–Sondi Warner, Writer/Blogger for Wrought Iron Reads
You know who you are. (Raises both handz.)
Type A Personality: You feel guilty if you take a minute to relax. You have such big goals that you feel you need to be doing something every second of the day. Everywhere you go and everything you do seems to be in hyper-speed. You walk fast, talk fast and tackle life with high energy, and you can’t do just one thing at a time. If you’re not multitasking, not enough work is getting done. After all, there’s no fun in life if you’re not hitting your targets and winning consistently. You’re a winner, for goodness sake!
And, while folks consider you competitive, aggressive and impatient—like that’s a bad thing—you know in your heart that every accomplishment on your long list of successes came as a result of your great work ethic and willingness to do whatever it took to come out on top.
Working every minute of the day, multitasking and getting things done as quickly and efficiently as possible are just some of the “perks” of the job for indie authors. Most of us don’t have a team of people helping us bring our story together and get it on the market. I’ve encountered friends who do everything from the writing and editing, to book cover design and trailers, and once their books are together, there’s still the work of marketing and promoting it.
Of course, we want our books to sell big, and having awards and other bestselling titles helps. So, even if you’re not a Type A personality, you may exhibit some Type A traits while trying to make it as a writer. Here’s where you need to watch out.
Burnout creeps in stealthily over time. It happens when writers feel overworked and undervalued. Risk factors include being underpaid, not receiving recognition for hard work, having too many responsibilities and being expected to be many things to many people. In short, this is the life most of us live, but not all of us experience burnout. Because other factors that contribute include our outlook on life and having a strong support system from friends and family.
When we’re overworked, we may not eat well or we get little sleep. Eventually this leads to frequent exhaustion, lowered immunity and frequent aches and pains. And, if we’re not careful, the worst effects of burnout are lack of motivation and withdrawing from responsibilities. When you show up late to work or procrastinate, it’s kind of tough to be at your best.
There are things you can do to prevent burnout, even if you can’t necessarily lighten your workload.
- Get up. Get breakfast. Get your blood sugar regulated.
- Before you get to work, do some relaxing. Making relaxation a part of your schedule means it’s more likely to get done. Try yoga or journal writing, and make it a daily routine.
- Don’t forget the basics. Your body may be a machine, but even machines require maintenance. Eat well and exercise regularly.
- Don’t freak out. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a step back from work. It’ll be there when you get back to it.
- Talk to friends and family. They may have no idea how much you have on your plate. Your support network is there for your benefit. If you need help with home life to make work easier, just ask. Take a night out with your friends and have some fun to repay the favor. It’s a win-win.
- Give yourself a clock-out time. Most of us run and run until our bodies quit on us. It’s much healthier to know your limits and quit while you’re ahead.
- In our highly connected world, it’s great to set aside time for no cellphones, tablets or laptops and get back to reality. You know what? You can do it now. 😉 Happy Not Writing!