How You Can Avoid Burnout

 “Time spent in nature is the most cost-effective and powerful way to counteract the burnout and sort of depression that we feel when we sit in front of a computer all day.” —Richard Louv

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 Pam COF FRONT COVER

My guest today is Pamela S. Thibodeaux. Pam gives practical ways to avoid burnout. Authors handle edit deadlines, marketing, research, and writing the next book while eking out time for family responsibilities. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, burnout is a threat. Pam’s suggestions are timely. Be sure to see more about her new novel, Circles of Fate, following her post.

Pamela S. Thibodeaux: Writing is a solitary profession and, more often than not, writers are alone with only the people in their heads to keep them company. Ask any writer who has done this for a while and they’ll tell you that burnout is more than the dreaded slump, writers block, or a silent muse.

Burnout is debilitating and can sometimes be dangerous.

Here are some signs to look for and things to do in order to avoid getting to that point.

*Unusual sleep patterns: Sleep too much or too little. Wake up at odd hours. Never feel refreshed.

*Lack of Concentration: You sit at the computer and nothing gels; the muse is silent; leaving you to your own devices which seem to have deserted you also. You try to be disciplined but it’s impossible as your mind scatters in a million different directions.

*Boredom: You’re bored with everything; writing, reading, TV, life, and can’t seem to focus on any one thing.

*Lack of Energy/Fatigue: More than just being tired, I’m talking soul-weary, bone-deep, mind-numbing exhaustion.

*Anxiety: Anxiety combined with any of the other symptoms mentioned can be a dangerous thing, often leading to a writer quitting for good.

These are some early signs that something is not right. It’s time to take a break; a hot bath, a walk, read a book, watch your favorite TV show(s), clean out the closet, scrub the floor, something! Journal, write something different or even get completely away from writing for a little while.

Taking a break at the early signs often helps you avoid the inevitable.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Depression: You’ve ignored all the other symptoms and now nothing matters at all. You’ve done more than chase away the muse, hit more than the dreaded slump, you’re at rock bottom; smack dab in a pit of despair unlike any you’ve ever known. Depression is usually a sign of deeper problems. Sometimes it’s a physical thing, more often a mental one.

*Apathy: Apathy is way past depression and is never a good thing! This is the point where nothing and no one matters. This is the absolute lowest point a person can reach, and often leads to thoughts of suicide or worse.

The onset of either depression or apathy is the time to seek medical attention.

Burnout is serious and can have debilitating effects; however, it can often be avoided. Taking preventative measures—proper diet, exercise, and rest—are the easiest and best ways to do so.

Recognizing the symptoms and dealing with them early is another way.

Whatever you do, don’t give up…on yourself, love, even writing, but more importantly don’t give up on Life….it is too precious for that!

Pam publicity photo

 

Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

 

Links:
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Book: Circles of Fate
Logline: With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined.

Blurb: Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Purchase Links:
Kindle: http://amzn.to/13b6qCG
Print: http://amzn.to/1zfEzNH
Create Space: http://bit.ly/1qRN3cb
Nook: http://bit.ly/1ySeQqJ
B&N Print: http://bit.ly/1wA6DsH
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/136qK7n

How You Can Start an Easy Blog Hop—A Live Example

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

 

id-100244605.jpgTweetable

  • Would you like to start an easy blog hop? Learn with me.
    click to tweet

Below the dot points is the actual Blog Hop.

How this Blog Hop works.

An original host set the topic and rules. Unlike some blog hops, this one has no widget button, set duration, or contest. It hops to multiple blogs, introducing visitors to writers’ blogs and to their writing.

For example:

  • After Sandra invited me and two other writers to join this blog hop, she sent us the four questions the original host created.
  • Then Sandra let us know when she posted on her blog her answers and the links to our blogs.
  • We waited one to two weeks so the visitors she sent to our blogs could view our normal blog posts.
  • Now we’re answering the four questions on our blogs, and we each give links to other writers’ blogs. And on it goes.

Here’s the actual Blog Hop.

I thank Sandra Ardoin for inviting me to this blog hop. Sandra writes historical romance and historical romantic suspense. Visit her blog, where she posts book reviews under many genres and advice on writing. Here are Sandra’s answers to the questions.

What am I working on? 

quarter.jpgHeads and tails. I’m at the head of the process for a new contemporary romance. This week, it’s off to my agent to send to the editors who requested it at writers’ conferences. Proposal blurb: “Forced to caddy for her father, a young golfer meets her ideal man; he’s noble, he’s an amazing golfer, and his father is the sleazebag who stole her dad’s golf scholarship.”

