealing with is just external life stuff. But I've haven't felt particularly inspired to write too much of late. And I've been more focused on songwriting.

I used to love Bactine when I was a kid. Do they still make that stuff?

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

dolorah said...

I've experienced burn out, and sometimes think I'm still in that phase. Writing flash fiction has helped rekindle the spark.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you for such a sweet and supportive comment, Elsie!

Chrys Fey said...

You're very welcome, Loni!

Chrys Fey said...

Better question for you...Have you ever not wanted to rhyme? lol

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you found something to rekindle your writing spark, Dolorah!

Chrys Fey said...

You could be going through a specific level of burnout when it comes to writing. At lest you have songwriting. That's great!

I think they do still make Bactine. lol

Natalie Aguirre said...

Loved your post. I lost a lot of my drive when my husband died and haven't got it or my joy in life yet. I'm trying to own it more and be honest about it too. It's a day to day journey. Thanks for sharing what is helping you.

Samantha Bryant said...

Thanks for sharing your bactine. I've been burnt, too. Last year in fact. 2018 has largely been about healing and finding my passion again. It's hard to trust that it will come back when you're in the middle of it.

EliasM said...

I love the suggestions. For me, it's a soul-crushing job and my Missus' reality TV habit. I retreat to my world of thieves and bad men.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I've never been burned out with my writing, but I've definitely felt a different kind of burn-out. I held an amateur radio-based statewide elected position for nearly a decade, and it involved a lot of relentless responsibility. Traveling, giving speeches and various presentations, hundreds of emails every day, a loooong monthly newsletter to write, personally contacting every single new amateur radio operator in the state, appointing (and firing) countless people for various positions, working with emergency management officials with Homeland Security, FEMA, GEMA and county EMAs, blah blah blah. Multiple meetings and nets every week. It was fulfilling, but it was also exhausting. I chose not to run again, and I've never regretted making that difficult decision. Without a doubt, I was burned out. So was my poor hubby, because he accompanied me to those meetings, conferences, etc. Sometimes, our burn-out tells us it's time to make a change to preserve our sanity. Hopefully, for you, writing is such an ingrained part of who you are, the burn-out will... burn itself out. :)

Cathrina Constantine said...

I believe most writer's get burned-out. Life has a way of shifting and taking the wind out of our sails. A good break helps. Sometimes it takes longer to get the muse working again, but a writer has that inner voice that might get you thinking about a new story.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've never faced burnout or writer's block, but I know a few writers who quit because of burnout. They both were successfully published by the big 5. I do always reward myself. Usually by taking a few days off from my writing to just read.

Allison Goodwin said...

I love the advice you offer to help get back on track. I write for my day job, and average about a million words a year. This year, though, my count started to slip and I just couldn't get back to where I was. It was incredibly frustrating, especially since I'd been one of the top producing writers at my company. What made it worse is that I couldn't simply not write, since I couldn't afford to quit my job. It's taken me more than half a year to get myself recovered to three-quarters capacity, and I believe now that talking about it is one of the biggest "band-aids" to help me heal from the burnout. Now I make sure to talk to our new writers about the early signs of burn out, so hopefully they can start treating it early. I'm so glad you shared your story!

Botanist said...

Not experienced writers burn out, but I do notice I get writing fatigue if I try to write for too long at a time. I try to set myself small enough goals to be manageable while still seeing good progress, and mix it up with lots of writing-related stuff like worldbuilding, and drawings for my website.

Gwen Gardner said...

Sounds like you’re well able to gauge how you’re feeling at any given time and then come up with a plan. You’re doing great, Chrys. Keep it up.

I haven’t had burnout, probably because I don’t get enough writing time to begin with. But plenty of time for that after retirement I guess!

Suzanne Furness said...

Interesting post, I hadn't really thought about writer's block (which I've experienced) compared to a burnout. I am glad that you are able to find a way forward, thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I haven't had burnout, but this is a great post to reassure people, whether they've got burnout, writer's block, or other issues going on. I've definitely dealt with the depression, and am working to cope with it now. It keeps me from writing as much as I'd like, but I'm forcing it here and there, and still working. That mental fatigue is hard to get past. I'm glad you got past your burnout! We definitely need to be kinder to ourselves as authors and humans.

Yvette Carol said...

Yeah, I hear you. I've been there, too. And it's incredibly frustrating for a creative type! :)

Chemist Ken said...

