How You Can Avoid Burnout

by | Writing | 11 comments

 “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

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

*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.”


Website address:
Twitter: @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:
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B&N Print:

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  1. Inspirations By Katheryn

    I do not ever experience writer’s burnout, but I do exerience marketer’s burnout.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      I hear you, Katheryn. Writing is a welcome break from the promotion activities.

    • Laurean Brooks

      I know what you mean, Katheryn. Especially if it’s not working. LOL.

    • Pamela S Thibodeaux

      That can be just as bad, Katheryn and the same suggestions apply here too. Sometimes I just have to throw up my hands and remind God it’s in His hands 😉

    • Pamela S Thibodeaux

      I hear you Laurean! Went through that recently in getting Circles of Fate out but at some point I realized perfection is over rated and it was time to get it done.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Laurean Brooks

    Zoe, thank you for interviewing Pamela. You always have the best posts and authors. She’s a wonderful writer and friend. Pam, I think I have a few of these symptoms. I’m not bored with writing, but bored with editing, and struggling to fit in household chores and other obligations. I’m ready to get my current ms published, but wanting it to be perfect.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Laurean, I’m glad Pam agreed to be a guest too. I know what you mean about wanting your manuscript to be perfect. I have to be careful not to edit the life out of my story. I hope Pam’s suggestions help you.

  3. nakeliwalters

    Thanks for sharing! I faced this recently. Wanted to burn the whole MS. Instead, I stepped away. Didn’t look at it. Didn’t work on it. Just stopped. Felt like I lost my passion. In the days when the thought of writing made me recoil in anguish I allowed myself time to decompress through other activities. I ran and tried new recipes. Cooking and baking allows me to have instant gratification and results-something writing doesn’t always provide. And running allows me to consume the extra carbs and calories without guilt along with giving my brain much needed oxygen to rethink some of the issues with my current MS.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thanks, Natalie, for sharing your story. Sounds like you have a plan for getting the passion back. I like how you said, “I allowed myself…”

    • Pamela S Thibodeaux

      Oh Natalie, I’m so glad you listened to your soul and took that break~we tend to ignore our deepest needs because we’ve been taught to “quit” before completing is failing…Not True! Kudos to you for ignoring the voice of guilt and knowing what’s best for your mental/emotional/physical well being.

  4. Pamela S Thibodeaux

    Thank you so much Zoe for having me Zoe and Thank You Katheryn, Laurean & Natalie for stopping by and commenting! I apologize for taking so long to respond. I had to go out of town Thursday and Friday without my computer.

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