Sistah Girls, now I don’t know about you all, but for some reason, these last couple of weeks have been nothing short of exhausting for ya girl. I’m talking about the kind of exhaustion that makes my 9 to 5 feel like a 12 to 12.
And despite the characters of my WIP (work in progress) screaming at me to tell their story, I am just too burned out to even attempt lifting my laptop open.
Now for those of you who do not know, ya girl is an independent author, and while I am positive that being a traditional author has its levels of stressors as well, I can only speak from my side of the HP screen.
Thus I must put it out there that being an indie author is WORK with a capital W! Real quick, let me note that a traditional author is signed to a publishing house and they have a professional team behind them to assist with everything needed to get their book out there and make it successful.
As for indie authors, they are responsible for not only writing their books but also for creating the cover, making content, marketing and networking and so much more.
To be clear, one type of author is no more important or respected than the other. If you’re a Black author telling Black stories, then we stan.
Whether you fall into the category of a traditional author or an independent, one thing I think we can all agree on is that author burnout is real! Luckily, ya favorite Midwest Gypsy is here to help. Without further ado, I present to you seven ways to avoid burnout as an author.
Break Your Workday Up
Author baes, I know how easy it is to let the words take you over when you’re trying to complete a book. During that time there is nothing more satisfying than tapping those final six keys T-H-E E-N-D.
But you have to consider how that full speed ahead mentality can impact you in the long run. Instead of attempting to complete your piece with a few lengthy writing sessions, make sure you are scheduling an adequate number of breaks as well.
Now, this is not a reading break or a break from one story to the next. No Sistahs, when I say break, I mean break and go for a walk, have a random dance moment, take a bubble bath…anything you can think of that will separate you from falling into a writing trance, and overworking yourself in the long run.
And if you don’t like long breaks, then consider using the Pomodoro Technique, which helps you break down work into 25-minute increments followed by a break.
Enjoy The Process
To know where you’re headed, you must know where you’ve been. With that in mind, author baes, anytime that you find yourself feeling completely drained from writing, I strongly encourage you to go back to your why.
Tap into that younger version of yourself who first discovered they wanted to write stories and share them with the world. In doing so you will rediscover the fun part of being an author that enchanted you from the start.
You know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun.
Hit The Snooze Button
This notion may seem a little random, but I promise you it is probably my favorite way to deal with burnout. Not only is it a break from writing, but it leaves me feeling so renewed. This step is simply–A NAP!
Now Sistah Girls before you start thinking I’m losing my marbles because I have been so tired, just hear me out. According to Psychology Today, a nap can increase your creativity. (Be sure to follow The Nap Ministry on IG)
Since creativity is the most important tool in our innovative toolbox, it stands to reason that we should do whatever it takes to keep that tool sharp. Long live naps!
Unplug From Social Media
Yes, social media is a HUGE component of how we as humans keep up with one another. It’s how authors interact with our readers, market our books, and make other author friends. So while it is an important tool for any Sistah Girl who fancies themselves an author, too much timeline time is sure to cause you exhaustion.
Sometimes you have to unplug from the internet streets and take some time for yourself.
If you are feeling burnout, you can talk to other authors who can help you because they’ve been through it. I have discovered the Instagram and Twitter community of pen pushers to be kind, hilarious, and mad supportive.
Whether independent or traditional, there isn’t anyone who gets your writing woes like the pals you make along this journey. Soak them in!
Enjoy Small Pleasures
Sometimes our burnout can come from feeling like we don’t know where to take a storyline. Or we feel as though it’s not flowing as smoothly as it should. Thus we tire ourselves out by striving for something beyond perfection.
To this I say, take a pause and work on something different. It can be a small writing prompt, a journal entry, or a love letter to yourself. Whatever it is, make sure it is not related to your WIP and it gets your creative juices flowing.
Authors, my last piece of advice for when you’re feeling the brunt of burnout is to just STOP! Put the pen down, remove your fingertips from the keyboard, stand up from your writing desk, and just walk away.
Wanting your writing career to be your only career can be the goal for many authors but that does not mean we should do it at the expense of our health. Once you have completed a certain number of books within a certain timespan, consider taking some time off to relax, relate, and release.
Author baes, the main thing to remember is that there is no shame in taking care of yourself above all things. You may be a literary superhero, but even Clark Kent made time for Lois Lane.