Good morning fellow imaginers, and welcome to another weekend edition here at YJBLiterary! Last weekend was an enjoyable success for me as I was able to present at the Durham South regional library and discuss my series, Metamorphs. While there, I spoke about my passion for writing, my upbringing, and where 2020 would take me as I launched the expansion of the Alterra universe. It was great to be able to interact with fans and get their feedback in regards to what they appreciated about the series. I’m very blessed to have such supportive friends and family who have continued to push me to pursue my dreams.
Today, I wish to touch upon another topic of conversation, one which is quite common amongst the profession. The topic came about as I have been continuing to consider my endeavors for the following year. I wanted to talk about the subject of burnout.
This is something that is common amongst most writers, especially those who are within the indie community and are known for producing multiple books a year. Rapid release can be a very stressful and demanding business plan, especially for those who also have jobs that they do as well.
Being an author requires much of your time, attention, and creativity. It requires a lot of sacrifice that many people will never know or realize that you do. The amount of hours dedicated to writing, editing, marketing, social media, not to mention all the technical details of having to manage your own business, can certainly be overwhelming. I generally spend two guaranteed hours a day writing and editing my novels. I will get up at 4 AM in order to get to work, as this is a time that I’ve found to be most peaceful for me and allows me to tap into the creative aspect of my mind easiest. It also is the time of day where there is the least demand of my time and attention from others. I will do this six days a week and at times, depending on the project, dedicate even more time for this.
Several minutes of my day must also be dedicated to reaching out to my fan base and fellow authors on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my blog, etc. That’s quite a bit of media to slog through, but it is necessary in order to develop this not only as a business but to also develop relationships with my peers in the profession. It is a necessity if I am to reach fans and develop a loyal readership as it is the main way that people can get to know me. On top of all this, I need to make sure that I spend several minutes, if not hours a day, analyzing my book sales and marketing techniques, identifying what is working and what is not so that I can make sure that my finances are being used appropriately. Needless to say, on top of a full-time job, it is easy to see how burnout can be a real thing.
I don’t tell you all of this to impress you, or to garner an amount of pity. Quite the opposite. I do this in order to inform you of what the author life is like, especially for those who are interested in becoming aspiring authors themselves. This is not an easy thing to do, and it requires much of you. This is the aspect of being in independent author that is not often spoken enough about. Like in all professions, people often see the successful ones, the standouts, and expect the same success right out of the gate. But that is not reality. They don’t see the amount of time and dedication that those professionals put in in order to be at the top of their craft. And especially amongst all the indie authors who do rapid releases, it is easy for burnout to strike at a moment’s notice. I have listened to many podcasts and read books by some of the top authors in the field and tried my best to take their advice when it comes to this topic.
Some of the best advice I had received was to set aside days for vacation, manage time appropriately, and make sure that you take time for yourself each day. As in with all professions it is important that we have days in the year that we completely disconnect, days when we can hang out with friends and family and not think about work. For me, I make sure that when we are on vacation, I am not on that same timeframe and schedule that I usually adhere to when it comes to my writing. If I do bring my laptop, I am not held to the same strict routine that I usually follow and allow myself days and times where simply lapse in my writing obligations. Often times, I may even do all of my writing beforehand in order to give myself that peace of mind while I’m on vacation. I also make sure to take a break on Sundays, doing a lot of my writing on Saturday morning in order to alleviate my schedule the next day.
Managing your time appropriately is always easier said than done, however, it is possible. I have set times during the day when I write, a block of time dedicated simply to social media, a chunk for marketing and resource analysis, and even slots for relaxing and taking a break. It is especially important to do this in order to juggle two jobs and a family as my time is in high demand. Each aspect is important and should be focused on entirely during that timeframe. Having my days organized in this manner has allowed me to manage the high demands of all my activities without feeling like I’m drowning in my duties. Which brings me to perhaps the most important aspect of preventing burnout.
Every day must have slotted time dedicated to taking care of myself. I make sure that I take the time to exercise, to cook my meals and eat healthy, to read a book, and to even play some Magic: the gathering in order to refresh my mind and not think about work. The time frames do not have to be long (although I wish they were) in order to be effective. They could range anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes at a time, however, it is important that I do so. Not only will it help maintain my own sanity, but it will help improve my work as I will return to my tasks rejuvenated and more focused than before.
Stress is a part of our daily lives and difficulties are unavoidable. Burnout is a very real thing in our profession, however, it doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are ways for us to make sure that we don’t fall into this unfortunate trap, as long as we are making sure that we are managing our time well and taking care of ourselves. At the end of the day, we can only go so far as our minds allow us to, and if we do not take care of this valuable gift, both we and our readership will suffer.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this article, and thank you to all those who were in support last weekend. I hope you have a great rest of the week, and keep imagining!