Writing can be such a solitary endeavor, and while writer friends can help, finding ways of rewarding yourself can be the strongest way to keep going. I haven't suffered from writers block or burnout much myself, but there have been periods when I didn't feel like writing (such as after the passing of a pet), but eventually it kind of just comes back. But in the meantime, there was no way to force the issue. If the mind doesn't feel like writing, you can't write, it's as simple as that. I'm glad that you seem to have found a way out of that dark place. Keep climbing and you'll get back eventually.

Tamara Narayan said...

I think this happened to me in the past 5 months or so. I was trying to start a novel and not happy with the first draft while submitting queries to agents for a finished novel. Between the so-so writing and the inevitable rejections, I started dreading sitting down in front of my computer. So I took the summer off and went wild completing a couple of large gardening projects. The physical exhaustion matched with a visible product of success was just what I needed. Now that the kids are back in school, it's time to face the computer again. I'm worried if I'll be able to get back into the swing of things, but it's time to try.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I keep saying I'm going to celebrate my successes, reward myself when I accomplish tasks, both big and small, yet I don't. Not sure why, really, but I'm going to get going on improving that.

Lisa said...

I appreciate your honesty. I've felt the burnout. It is totally different from the block. My issue is guilt, so listening to your words was good "bactine" for me. I realize my guilt at not writing, for whatever reason, is only producing more depression and bad self talk. No relaxing, no rewards, no honoring the reasons writing had to take a back seat for the last almost two years. The time I've been happiest is when I did get to write at the beginning of this year. Thank you Chrys, so much for writing this post. I am going to stop the negative self talk and start rewarding!

sage said...

Thankfully I've been granted sabbaticals at times of burnout. Good ideas and I hope you are recovering and preparing for a more productive fall.

www.thepulpitandthepen.com

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Excellent post! I usually pout and clean. Your way is much wiser!

Michael Di Gesu said...

You are SOOOO not alone in this. Most of our "burn out" does come from depression. It is a dark force that enters almost every creative person's mind at one point or another and is always on the verge of coming back.
The trick is TRYING to keep one step ahead of it.

Yes, talking it out is so helpful especially to other writers who are experiencing similar situations. I went for almost two years without writing something new... FINALLY a project fell on my lap and it motivated me to write again.... YAY for motivation and the write story!

Take care of yourself Chrys and remember to keep one step ahead of it. You are a very strong woman and I know you can keep moving forward!

Chrys Fey said...

It is a day to day journey. I can't even imagine how hard it is to get back to joy and life after losing a loved one. I'm sending you hugs and prayers.

Chrys Fey said...

It's weird, because it seems that many writers got burned out or struggled with writer's block last year and are trying to get back to writing this year.

Chrys Fey said...

Whatever works, right?

Chrys Fey said...

I had experienced a burnout like this last year as well. As a matter of fact it was with the IWSG and all I was doing for the group, such as the newsletter. It just burned me out. I had way too much on my plate.

Thanks, Susan! I think the burnout is slowly burning itself out. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Perhaps burned out to different degrees. Writer's block is more common and can be mistaken for...or be very similar to burnout. I tried breaks. And I had new story ideas that I tried, but would fail after a day or two of excitement. It was rough.

Chrys Fey said...

Burnout is so brutal that I almost thought I should quit, but writing is so much a part of who I am that I couldn't. However, not writing, since it is such a big part of me, fueled my depression. And that can be dangerous.

Chrys Fey said...

A million words a year. Wow. I don't know how much I used to write (when I was really on a roll) if I added the word counts for stories and blog posts, but I'm sure I never got close to a million words. lol

When writing is part of your day job and how you earn money, it makes it even harder. I edit, too, and I see editing is taking hits on me and my writing stamina.

Talking about it really does help. Sometimes, we just have to let it out.

Chrys Fey said...

Writing fatigue can sure be a bummer. I get that, too. When I'm actually able to write. lol If I write for several days, I experience fatigue and have to rest for at least a day or two before I get back to it.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm a planner, what can I say? lol After dealing with depression, I know that it's up to me to pay attention and do something about it.

Chrys Fey said...

I hadn't ever consider burnout until I experienced it and knew...just knew it was burnout. I wasn't blocked. I had ideas and knew what I should be working on. I even got new ideas that fascinated me for a day or two, but I just...couldn't.

Chrys Fey said...

