How to Avoid Author Burnout as You Write a BookSep 23, 2023
The art of being kind to yourself: how to avoid author burnout as you write a book.
If you’re reading this, you’re either in the process of writing a book, thinking about writing, or you've finished one and are gearing up for the next. Isn’t it an incredible journey? The characters, the plot, the twist and turns—it’s like painting but with words. However, today we aren’t going to talk about constructing compelling characters or intricate plot points. Today, we are focusing on YOU—the artist behind the art.
The Unseen Enemy: Author Burnout
Ah, the dreaded burnout. It’s a term we throw around lightly, but its impact is anything but trivial. Author burnout is insidious. It sneaks up on you. One moment you're writing a book, fingers flying across the keyboard, and the next, you find yourself staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page, feeling emotionally and creatively bankrupt. This is the kind of fatigue that doesn’t just vanish after a good night’s sleep; it lingers and gnaws at your enthusiasm.
The Power of Pausing
Let's make something clear: It’s okay not to write every waking moment of your life. It sounds counter-intuitive, especially for those of us on deadlines, but consider this—your mind is a well, and like any well, it needs time to replenish.
If you're writing a book and you're exhausted and hitting a wall, step back. Take a walk, breathe in the fresh air, cook something nice, read a book, or get away for a few days. It’s not wasted time; it's recuperation time. Your creative juices need the pause to flow. Now, I'm always the first to say that writers should switch off the TV and focus, but I'm talking about burnout here, when you've worked so hard that you've nothing left to give. If you get to that stage, you need to take a break.
Celebrate Small Wins
Perhaps you've not reached burnout but you are feeling jaded by it all, or maybe your writing isn't going as well as you'd hoped. You outlined a chapter—celebrate it! You wrote a great dialogue—celebrate it! You opened your manuscript and read through it—that's progress! Every word you write is a small win. Every sentence is a victory lap. Every paragraph is a medal. OK, OK, I'm laying it on thick here, but making a note of your progress is important. Sometimes we don't realise just how much we do until we write it down, which is why I document my progress every single day. Celebrate the small wins as you write your book because they accumulate into large victories. Set yourself milestones, and don't forget to reward yourself when you reach them.
Lean On Your Community
The road to writing a book doesn't have to be a lonely trek up a mountain. With online communities, writer’s workshops, and even social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, connecting with fellow writers is easier than ever. (And *ahem! Don't forget about me! I love hearing from writers on my socials.) So, share your journey—the highs and the lows. Seek advice, offer advice, celebrate each other’s milestones, and provide a shoulder when things aren't going as planned.
Listen to Your Body and Mind
This point can’t be stressed enough. Listen to what your body and mind are telling you. Feel drained? Maybe you need a day off. Are you anxious, or annoyed? Irritable with the people around you? So overtired that you can't sleep at night and can't concentrate during the day? Being attuned to your emotional and physical cues isn't just crucial for your wellbeing; it can effect your quality of life.
Your Stories Matter, and So Do You
The process to write a book is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a lot of you—your time, your emotional investment, and your future dreams. And that’s why it’s so important to be kind to yourself during this arduous but rewarding journey. You aren't just a writing machine churning out words—you're a complex, beautiful soul who deserves kindness, understanding, and breaks. Take the pauses you need, celebrate every tiny victory, lean on your tribe, and listen to yourself. Your stories are waiting, and they need you—happy, healthy, and whole—to bring them to life.
Until Next Time, Happy Writing!
That’s it for today’s blog post, dear authors. I hope this piece serves as a gentle reminder to treat yourself with the love and respect you deserve. Your journey to write a book is as much about you as it is about the words you put on a page. Be kind to yourself; you're absolutely worth it. 🌟
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