Tag Archives: writer’s burnout

One Writer’s Staycation & How You Can Recharge At Home

20 Jun

I recently took a week-long staycation, which consisted of me laying around my house doing absolutely nothing productive. I won’t lie, it was bliss. 

Usually, I like to talk about writing and publishing here on the blog, but I realized one vital truth while I was out: Breaks are a part of writing. If you don’t take breaks—if you don’t live—you’ll eventually suffer from burnout. To be honest, I’ve been suffering from burnout. (I should take my own advice from 2016: How to Avoid Writer Burnout.) This was my first week-long vacation in three years. Maybe more. I honestly can’t remember. Between moving and changing jobs three times, I found it incredibly difficult to justify a break. Now I realize I didn’t need justification. Working hard means getting breaks. (Granted, it’s easy to say this in retrospect. In reality, I honestly couldn’t afford to take much of a break until now, but that’s another discussion for a different day.) 

In the end, breaks are important. They can also be inspirational! In fact, I was inspired to be a little nicer to myself by writing this blog post instead of the more detailed one I had planned. (Considering how long I was gone, I’m a bit swamped with catching up with work and revisions at the moment.)  

For fun, I thought I’d share my staycation ideas with you, especially since these ideas are social distance friendly, on the cheaper end, and might just help you have a day to unwind. 

First and foremost, I promised myself two things when I went on my staycation:

  • No “serious” writing: What do I mean by serious? I mean anything that you plan on pursuing seriously. For me, that meant NOT working on my revisions. It’s not much of a vacation if I replace it with my other career, right? I actually made this mistake once during my last trip. I flew the whole way to Charleston just to pull out my laptop and work on a R&R for an agent that ended up quitting before I finished the rewrite. Biggest vacation regret ever. 
  • Staying offline as much as possible: As a writer and program manager who manages social media, I spend an ungodly amount of time staring at screens, let alone being online. I promised myself I’d log off as much as I could. And I did! TBH, it was my favorite part. I think this is a good idea for many of us. The internet is an awesome place, but it can also be very distracting. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve logged on for “just five minutes” only to realize a half-hour has passed. For this reason, I recently took Facebook and Twitter off my phone, and it’s been a godsend. 

So, what did I do during my staycation? 

  • Baking Day: I love baking. It keeps me off my phone and computer, and I get to have a delicious treat after. Recently, I haven’t been baking as often, but this past week, I baked my first Japanese roll cake. (Strawberries and cream!) I definitely recommend choosing something you’ve always wanted to try but have never felt energized enough to pursue. It was so satisfying! 
  • Spa Day: I had a spa day with cucumber/lemon water, face masks, Epsom salt, etc. 
  • TBR catch-up: Here’s the thing, I have A LOT of books I want to catch up on. But reading many of those novels felt a lot like industry research to me, even if they are books I personally want to read. So I set out to catch up on my Webtoons. If you haven’t given Webtoons a chance, I highly recommend them. I caught up on Siren’s Lament, SubZero, In the Bleak Midwinter, and Midnight Poppy Land. The artwork is beautiful, and so are the stories. 
  • Fondue Night: Who needs a fancy restaurant when you can recreate one at home? I made fondue and chocolate dip, picked up all my favorites, and had a blast. 
  • High Tea: Before everything shutdown, I went to high tea at a local historic house that happens to also post their recipes online. Check it out. You can have high tea at home! 
  • Movie Night: I’ve fallen behind on many of the films I’ve wanted to see the last few years, so I set aside some time to watch Get Out and Knives Out, and they were both amazing! 

Basically, there’s lot of fun activities you can do at home, and you don’t even need to take significant time off to do so or spend lots of money. Most of these could be done on the weekend. I’m definitely going to partake again! And hopefully, I’ll have less burnout this year, more laughter and fun, and my work-writing-life balance will be—well—more balanced. 

How do you recharge?

~SAT

P.S. When I made it back to work this month, I was awarded Mid-Continent Public Library’s Maggie Jackson Community Spirit Award, which is given to a library employee who dedicates extra time and energy to their community. I was totally blown away. Working at The Story Center over this past year has been a dream come true, and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes our community. Keep sharing your stories, everyone! The world needs them.

#WW Taking a Writing Break (And Why It’s Important)

8 Jun

I am taking a break from writing. (Why does that feel so dramatic to say? …Well, I don’t know. Maybe because writing is practically my life.)

So what do I mean by taking a break?