 

5580-5608_ivc3a1n_melenchc3b3n_serrano_morguefile-2.jpgI’m on the tail end of the process for my first contracted contemporary romance, Calculated Risk, soon to be released. Now the promotion work begins. Cover blurb: “What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing rep? Romance becomes a calculated risk.”

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Cheeky comes to mind. In these novels, I get to say the things I sometimes think. That confessed, I share my faith in God through the difficult journeys of my characters—in between the sass and humor.

I’m a retired actuary, married to one, so it was fun to give the little-understood profession to my hero in Calculated Risk. (An actuary is a mathematician responsible for evaluating the financial risks of insurance companies.)mp900405508.jpg

How’d I jump from actuaries to the love story of two young golfers caddying on a PGA tour? How could I not, when I saw the two cutest young caddies standing together on a putting green at a golf tournament? The what-ifs abounded.

Why do I write what I do? 

Cheeky comes to mind… Seriously, I can save money making my heart melt writing my own love scenes, laughing at my own humor, and crying at my own tender moments. Seriously now, after four unsold manuscripts, I found what every writer hopes to find: my writer’s voice. Now, I can’t stop chattering in any other voice.

How does my writing process work?

sw_editing_n10_20130809_230442.jpgSlowly comes to mind. I’m an edit junky. I edit as I write. I polish what I’ve edited before I submit chapters to my critique partner. I edit as I incorporate her suggestions. I edit the whole manuscript. Then I edit again after my husband reads it. I think maybe I edited the life out of my first four manuscripts. I’m more careful now.

Please visit the blogs of the writers listed below. In a week or so, enjoy their answers to the above questions.

Joanne Sher – Joanne writes children’s picture books. She is a regular at several blogs: Jewels of Encouragement; The Barn Door; The Internet Café; and Faithwriters. So hop over to her blog, to read a post there or to be directed to hop to the blog she’s posting at today.

Sally Jo Pitts – Sally Jo writes stories “steeped in the mysteries of life and love.” She posts Personal Background Investigation – Assignments on her blog: Sally Jo Pitts Investigative Prose. Fun personal stories.

Jane Thompson – Jane is working on a pre-Columbian novel. Her blog, Glimpse of Peace encourages healing and wholeness through Jane’s many experiences, including those as a missionary in Honduras.

 

How to Recognize Problems in Your Creative Work Before Seeking Critiques.

“If you don’t understand a problem, then explain it to an audience and listen to yourself.” —Tom Hirshfield

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your creative work isn’t where you want it to be. You’ve done your checklists, and it’s still lacking. You want to improve your baby so your teacher, critique partner, or coach doesn’t end up doing your work.

So, before you ask for someone else’s feedback, try this simple method and add zest to your creative work every time.

Recognize You in Your Audience

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aren’t you a reader, a viewer of art, a listener in an audience? You qualify as the one who knows what’s missing in your creation. And who cares more about your work than you do?

Step Away and Come Back as Someone Else

In order to switch roles, let your work sit so time lessens your memory and emotions as its creator. Then when you come back to the work, come back as a person in your audience.

Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re a novelist like I am, return as a reader. You’re no longer the writer. You’re a reader who paid $12.95 for this book. Surely, you wouldn’t sit in the writer’s chair. Instead, sit where you usually read books. And most likely, you read from an e-reader or the printed page, not from writing software. So ahead of time, you might want to transfer the problem section to your e-reader or print it.

Do whatever you need to do to become a member of your audience. 

Give a Piece of Your Mind

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re a reader, re-read the novel, chapter, scene, paragraph, or sentence and ask: When do I first sense something is bitter or bland?

Here are some possibilities:

  • I yawned. If I were the writer, I’d create some action right here that brought out my emotions. Something to keep me awake.
                • I’m disgusted. I dislike the heroine. If I were the writer, I’d either show her nice side or   get another heroine.

Finish reading the selection and tell that author what you’d do to fix each problem area. Then take her for tea and chocolate scones.

If you’re an artist, it might go like this:

  • My eyes keep going to the clump of dirt on the path. If I were the artist, I wouldn’t let that clump distract from the couple kissing in the garden. I’d tone the clump down.
  • It’s the woman. Her cheek is one-dimensional. If I were the artist, I’d add shading to transform her from a paper doll into vibrant woman.
Image courtesy of satit_srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of satit_srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I think we forget to put ourselves in our audience. Readers, viewers, and listeners always see what they don’t like and usually have an opinion of how to fix it. We can too.

How have you corrected problem areas in your work before getting others’ feedback?