Best friend, writer, and editor Trysh Thompson has been warning me for months about “burnout.” When a creative person creates too much, we crash.
Over the past three months, I wrote the final 30K word segment of the Escape Trilogy. I wrote the Bite Somebody screenplay. I wrote a 10K word Sherlock fan fiction. I have so far celebrated the release of parts one and two of the Enchanted Series in January and February (the third coming in April). And as of Friday, I rewrote an entire 55K novel called We Still Live over the span of 18 days … and then, had to attend a three-day geek convention to promote my work.
Monday night, after sending We Still Live to my famed first readers, I panicked. Dunno why really. Would you like a taste of my hysterical text messages?
“The more I think about it, the more I think my rewrite sucks and I’m kind of having a panic attack and should just be a stripper because I’m a horrible writer. Jesus, what’s wrong with me? Seriously, I feel sick.”
“I’m in crisis. Can’t even read right now without fixating on how every writer is apparently better than me. Feeling highly talentless and impostery right now.”
Yeah, that is just a smidgen of what my closest friends have been dealing with. But is this burnout, or is this basically what happens in the mind of every writer, everywhere?
Do you know what I did yesterday? (I hope not, because if you do know, you’re a stalker.) I went to a fancy lunch place with my friend Ingrid, had a total vocal-vomit fest, and downed two, yes TWO, huge IPAs before dragging her to a dive bar for round three. I fell asleep last night listening to my favorite Debussy, Chopin, and Puccini tunes because the idea of picking up a book made me sick. Words have become the enemy.
So is this burnout? I have no idea. I just know it’s unlike me, especially as I prepare my line edits for the Escape Trilogy to be released by NineStar Press this July.
My brain is a fuzz ball of angst and confusion, maybe partially due to the beers of afternoons past. Or perhaps it’s time to step away and not write for a couple days? See what happens. Will the muse return, or will I spend eternity staring at walls?
When “career stuff” is going well, we assume we’ll feel a sense of peace, but let’s face it: the better the “career stuff,” the busier we are. I’m not complaining about the early success of 2018, but I will say I am overwhelmed and probably need to step away from creative writing for a little while.
Luckily, the famous (infamous) Bite Somebody Pilgrimage to Longboat Key, Florida, is in two weeks. There, I can unwind and think about nothing but cocktail hour. I think I’m ready. In the meantime, take a look at your own job and make sure you’re not burning the proverbial two-sided candle. It’s hell on the bar tab.