These past weeks, since the middle of July, have been difficult ones. If you’ve never suffered from burnout, you’ve been blessed beyond measure.
Where does malaise come into it? Well, for me, malaise is my first real symptom of burnout. When a hermitage in the deep forest forms as my strongest desire, I’m in trouble. I’ve been here a few times. Experience has taught me the depths and stages of the condition. I can survive this episode without much damage. I don’t have to seek the forest this time.
I do have to make changes to my routine and my lifestyles, though, if I’m going to continue with a writing career. That much is certain.
And that, peeps, is what I’ve been dealing with while away from here. Family pressures have added to the mix, but then, everyone has those. Right? Right.
Now that I’ve acknowledged the real situation, determined the culprit/causal factors, and chosen to attack the problem, I can make positive changes. You see, one of the major difficulties with burnout is that the sufferer doesn’t recognize the situation until it’s well-advanced. Others may see the problem, but convincing the sufferer isn’t easy—especially when that person is as stubborn as I am.
Yep, you guessed it. I’m one of those who’s been taught that I can conquer anything given enough time and dedication. As a result, my competitive streak eggs me on to take on more and more work, more interests, and less sleep than is good for me. I just know that I can cram in a bit more of something into my work schedule if I push a wee bit harder.
As a result of that attitude, I’m sitting here, having to force myself to write anything and connect with anyone, etc. I can’t afford to take that attitude. Establishing a new normal for me will take time—time I don’t want to take. Patience with myself must be established.
You now know why I’ve been absent. Not just from here and my other website, but from media in general. Coming out of hibernation is slow and painful. Personal reinvention is never easy, but it can be done.
You might ask how I’ve begun the process. I’ve chosen to take a focused, deliberate route to burnout recovery. I’ll continue with my face-to-face critique group each week. Being with those fantastic people each week has held me together for nearly two months. I’m working on one small story for them at the moment, one written with agonizing slowness. Oddly enough, it’s one of my best efforts ever.
I’ve taken the time to sit and read—really read, as both writer and reader. The activity keeps me in the literature groove but demands little of me. I’ve needed to make this particular connection again for a long time. I have to say that getting a Kindle and taking advantage of special websites has giving me more than sufficient selection of reading material and kept my costs to a minimum.
I’ve advanced and expanded my interests through YouTube—for music and documentary-style information gathering—and reading in unexplored genres. Story ideas are sparking constantly now and allowing Muse to integrate and extrapolate from all the input. Those ideas go in a folder for consideration sometime later, probably as flash fiction.
Several projects await completion, as well. Those will be covered one at a time. I’ve decided to focus only on one current story and one revision each month. Anything else is speculation and not meant for serious work.
This is the only way I can pull myself out of burnout and reduce my malaise. I can’t afford to spiral further down and refuse to give up and become a hermit. I have too many friends, many of them here, who won’t let me give up. Bless them all.
I have something percolating in the hind-brain—something for later and which has floated in Muse’s lotus pond for a few years. I’ll talk about that at a later date. I need some additional recupe time and preparations before I outline it.
I will be doing a few book reviews in the coming weeks. Fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. I will also do a few articles about aspects of writing that might not get talked about very often. I’m not up to contest standards and won’t be for a while, I’m afraid.
For many of you, this situation comes with little surprise. Some of you have mentioned my self-imposed workload throughout the year. I’m so glad you stuck with me.
Expect something on the site at least once a week from now on. It could be anything, including an excerpt from whatever I happen to be working on at the moment. I have two novellas that are in revision stages right now—slow revisions.
Take care all. Don’t follow in my footsteps too closely. Give yourself a break at least a couple of times a day to relax, laugh, and talk with friends/family. Go outside and see the sky, if for no other reason than to get an accurate weather report. I’ll see you again soon. Happy writing.