I mean just that. A break. A normal, little vacation for the writer’s mind. I’m not quitting. I’m not giving up. I’m not burning all my paperwork or throwing my typewriter across the room.

  1. I don’t have a typewriter.
  2. Who would do such an atrocious thing?
  3. I really want a typewriter. (Yes. For aesthetic sakes. I can’t help myself.)

Taking a break is simply taking a break—much like many do on the weekends—but if you read my article, The 90-10 Rule for Marketing and Writing and How to Love It, you might notice that I have forgotten what weekends are, as have many writers. Most of us work day jobs, which means many of us consider writing our second full-time job, and if you’ve ever worked two full-time jobs, then you probably know a workaholic. I am, by definition, a workaholic, but I love what I do, so it’s HARD not to work, which means it’s HARD to take a break. (Seriously. What do I do with all this time???)

Bogart the cat keeping me in line during my writing break

Bogart the cat keeping me in line during my writing break

For me, I don’t want to take a break. I want to keep writing. I want to turn that page, type the keys off my next keyboard, or daydream the next trilogy, but taking breaks is a necessary (and important) step for authors to take.

Why are taking breaks important?

Depending on where you are in the writing process, taking a break might mean putting some distance between finishing your manuscript’s first draft and editing the content. It might mean thinking deeply over what you need to keep or change. It might spark your next idea. It might clear up your mind, so you can consider the business side of your story. Taking a break might simply help you from NOT burning out. Because writer’s burnout is a thing. Trust me.

So, take breaks. Take them guiltlessly and enjoy them.

Read that book you’ve been dying to read, finish that terrible TV show you don’t want to admit you binge-watch, cry at a sad documentary, obsess over murder shows in the middle of the night, sing Disney sing-along songs at the top of your lungs, and botch a batch of cookies before you bake the perfect batch. (Okay. So you don’t have to do what I did…but I found it pretty cleansing.)

But I maybe sort of already broke my break by writing about taking a break. (Oops.) Still, I think we all need to write about taking a break from writing a little bit more,

~SAT

Win signed paperbacks and more at the CTP Sizzling Summer Reads Release Party THIS Friday at 7 PM EST on Facebook.

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Bad Bloods Book Teaser

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November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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#WW How to Avoid Writer Burnout

9 Mar

Writer burnout is different from writer’s block. How? While writer’s block is a force that prevents you from going forward, writer’s burnout is when going forward too much and all the time eventually exhausts you (and your resources). I think it’s important to understand the differences, because the solutions to these problems can be quite different. Ultimately though, figuring out what works for you as a writer is what the key to your success will be. That being said, here are some writing tips to avoid writer’s burnout.

1. Pay Attention

If you normally write 1,000 words a day—and then suddenly notice you’ve written 10,000 words in three days—you might be on a slippery slope to burnout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s AWESOME when you do more than expected, but it’s also easy to get caught up in a writer’s high and forget to pay attention to your needs. Like sleep or adequate food. Stay hydrated. Get up and stretch still. Take care of yourself.

2. Take Breaks

This goes back to the above post, but I think it’s important enough to have its own slot, because it goes back to Typing 101. Every fifteen minutes or so, look away from your laptop. Focus elsewhere. Stretch your hands. Blink. (Blinking is a big one for me.) Stand up, stretch. Anything. Just take breaks. I have early on-set carpal tunnel from not taking care of myself as a teen writer. (I’m only 24!) It’s important to do this, no matter your age.

My dramatic reenactment of writer's burnout

My dramatic reenactment of writer’s burnout

3. If You Get Burnout

I think you’ll know if you get burnout, but if you’re like me, you’re likely to pretend it isn’t happening and try to power through it. Do. Not. Be. Like. Me. (I’m getting better at this myself.) If you recognize your burnout signs, take a well-deserved break. And not just a stretch and cucumber sandwich break. Take a long break. Take the afternoon off. Go for a hike in the woods. Climb up on the roof and stare at the clouds. Drive through the city. Blast some music and dance in your living room. Lie down and have the craziest dream-filled nap of all time. Rock it. This is your time to shine…instead of burnout.

These are just three simple steps to keep in mind if you suddenly feel a crashing sensation of exhaustion. Don’t let writing burn you out. Pay attention, take breaks, and recuperate if need be. Writing will be there when you return. I promise.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 10 starts on Thursday at 7 pm (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while hanging out with you. Last week, I told everyone the story of the time a REAL-LIFE Eric Welborn e-mailed me, wondering why I used his name in my novel. (Spoiler Alert: I thought I made it up.)

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