Writer Burnout

Some people fantasize about sex. Some people fantasize about being thin, or winning the lottery, or having a great kitchen. For years, my fallback fantasy is that of being a writer – or more precisely, since I am a copywriter and communications consultant by trade, to make a gazillion bucks by writing fiction, quitting my day job, and living in luxury.

Time has fortuitously tempered by expectations, and I’ve adjusted my ambitious from living in luxury to a comfortable living (and even that can be a stretch, I know). I realize that a combination of hard work, zeitgeist, good luck and perseverance is necessary especially if one wants to try the self publishing route – it seems that the most successful authors are virtual machines of productivity.

Hard work doesn’t daunt me; I worked a full time job while nursing and taking care of my daughter, typing at all hours with my baby on the boob to make income. But as I come closer to finishing my first decent novel, I suddenly realized: wow, this has been a marathon. Would I be able to do this – and enjoy this – every day?

In place of the familiar fantasy of freedom and financial comfort, I suddenly think of writing under pressure (something I’m familiar with), but upped: instead of a company profile or annual report, which needs to be incisive and clear but not necessarily creatively inspiring, I imagine trying to pin down that elusive muse under stress and fear that I won’t make enough money to eat and/or that my self pubbed writing career will shortly implode. Ugh. In a moment the golden vision turned to dross.

A quick skim of other writer sites turned up the same issue right up. One woman said that after 10 years of abusing her muse it left and she burned out. I like to eat; I like not to live in fear. Maybe I need to readjust my fantasy and make it more specific.

How’s this for a new vision? A four hour work day concentrating on my fiction with some time for marketing and promotion, with good stable income and the rest of my day to take care of m kids and handle craftsy projects to refresh my muse and spirit.

How about you, any experiences of burnout?


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