How to avoid burn out
What most writer’s struggle with is burnout. It’s one of the most common causes of writers giving up their work and finding a regular job.
I publish something on Medium almost every day. While I don’t feel burnout per se, there are definitely pressures that come with consistently putting out your work into the world!
While I’ve never burnt out with writing, I did end up having a mental breakdown from working too hard a few years ago. That put me out of work for three months. So, as you can imagine, burn out is something that I want to avoid at all costs. There are systems that I have put into place to help me prevent falling out of love with my career.
So how do I keep a consistent publishing schedule while maintaining my sanity?
I work on one thing a day.
That’s not to say I only do one thing a day.
I have one project that I have to complete for me to mark that day as a success. It doesn’t have to big, the size of the task changes depending on my workload and mood for the day.
Choosing one thing to complete helps me prioritise. If you could only do one thing, what would the most important thing be?
It doesn’t have to just be one thing, five or ten things work as well. If you are going to be using a larger goal amount, make sure that you are varying your task difficulties. The point of this exercise is to have achievable goals. If you’re going to choose ten items, make sure that you can get all of those done in a day. Be realistic!
I rarely only do one thing in a day, but I always complete my goal. I always get that feeling that I’ve done something for myself and for my career. That’s important for a writer who spends most of her time working on colossal projects!
Having small achievable goals is synonymous with my success as a writer.
Sometimes life happens, things get in the way of what we want to accomplish on any given day.
One of the most important things I can tell you about accomplishing your goals is about being able and willing to forgive life for getting in the way.
As a writer, you’ll be able to use these intrusions, success or sob stories in your work. Occurrences in daily life fuel our ability to tell stories; they add to our story banks.
The way that we feel at any given moment about things that happen around us can make for great stories. So forgive life for interrupting, it might just be trying to provide you with a book idea!
Long term goals.
It helps to have a long term goal in mind when you go about setting up your daily task list.
There are a few ways to decide on your writing goals. I don’t think that any is better than the other. You have to choose based on what you want out of your writing.
Do you want to finish a book? Could writing a certain number of words in your manuscript count as your daily goal? What about finishing a scene, a chapter, or plotting something?
I have a monetary goal for my writing. I want to make a certain amount of money in a set amount of time. I’m not going to beat myself up about whether or not I achieve. Occasionally I revisit my goals and adjust them. Things change and again, being flexible is essential.
Think about what you want your next significant milestone to be, and set your tasks around that goal. What could you do today that will push you towards that goal?
Re-examine your goals
Every few months, I look back at my goal and assess whether or not it’s still realistic. I mentioned before that my goal is monetary. Medium plays a part in how much I earn as a writer.
Medium recently changed their payment policy, and I don’t know how that will affect me yet. While I have high hopes for still reaching my goals, I may need to reassess how much I am capable of earning under the new payment system.
I might need to change my monetary goal or my time frame.
There are lots of things that can happen to change our goals, sticking with one rigid idea of success can be disheartening for a writer.
Adjusting to life as it happens is a natural part of being human, roll with the punches and readjust accordingly. Be fair to yourself, as always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!