I hoped this post would help people going through burnout, writer's block, depression, etc. Those things are tough, and it's easy to think you're alone.

I wish you all the best Shannon!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad that you're going to try, and know it's time to try. That's part of the battle you've won. I wish you all the best, Tamara! I hope words and ideas flow and your motivation returns.

Chrys Fey said...

Cleaning is a good distraction, though. :)

Chrys Fey said...

My depression first came into my life from another area of life, but it quickly found it's way into my writing life, especially while submitting queries.

I'm so glad you found a project that ignited a spark in you. I hope that spark keeps on burning. I know you said you're struggling since you moved and are no longer close to the person you're writing about. I hope that passes as you settle and get used to that new place.

Take care, Michael! And thank you!

Chrys Fey said...

Burnout and writer's block are very different. It's not until you experience both of them that you can feel the difference. Even writers fatigue is different. Gosh, it just stinks that creatives can go through so many forms of this. And depression on top of it all.

I hope you do reward yourself and that you can keep that bad talk at bay.

Chrys Fey said...

Sabbaticals would certainly come in handy during those times, so you can really focus on healing.

Thank you!

Chrys Fey said...

Sometimes it's easy to let those accomplishes roll by as we move on to the next thing. I can forget at times, too. But it's important to take a step back and pat ourselves on the back.

Chrys Fey said...

It is so solitary. We may have people in our corner, like here with IWSG, but day to day we are doing it all on our own. Rewards and talking to others, especially other writers, can really help with this.

You're right. If the mind (and heart and soul) doesn't want to write, you won't. Sometimes we have to ride it out or gently prod ourselves to get back to that place.

Chrys Fey said...

It truly is.

Sandra Cox said...

It's a horrible feeling isn't it. So glad it's in the rearview mirror.

New Release Books said...

Yes, it does happen. But the way you handled it sounds good.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Any time I've felt burnout I've needed to take time to step away, and tell myself it OKAY to take that time. It's okay to take a break. You're not a failure because you need to ask for help. You don't need to feel ashamed to take time for yourself.

Of course, all of those things are easier said that done, and I'm not necessarily good at them myself.

Yolanda Renée said...

Burnout is difficult to recognize and hard to recover from. I'm glad you've found your path. Stepping away is never a bad thing. I decided to take a new path to reach the same goals and feel much less stressed because of it. We all have to do what we have to do.
Wishing you all the best!

Mandy said...

Every month during IWSG I post a list of my accomplishments and goals, so I don't get burned out or stressed out, or whatever. I have definitely experienced a time when I just felt like I absolutely could not write and my list of goals/accomplishments has kept me going. It's the realization that, even if I'm not writing, I'm still getting things done. I'm still working toward goals. I used to have more writing goals on my list, but my life has changed a lot since I began making my lists. Other things have taken priority. And writing, unfortunately, has fallen on the wayside. But every month that I accomplish something, maybe I'm getting closer to returning to my writing goals? Maybe? Hopefully? … At the very least, it's a reminder of where I want to go. I just have to work out how to be kind to myself (not stress out) and keep where I want to go (in writing, in life) in my line of sight.

Great post. Thank you for your words on encouragement!

Juneta key said...

Congrats on the release. Got my copy. I wonder if that is not what I am actually struggling with--lord knows I go thru the motions but the love and joy -- well it has been a long time since I experience it. I have been thinking really hard about just allowing myself to quit and then I do something else. I don't know maybe that is a good thing. Expressing my emotions in words is a real obstacle for me.
Happy belated IWSG Day.

Magic Love Crow said...

This is a very good post!
I don't think I have ever been burnt out, but I have been lost for ideas on what to paint. I always say, never force anything, so when this happens to me, it's time for a break! Big Hugs!

Toi Thomas said...

Happy Belated IWSG Day!
Sorry to hear about your burnout, but glad to know you are working through it. I can only imagine what it feels like to struggle with depression and burnout for something you love. I deal with depression but have been blessed enough not to have experienced writer's burnout. I few years back I begin to feel that I might have blogger burnout; that's when I started blogging less and would even take blog vacations. It really helped. I love your thoughts and tips on reversing burnout. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Should I ever feel burnout from writing, I'll know it's not just me. Thank you so much.

Nick Wilford said...

