that’s exactly what happened. Actually, burnout started last December, but it managed to stick around right up to spring. So while the daffodils tried to spread their sunny delight, I was working on not muttering “Bah. Humbug.”
A lot had to do with what everyone was going through–isolation from friends and family, disruption of those pleasant routines, like lunch in a restaurant, or a good gym workout, or seeing people’s smiles.
At first, I wrote myself through this, then in desperation, I turned to editing. Walking my 4 miles a day helped, and Zoom gave me my People Fix, not as satisfying as chatting in person, but something. I read everything I had on hand, from books and magazines to humorous cocktail napkins and wine labels.
The Great Burnout Wall appeared out of nowhere, and I hit it full on. The stories stopped. My editor’s pen ran dry. I wore out my second pair of walking shoes. There didn’t seem to be anything worth reading. Now what?
I met Contractor Ted. Yes. He put me back on track. For years, I’ve put off tearing off an old deck because I dreaded dealing with plans, and permits, and contractors. Ted changed all of that. Cheerful. Competent. Organized. Honest. Wow! He was a perfect burnout antidote.
I’m back to writing. The editing’s going well, Okay. It’s kind of meh, but at least it’s progressing. I bought new walking shoes and have been doing hitting the trails again, and I’ve even added my gym workout via Zoom. I’m back to enjoying reading, and as a bonus, the old deck’s history, and I’m loving the new one.
Interestingly enough, in the IWSG Newsletter this month, there’s a great article about overcoming burnout by Mary Kole. Be sure to check it out. It’s perfect with advice about enjoying the journey and taking your eyes off the destination.
And now that I’ve regaled you with my tale of burnout misery and recovery, let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
The awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are
The #IWSG question for the month is…
Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?
I’m not sure I’d say I’m a risk-taker, but I like to “play” with different ways of telling a story. I like to use different points of view, even experimenting with using first and third in a single book–that experiment worked. A publisher paid me and published the book that was finally titled Sliding on the Edge.
Since some of what I write is contemporary/realistic Young Adult, my topics are about what teens experience. I’ve covered cutting, suicide, injustice, illiteracy, and prejudice in the novels I’ve written. I’m not sure these constitute controversial topics because authors write about them all the time, but they are hot issues in today’s world.
I have a new book almost ready to go out that deals with mass shootings. I started this several years ago, and since my first draft we’ve had three mass shootings in the U.S. Every time that kind of news flashes around the world, I wonder if I should sub this book, or just hold on to it. I’m not chasing after the news. The news seems to be chasing after my story.
When I write Middle Grade, I leave all the heavy topics behind and have fun. Writing for the eight to twelve age group is an escape for me, and I want it to be the same for the young reader. The biggest risk I took with these books is having talking alligators who were the sages in the story as well as witch familiars. As I typed this sentence, I thought, “This sounds so wierd.” And I guess it is, but the Adventures of Pete and Weasel are out there, and so far nobody’s come to collect me for a mental examination.
This week one of the early successes in children’s literature died at the age of 104. I’m so glad I got to meet and talk to Beverly Cleary a couple of years ago. After that meeting, I wrote a short article about that day and I published it on LinkedIn. If you want to read about a real national treasure who at the age of 102 still had her sense of humor and a very keen mind, here’s that ARTICLE.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Helen Keller