I wrote about some of my author doubts and series struggles a few days ago. I realized after the fact that some of it had sounded pretty negative. It really was just some vital feelings that I just had to get out and into the cosmos, and at the time I wrote it, I actually felt pretty resigned and almost serene about it. But after I did, the reality settled on me: I’m experiencing burnout. I can’t seem to write more than a few hundred words, and they’re flat, tired words. I’ve been feeling alone and desperate, because writing is my favorite thing to do and when I’m cut off from it, it’s like all is not right with the world.
And then I read this post by Jenny Kaczorowski and I felt so much better. Not because she was burned out as well (I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, let alone Jenny, whose book I love), but because she has a game plan to deal with it, and the way she shared it gave me the fuel to deal with it, too.
The truth is, I haven’t been at this professional writing thing for very long. I used to write only for pleasure. I wrote stories because they made me happy all the way through high school, including a 137,000 word murder mystery. I could write 4,000 words a day without a hitch, because I was doing it purely for myself. I dreamed of someday getting my words out there for the world to see, but I knew that would be a long way off… Until my early twenties, when I started doing NaNoWriMo, revising like heck, and realizing that I wanted to get some of my stories out now.
I’ve only been writing for public consumption for just over two years. I’m not that adept at being buoyant, at dealing with stubborn book distributors or even saying a word of promotion about my own books. (Sidenote: I hate self-promotion. I hate it with a fiery passion.) I’ve needed hand holding, for sure, and I’m going to need more in the future. Not all of my stories are meant for self-publishing. I knew this from the beginning. But I did know that I wanted to self-publish a few. Those few were the Serengard novels. At that point, I wasn’t sure if it would only be COLDNESS and its sequel, or a trilogy, or what. I didn’t dream of a four-book-series, and yet here I am. 65k into drafting the final installment, I’m burned out.
I’m going to get through it. I’m going to recharge my creative brain and rebuild my fortitude because I love writing, I love this series, I love being read. First, I’m going to rest my brain a little. Read for pleasure, get back to journaling and bread baking, and clean my messy house…because that will make me able to breathe better. I’ve got a series to finish. But I do want to do it right, and if that means delaying the release date until 2016, I will. This series was a big, scary step for me, and I want it wrapped up right.
In the midst of all of this self-examination I realized some things I have to be very, very grateful for, and one of them is my steady audience. I mentioned that I said barely anything on social media the day RISE OF ORION released, and I haven’t said much since. But the amazing thing? It has sold quite well, without me having to do a thing. And I have only my beautiful, dedicated readers to thank. Even while I was hiding in a figurative cardboard box in the basement—crying because my hard work was out in the world alone but not in shiny paperback or bookstores—you guys hopped on Amazon and just freaking bought it. You placed your trust in me based on KNIGHTS OF RILCH or maybe the Sugar Cookie Latte I am drinking in my Twitter pic, and dropped $5 or even $13 on my latest epic. I owe you so much just for that trust. I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s what keeps me writing for someone besides myself. It’s wonderful and I love you for it. <3
5 thoughts on “Burning Out and Gratefulness”
Very brave post, Rachel. And I agree, better take your time to write the best fourth installment possible. *hugs*
Burn out sucks. Hang out with your friends more, it always makes me feel better and recharged. Haha.
And exercise. Never ever stop exercising.
Lol don’t you love my little words of wisdom.