LizAnn Carson

Releasing the stories into the world

Burnout

2 Comments

I dread burnout, and guard against it. By that I mean that I work like a fiend to make sure I get whatever I’m working on finished before burnout hits.

Logical, eh?

But there’s a history here, a pattern. I am what I choose to call a serial enthusiast. I live in terror of the day that I wake up and simply don’t want to do whatever it is that I’m doing anymore.

Some people have said that I get what I need from whichever activity engrosses me, then move on. This may account for the cardboard box in my basement full of partially finished cross-stitch projects. I love cross-stitch, honest. But then that morning comes, and the latest project goes into the box—for another time, of course.

I think the issue of burnout at the moment has a lot to do with my stated intention of getting three books released this summer. They’re all written, thank heaven. Two of them ought to be considered finished; I mean, there’s a limit to how many times you should even think about going through the manuscript one last time, tweaking this, finding the last missing quotation mark … yes, there ought to be a statute of limitations on this stuff.

And that brings me to another fatal flaw: perfectionism. Do you know why perfectionists can read all the advice about not being perfectionist, and not even see themselves in it? I can tell you why. Because that’s not how you see it. You’re not going for perfect. You’re going for good enough. What you’re doing will be judged, after all. People will see and comment. It’s not perfectionism if you’re just trying to make it as good as it reasonably can be. If you just want people to love it as much as you do.

Are you sensing a perfect storm here?

Well, what I didn’t expect was that it wouldn’t be my brain that would do me in. I’d been aware of tension amounting to pain in my neck and shoulders for a few days now (well, okay, maybe a few weeks), and for the last couple of days I’ve fought off a headache. No fighting this morning, though. Tension headache, steel band around head, the whole works. Acetaminophen, caffeine, and a couple of chocolate digestive biscuits later I felt better. So I tried to work on the current revision of Mel, the third book in the Calder Creek Series. Want to guess what happened?

Two ibuprofen and another cup of coffee later, I was pointedly avoiding my computer and relaxing with a new book on Zentangle, when my whole body caved in. It felt like a low blood pressure episode. I went limp.

Limp, I took myself off to the sofa for a nap.

Now, a cup of tea and a cinnamon raisin scone later, I feel better, although still weak. I think I may not work on Mel for a few days. I think that might be wise.

So, naturally, what do I do? Sit down at my computer to document this mini-collapse. Oh, I’m a wise one, you betcha.

Never mind. The sun’s trying to come out, the cat’s asleep in front of the fire (not that that’s unusual), and really, everything’s going pretty well. I will learn to pace myself, honest. I’m good at learning from my mistakes.

Maybe on the next book …

Advertisements

Author: LizAnn Carson

I write. Mainly romance fiction, but also poetry and the occasional article. Words - love 'em. But I love other things, too. Beading, for instance, with very small beads. Painting, collage, Zentangle. Love my husband, my grown kids - a rich and happy life. My mantra: In all things, Beauty.

2 thoughts on “Burnout

  1. I totally get what you mean about getting to a certain point in a project and losing interest. I’ve always thought of it as the point when I see how it is going to work out – that it is going to work out – so clearly that I don’t have to finish it. It works. That’s where my satisfaction on a project comes from.
    I also think it is a cycle that I put down to astrology (don’t laugh!). Ihere is the starting time when I am full of initiating energy and start 5 or 6 projects; the bogged down in the middle of all of them time when nothing seems to be working; then suddenly I’m over the hump and bam bam bam, they are finished one after another.
    But pacing yourself is essential and it’s a good idea to take a day or two, or even half an hour, away from your computer to enjoy this beautiful time of year. 🙂

    • Believe me, I’d never laugh about astrology. I’m a tarot card reader myself and have lots of faith in the subtle rhythms of the universe. It’s interesting how different people work to different rhythms, and hit different challenges. The middles don’t usually faze me because I work to an outline and I don’t write in order. if the middle’s getting to me, I just move on to a juicy love scene! and you’re right, definitely need to get out into the sunshine today. Good to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s