It sounds like you have been on a journey that, although devastating, has taught a valuable lesson, which has got to be a comfort. I think a big part is realising you're only human and it's important to be realistic about what can be achieved. Dreaming big is important, but you've shown there's such a thing as pushing yourself too hard. It sounds like you're in a much better place now and I hope that continues!

J.Q. Rose said...

You have been through a trying time, but you are finding a way out. I admire you for having the courage to share this tough journey in order to help others who are in the same situation. Sounds like you are getting stronger every day. You go, GRRL!
JQ Rose

Sherry Ellis said...

I'm glad that sharing your struggles helped. You're a very talented writer, and I hope that you continue your creativity!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I believe that sharing struggles is the first step to make them real. Once they are real, we can find help, heal, and move forward. I'm here for you, Chrys. You are the best. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, my dear. All best to you.

Diane Burton said...

Sharing our struggles is very therapeutic, as I found out last February. IWSG is great place, where we can share our difficulties and receive so much support. You offer many great suggestions. Wish I'd been able to read them last winter. I commend you for reaching out. Good luck to you. Hugs.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I'm glad that you were able to overcome your burnout and get back to writing, though I can definitely relate to the idea of being burned out. Since I have a full-time job and a part-time job, I have little time left for writing, and after I get all my other work done, it's hard for me to motivate myself to write what I want to write instead of write what I have to write for work. But once I bought a daily planner and started scheduling writing time for myself on a regular basis, it made me more motivated to write more often.
Also, I like your point about the support from an online community of writers. That's one of the benefits of social media: it can make you feel less alone in your work/struggle/process because you have other people there who are going through similar situations and can encourage you as you move forward.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Sandra!

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you!

Chrys Fey said...

For me, all the time I took away didn't help. Unfortunately. That's when you have to take drastic measures.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you found a new path to reach the same goals. Sometimes, that is the best things to do. Re-evaluate.

Chrys Fey said...

A list of goals and accomplishments is great. I use a bullet journal to keep track of all of my completed tasks for the day...every day. I like to see the things I accomplish at the end of the day. It does make me feel better.

Goals are much harder. It's better to have easy goals or to break them much into much smaller goals as stepping stones. But it's those big goals that weigh me down...the ones I wish for.

Chrys Fey said...

I lost the joy of writing a while ago because of publishing and marketing, but I kept on going. I do think that was a major factor in my burnout. Not only was I pushing myself too much, but I had lost the joy. Those two things do not mix. I would have moments of saying, "I quit. I'm not going to publish anymore." But I just can't do it. That's me, though. Everyone has to look deep within and hear the answer for what he/she should do next.

Chrys Fey said...

Never forcing yourself is good. Recognizing when you need a break is also good. The right ideas will come when they are meant to. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Toi! I hope you don't experience writer's burnout.

Oh. Blogger burnout. Yeah. I had that last year, too. I felt it after the 2015 A to Z, to start, but I thought it would fade, so I kept blogging three days a week. I think that just made it worse over time. This year I've cut back. And next year, I'll only be blogging once a month.

Chrys Fey said...

I definitely have learned a valuable lesson or two...about writing, about my dreams/goals, about myself and depression. It has been a learning experience.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you so much, Janet!

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Sherry!

Chrys Fey said...

Very true, Victoria. We all need help at one time or another, and speaking up is a big part of that. Thank you!

Chrys Fey said...

IWSG is a wonderful place when we need a supportive word or two.

I wish I could've shared this post last winter, too, only I was deep in writer's burnout then. And still feeling the remnants of my depression that had knocked me out for 7 months. :(

Chrys Fey said...

I'm slowly getting back to my writing. Every day I try. Just last week actually I finally started to work on Frozen Crimes, a project I couldn't even begin.

I get what you mean about it being harder to motivate yourself to write what you want to write than to write what you have to write for work. For me, I could easily write a blog post but not a story.

Elizabeth said...

This is amazing advise, Chrys! I think I need to actually utilize my writer Facebook page for something like this because I have definitely been experiencing some depression and burnout for a while now.

Lisa said...

Oh wow. What a journey you've been on. Though I don't feel I've had burn out, I have had not being able to write because of life events. I felt bad every day, guilty, depressed, unhappy, so I started creating scenes in my head. That helped and now I've had time to actually put those scenes on paper so I feel good I did what I did when I couldn't write. I like your idea of rewards and have read about that on your blog before. It is a great idea. I think I too, will start posting daily on my FB author page and getting what I do out there. Thanks, Chrys, for sharing with us...