Sunday, March 12, 2017

Avoiding Burnout

An interesting phenomenon has been noticed occurred over recent months, one that has been mentioned on a number of different blogs. Bloggers have discovered that a number of familiar names in indie publishing are no longer around. Frequent posts to favorite networking sites have disappeared, there's no newly published books, and websites haven’t been updated in some time.

Some believe that the huge number of books now being published annually (I hear that it’s two million or more) has so glutted the market that many authors aren’t selling nearly as many books as they did between 2010 and 2015. Substantial royalties have therefore diminished, forcing some to return to day jobs. Still, others seem to have given up. Keep in mind that a small percentage of authors, particularly in the romance and erotica markets, are still making good incomes.

Another theory also factors in here. Burnout. On indie sites like Kindleboards, authors were touting the necessity of putting out a book every three months to stay visible and on top of Amazon’s mysterious algorithm. To me, this is akin to investing in stocks you don’t know much about, but hoping they’ll rise in your favor anyway. A number of authors have tried to do this with varying degrees of success. As those who follow my blogs know, I’ve tried to step up my pace, but it’s truly difficult.

So, I was really interested by a recent blog that discussed burnout…what it really is, and how to overcome it. Author BelleCooper identifies burnout as a combination of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. It seems that burnout is not just a matter of overworking, but of losing enthusiasm for what you’re doing to the point where you become inefficient and unproductive. I’ve seen evidence of this in my own life, so I’ve been taking steps to avoid complete burnout.

First, I put four of the six writing projects away to focus on just two. Secondly, I’m improving my diet, getting more rest when needed, and exercising more. Third, I’m adjusting my life/work balance by spending more time with friends, planning, weekend getaways, and even a couple of vacations over the next twelve months. A rarity for me!

It’s already helping. There’s more I can do, and Cooper has other great tips. If you feel like you’re working too hard and are becoming jaded by the lack of reward for your efforts, then please read her blog. Maybe it will help.


Kristina Stanley said...

Very interesting, Debra. I can't imagine a writing book every 3 months! That would cause burn out for sure - for me anyway.

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your comments, Kristina. There are still indie writers out there who seem determined to publish 3 books every month. It will be interesting to see how long they last. Harlequin writers used to do it, back in the day when the romance formula was a strict 165 pages, or so. They probably still do!