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Apr 22, 2021

Burnout and Being Transparent With Yourself About It

By: Daisya Spencer

Okay, I’m going to get a little transparent here. Burnout is something that I struggle with and I know I’m not the first person, nor will ever be the last, that struggles with this. The reason I am saying this out loud is to 1) hold myself more accountable and 2) to look back on this moment where, in these rare moments, I am being completely transparent with myself. 

I remember a conversation I had with a fellow student during my community college days. We had a class together. He wasn’t very much of a writer but was incredibly insightful in that he knew what to say. Anyway, I relayed to him the issues that I was having with my writing, and how I mentally wanted to finish a certain work-in-progress on time. His response, although not verbatim, “Why the rush? Just have fun with it.” And he was right.

That conversation, which I believe was back in 2019, made me think back to those moments where I would write for a certain period on a project and then quickly backed out on it because of the amount of self-doubt that was trickling my brain and also because of…. BURNOUT. 

The same thing happened to me as recently as toward the end of 2020. I started working on the second draft of an adult thriller that I am really proud of and have a lot of confidence in, but I burned myself out, yet again due to consistently working on it for the past two months. The benefit of this was that I wrote within two months a little over 50, 000 words that I am a lot prouder the second time around. But the downfall was that I took over a month-long break from a project, yet again. 

Taking time from a project isn’t a bad thing. Life happens. It's beneficial to take a break away from something in order to come back fresh and newly excited to work on what you started. This is something that we should tell ourselves. It’s good to be transparent with ourselves when we’re not feeling up to it. Again, I want to reiterate to anyone who is reading this, it’s okay. 

Here are five things that I like to do when I want to avoid any sort of burnout: 

1. Take time away from your project. Past me would’ve been stressed out about this, but as I get older, I realize that life happens, and you can’t control that. So, taking a week or two, or even a month, away from your project may be beneficial as opposed to a disadvantage. 

2. Read a book. This is something that I’m trying to get back into. Reading can distract you from the stress you’re feeling with your personal project. For me, it’s also another way to become a better writer, as well. In order to be a better writer, you have to be a lover of reading, as well. 

3. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. This is something that has always remained a constant for me. I have a minuscule amount of people who are aware that I love to write and those two people are the people that I run to whenever I’m feeling stressed or burned out, about what I’m working on. Sometimes talking to someone can help you tap into the root of why you’re feeling the way that you feel about why you’re stressed.

4. Watch a movie. Another thing that I’ve been recently trying to get more into. Watching a movie, or even a tv show, can be a mindless thing and distracts you from your writing, even if it’s just temporary. 

5. Remind yourself that taking a break is good for your mental health. The most important thing to remember is that taking a break is not only for your writing, but also your mental health, which first and foremost, should be your top priority. Instead of thinking negatively about how long it’s taking to finish your book and how you “need” to be writing every day, what I have been doing is implementing a bit of cognitive-behavioral therapy into my day-to-day. Instead of saying, “I need to be writing no matter what,” I quickly correct myself and say, “I would like to write today, but if I don’t, then that’s okay.” 

Remember that there are 365 (or, if there’s a leap year, 366) days in a year. If you don’t write today, remind yourself that there’s always tomorrow and the day after that, and so on and so forth. Never feel that you have to rush yourself as everyone’s progression is different.


About the author

Hi, I’m Daisya. So…. in order to avoid the awkwardness of this bio let me tell you a few things about me: 

1) I’ve been a lover of writing ever since the age of 15. 

2) I love anything related to mysteries and thrillers. Those are my bread and butter. 

3) I was born and raised in Greenville, North Carolina, but hope to live outside of the state one day, preferably still staying on the east coast. 

4) I hope to, one day, become a published author. 

5) I got my associate degree in 2019 majoring in Applied Science for substance abuse counseling. 

6) I am a Halloween baby (a surprise one at that). 

7) Despite being born on Halloween, I am a huge scaredy cat, which is why I prefer to read horror novels as opposed to watching the movies. 

8) My favorite classic novel is The Great Gatsby.  

If you still find me interesting and want to keep up with me, then here’s a link to my Twitter: