If you are no longer burning for anything, you are burnt out. With these tips on burnout prevention for authors, you can create little time-outs during everyday life as a precaution.
When was the last time you smelled a flower? Or listened to the song of a lark? When was the last time you walked barefoot through your garden? And do you remember what freshly mown grass smells like? In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, between work, leisure and family obligations, there is sometimes not much time for distraction. Yet we underestimate the effect that small moments of time out can have on body and mind. Writers in particular suffer from an inner conflict between what they want and what they should do. The moments for poetry, prose and buttercups are increasingly being eaten up by time-eaters. Job, housework, social contacts, phone calls and perhaps a training course, and the day is as full as an autumn chestnut before it falls from the tree. Some authors force themselves to write one or two pages late at night, when everyone else is already asleep. But when you get to the point where you can’t even think of the name of your main protagonist, you should pull the emergency brake.
Before you know it, you’re suffering from burnout. It happens faster than you think. Because a burnout comes insidiously. Once you suspected it, it’s usually already there. And the first thing it does is to affect your creativity because burnout has different phases. First, creativity and enthusiasm for one’s passions diminish. Things that were important before suddenly become secondary. This is followed by fatigue, listlessness, irritability, withdrawal, apathy and – in the worst case – illness and depression.
So, for the sake not only of your inspiration, but also of your mental and physical health, you should prevent burnout – despite all your ambitions as a writer. Because there is no illness an author fears as much as writer’s block, and burnout causes a reduction in creative and cognitive abilities. We at novum publishing have researched tips on burnout prevention for authors and creative professionals in general. These five tips will reliably protect you from blank pages:
Tips for burnout prevention for authors and writers
Make yourself a priority. Work is important, but it’s not everything. Most people with burnout are perfectionists and demand everything from themselves. However, it is important to set clear boundaries, to not only give, but also to take. You can create healthy boundaries between work and free time even by taking minimal measures. End your work day on time, even if something is still unfinished. Rarely does it make a difference whether a project is submitted at midnight or in the morning of the next day. Don’t do everything all at once. Complete one step before moving on to the next. Allow yourself breaks, acknowledge that time on your mobile phone is just another duty and get a work mobile phone if needed. Don’t check your emails at the weekend and establish laptop-free days. Learn to say “no” and let your “no” stand without giving reasons. In short, give your free time the same or even more weight than your working time. Mindful time management is everything.
We live in a time when stress has become a lifestyle. It’s a trend you don’t have to be a part of. Multitasking is not a gift, but poison for your physical and mental well-being. But more difficult than learning to multitask is unlearning multitasking. Do you find it difficult to concentrate on one task at a time? Then you should urgently dedicate yourself to your mindfulness practice. Especially for beginners, this can be a real challenge. Help yourself with meditation, Tai Chi or Qigong. Attend a stress management seminar, go birdwatching or make your own tea cups in a pottery class. As an author, you also know another important source of relaxation: writing. Four key techniques of writing meditation you can find here.
Did you know that burnout also manifests itself biochemically? With permanent stress, the adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline levels in the body are chronically elevated. In the case of burnout, the body reacts as it does when in shock: it limits itself to the essentials. We are then in physical and mental survival mode. Exercise and a healthy diet are effective antidotes to this condition. Stress hormones can be reduced, for example, through endurance sports such as running or cycling. In yoga, we not only practise meditation, but also learn to feel ourselves again. Instead of permanently ignoring our own needs, we learn to perceive them. Coupled with healthy eating, we can succeed in breaking out of the cycle and shifting from survival mode back to experience mode.
Sometimes a “yes” to others is a “no” to ourselves. People who slip into burnout usually have a very specific personality structure. Not only are they perfectionists, but they also tend to have self-doubt and want to prove to themselves and others that they are enough. Those who depend on external confirmation, however, fall into a dangerous dependency. Out of fear of criticism or rejection, we are constantly busy satisfying the needs of others. This sometimes has serious consequences for writers: Those who write only to please others risk writer’s block. Writing is an act of creativity, the pure pleasure of play. Free your writing routine from extraneous purposes; writing and any artistic activity in general are ends in themselves. Self-love and self-acceptance can be learned. Various gratitude rituals or journaling are proven methods to give yourself attention, mindfulness and love. The “artist’s meeting” developed by Julia Cameron is also recommended: make an appointment with yourself once a week. Put the appointment in your calendar and don’t cancel it. Your artist’s meeting can be a visit to a botanical garden, a library or even a spa. It’s up to you to decide. Plan a date with the love of your life: yourself.
We at novum publishing wish you a mindful start to an autumn of inspiration!
Keep writing, keep typing!