Friday, February 23, 2024

Can Writers Avert Burnout?

I saw a front-page article from Psychology Today that blared: BURNOUT: How To Beat Stress, Overload, and Your To-Do List. Though there are steps that can be taken to avert burnout in life or one’s career, it’s inevitable that one feels overwhelmed, bored, unfulfilled, or a slave to the demands and needs of people that are almost out of our control. Burnout will visit all of us multiple times, but we can limit its damage and use the experience to spur change, make transitions, and springboard new ways of doing things.  

I contend that writers cannot avoid burnout any more than they can avoid writer’s block. Instead of fearing these things, embrace them. Learn from them. Welcome the breaking point. That’s when you get to take a time out, reflect, rest, and reboot with a renewed sense of purpose, passion, and priority.   

Certainly, I would advise all writers to find a balance in their life, between work and play. Most of our time is accounted for the minute we wake up. Chores, travels, sleep, exercise, eating, and a bunch of other obligations or fairly predictable behaviors fill our days and nights. We get to choose the order of things, to a degree, and the level of intensity of what we do.   

For one to succeed, they must always have goals and targeted plans to meet those goals. We need to be realistic about progress and to confront our challenges and shortcomings. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to making demands on ourselves but if we don’t push ourselves, who will?  

I would suggest that we distinguish between different types of burn-out: physical, social, mental, spiritual, and financial. One area, if deficient or particularly overtaxed, leads to a negative impact on other areas. If you feel depressed, you won’t be too productive. If you are tired or sick, you limit your happiness or productivity. Writer’s need to address their holistic life -- and make sure they can focus and have time to write and market their books.   

There’s no secret formula to dealing with burnout. It’s obvious. When you get into an imbalanced state, where one or more key areas are dragging you down, your will and ability to preserve get drained. So, control what you can control: eat right, get 7-8 hours of sleep, talk to friends and family, stroke a pet, and remember to move your body. Enjoy a change of scenery. If not a two-week European vacation, do a weekend away by car, or even an overnight at a friend’s place. Get out of the house and break from your daily routine. Laugh, love, and lose yourself in some other drama.   

As writers, we live in our heads. Sometimes, you need to shut your brain down. Impossible, yes, but if you step away from your laptop, the social media surfing, and even from reading books, take a 24-72 hour break so that you can reset your internal creative clock.   

One way or another, break away from your burnout. Confront what consistently gnaws at you to see if you can stop doing something, or do it less often, or to drop a relationship, a job, a hobby. Don’t accept the malaise or the pressure - understand it instead, and rejigger things so you can avoid feeling like you are spent, brain dead, and disinterested in anything.   

Everyone’s burnout is unique to them but the solution to it is the same: shake shit up, take a break, and be prepared to re-set your goals. You deserve to be happy and successful - it doesn’t have to be a chore to be alive.   

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2024. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.6 million pageviews. With 4,800+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and director of publicity positions at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America several years ago, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, Morgan James Publishing, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. His first published book was The Florida homeowner, Condo, & Co-Op Association Handbook.  It was featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.


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