According to PsychologyToday burnout is a chronic state of stress that can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.
I don’t know about you, but I have experienced burnout in the past and it is not something I care to repeat. The good news is that burnout doesn’t happen overnight and there are many warning signs and symptoms that will let you know if you are in danger of burnout. Check out THIS helpful article about the warning signs.
Effectively managing your time is a great way to avoid burnout. I am going to share my personal methods for avoiding writer burn out because I don’t want any writer to reach that state of chronic stress. As a writer who suffers from anxiety and depression I have had to learn to manage my stress levels and a bit part of that is time management which includes self-care.
KNOW YOURSELF AND YOUR NEEDS
This may seem basic but knowing who you are as a person and a writer is a key to understanding what you need to do to avoid burnout. I am an introvert. This means that while I love people, being around them drains me of energy. When I am drained of energy I become irritable, snappy. and unproductive.
I require time alone to recharge after being around people. Knowing this about myself allows me to make choices that won’t stress me out. If I have a writers group meeting, a conference to attend, or even a night out that includes socializing I know that I need to schedule in some quiet time to recharge the next day.
Here are a few tips to help you get to know yourself:
- Prayer or meditation
- Take a personality test
- Reflecting on what made you happy as a child
- Make a list of things that you love
- Make a list of things that stress you out
2. SAY NO. NO EXPLANATION NEEDED
One sure fire way to burnout is to say yes to every opportunity, person, and every idea that comes your way. I know this because I tend to be a people pleaser who is naturally inclined to (falsely) believe that I am the only one capable of doing stuff. Learning to say NO changed my life. I still struggle with it at times. Know that NO is okay and you don’t owe everyone an explanation. Say yes to only the BEST things. Saying yes to the best things is something that I learned from this impactful Christian book. I have provided a link below if you are interested in learning more about it.
Tips & Tricks For Embracing Your Right To Say No
- Accept that you can’t do everything
- Choose to say yes to the BEST things
- Don’t feel you must explain your no’s
- Know what your priorities are and make your choices based on them.
- Practice saying no
3. SET YOUR BUSINESS (WRITING) HOURS & SCHEDULE BREAKS
Make time for yourself during your writing. Writing is a creative process. It is important to remember that as you write you are draining your creative well. Take time refill it during the day. Schedule short breaks in your writing time. Use the breaks to recharge or relax. I keep a list of small simple things I enjoy doing and sprinkle them in throughout my writing work day.
I might spend 5 minutes creating a drawing, organizing a drawer, reading a chapter of a book or watching a short video. Sometimes I spend my five-minute break exercising, sitting on the patio with a glass of tea, or getting ideas on Pinterest. Find what works for you.
Tips for Guarding your time
- Set business hours for your writing
- Schedule daily, weekly, and monthly breaks
- Create a list of small enjoyable things to do on your mini breaks
- Set a time to check social media and answer emails and stick to it
- Schedule writing time separate from research, marketing, and editing times.
4. TAKE TIME OFF AND CELEBRATE
Writing is hard work and it requires a lot of time, effort, and discipline. To avoid burnout you need to realize that as a truth and plan for time off. My first year of treating my writing as a career was a success in many ways but by the end of it I was bordering on burnout. I was always working. In the morning as I took the kids to school I was thinking about what I would write. Then I was writing, filming videos, and building my author platform during the day. At night I would write blog posts, read writing reference books, write and think about writing. The weekends were more of the same.
Now, you would think that meant I got a lot done. But too much work led to working ineffectively. So, this year I have made it my goal to write smarter not harder. This includes not working on the days my kids have off school and planning for days off. I am getting more done and working less. I am also celebrating my accomplishments. Don’t cheat yourself out of your accomplishments by jumping right into the next project. Treat yourself and celebrate the large and small victories.
How To Celebrate:
- Plan a yearly vacation. It doesn’t have to be a huge trip, just a break from work.
- Be mindful and fully present in the current moment
- Have a plan for celebrating victories, big or small.
- Make a list of rewards or things that you will do to celebrate
- Enjoy your successes. Don’t just jump to the next task.
- Keep a journal of your accomplishments and celebrations
5. ACCEPT THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE AND EVERYWHERE
This tip is specifically geared toward your social media presence. Most writers are aware that having an author platform and being present on social media is a bit part of book marketing. But, trying to be on every form of social media and trying to reach ALL THE PEOPLE is only going to lead to burnout.
Instead of trying to do it all, pick one or two areas of social media and focus on making real connections in them. Find out where your target readers are and focus your time there. Don’t just post everything everywhere and hope for the best. Be strategic. Use tools like HootSuite to manage your social media. Give yourself permission to take a social media break.
Tips & Tricks for Managing Social Media & Author Platform
- Have a social media strategy
- Use tools to automate your posts and emails when possible
- Find out where your target reader is and focus on building connections on that platform
- Focus on people, not numbers and not yourself.
- Make real connections and provide value to your target readers.
I hope that you have found these 30 tips and tricks helpful. As always I am here to connect with you if you have any questions or comments feel free to email me or reach out on social media.
You Matter. Words Matter. And your words matter.
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