That Burnout Feeling

All authors are under pressure. Writing is hard work and to then switch to publicising that work is a difficult gear change for many. If you are an indie author, the pressures are magnified because you are your own CEO, your own publicist, your own everything. It takes a certain type of person to thrive in that environment but even the best of us can come unstuck.

Burnt Out by Gerwin Sturm courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Burnout is a danger in many walks of life and writers are prone to it. We live in our heads for one thing, we often have day jobs to support our writing for another and so we write around the day job when we are tired and often not at our best. If we are published, whether traditionally, hybrid or indie, there are other demands on our time. We need to keep abreast of new ideas and innovations, to be aware of strategies to assist with our writing, or the production of our books, or our sales, or connecting with our readers. We can easily become overwhelmed by all the information out there. It’s a tidal wave rushing towards us and it’s easy to get swamped. Information overload takes over.

Tidal wave
The Roar by FHG Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

Although many people would envy our achievements, we know the sacrifices it took to get there. We are also familiar with the pressures. It is a fine line to walk between being busy and pushing too hard.

We are all capable of working hard to finish a big project, throwing all of our mental and physical energy at something just to get it done. But what if the big projects just keep coming? We can only keep going at that pace for so long. Eventually we need to throw the off switch and have some down time and if we don’t our bodies will throw the off switch for us by making us sick.

How to recognise you are heading for or suffering from burnout:-

  1. The things that gave you pleasure now no longer please you.
  2. You have stopped writing anything new (this is different to suffering from writer’s block – that’s when you want to write but cannot because the words aren’t there). Here, you no longer even want to write.
  3. You are tired – mentally. All the time.
  4. Even the simplest tasks seem like hard work.
  5. You keep coming down with bugs and sniffles.
  6. You feel overwhelmed and inadequate.
  7. You are running just to stand still but are achieving less and less.
  8. You question why you ever started this in the first place.
  9. You want to stay in bed and pull the duvet over your head.
  10. Moving to a desert island with no wi-fi connection is suddenly an appealing option.
Desert Island
Desert Island by Rob courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Sound familiar? This is where I found myself a couple of weeks ago.

Recognising the problem is half the battle. In the coming blogs, I will share with you what happened to me and how I am trying to combat it.

If you too have suffered with burnout at some stage in your career please get in touch and let me know what worked for you.

15 thoughts on “That Burnout Feeling

  1. kjw616 04/05/2017 / 12:25 pm

    I am in complete agreement. For me, I feel like forgetting reaching out to strangers to promote my book. I achieved my goal in learning my father’s story and then sharing it with my family. I am not sure if I want to do any more, so I look forward to hearing what you are doing.


    • ellieholmesauthor 07/05/2017 / 9:45 am

      I do not think we take enough time to appreciate our achievements sometimes. We are all too busy rushing on to the next thing and the next. I think it’s a good idea to take some time and re-evaluate your goals. You have to enjoy what you are doing, that is the key.


  2. Felicia Denise 04/05/2017 / 3:14 pm

    Great post, Ellie, and really hits home! Looking forward to your upcoming posts! 😉


    • ellieholmesauthor 07/05/2017 / 9:46 am

      Thank you also for reblogging the piece. Much appreciated. I hope it helps others to realise when they are rushing towards the precipice and helps them pull back in time. Ellie x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Angel Mystique 04/05/2017 / 3:49 pm

    I feel myself coming down with this. I’m on (what I hope will be) my fourth published book. It’s the first in a series of Sci-Fi love stories. Some personal changes have occurred over the past few days (amazing, awesome changes), and I’ve found myself having about three of the ten symptoms(#2, #8, and #10.)

    I’m looking forward to your follow-up posts. Glad to know I’m not alone 😀


    • ellieholmesauthor 07/05/2017 / 9:49 am

      You are certainly not alone. I have been touched by the amount of response I have had to the blog post. I think sometimes we get so caught up in our own worlds that we forget what a generally supportive bunch writers are. The ‘amazing, awesome’ changes you mentioned sound great. It seems to me you need to adjust to your good news and then find the right path for you to move forwards on. Good luck. Ellie x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Angel Mystique 07/05/2017 / 2:55 pm

        Hi, Miss Ellie! Thank you so much for responding to my reply! The post was so insightful. It turns out, I just needed a moment to take everything in a recoup! Love, Light, and Abundant Blessings, Angel! x


      • ellieholmesauthor 08/05/2017 / 5:26 am

        Sometimes taking time out is just what we need. I’m so pleased you are in a better place now. Long may it continue. Ellie x

        Liked by 1 person

  4. deborahanndykeman 09/05/2017 / 6:03 pm

    Yes, I am there right now! Editing my 6th book, and need to be writing the 7th. In the middle of not one, but two kitchen renovations and squeezing in my job. Our second oldest just announced her second and our 6th grandchild due this November. She wondered why I didn’t jump for joy. I really am thrilled about it…just don’t know how I can handle any more ‘stuff’ right now! When I break it down, it’s more about what others are expecting of me, and not wanting to fail them. So yes, the island with no electronics is sounding really nice! At this point in time, cleaning the bathroom seems like climbing Mt. Everest. Also looking forward to your follow-up posts!


    • ellieholmesauthor 10/05/2017 / 8:42 am

      Goodness me, Deborah, I thought I had a lot on my plate! The fact that you are emotionally drained is why you couldn’t respond with the expected joy to the news of a new grandchild but you will. Is there any way you can take some time for yourself just to recharge? A weekend away would be ideal but if this is out of the question, how about a couple of hours somewhere tranquil where you can just refill your soul? Thinking of you *hugs*. Ellie x

      Liked by 1 person

      • deborahanndykeman 11/05/2017 / 10:34 pm

        My husband just booked a hotel for us for the end of May for a few days. So, I’m really looking forward to that! I always think that people are much, much busier than I, and that I’m just now handling it well! lol Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! Have a great evening!


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