Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#WWoW!: Burning the Candle at Both Ends and the Middle with @dochappycamper #MyWANA #amwriting

Welcome to Tammy's Tidbits here at Writer's Words of Wisdom. Each week the four of us share the things we've learned on our journey to become published authors. At times we may discuss the same topic, but never the exact same opinion as our experiences vary. That's what makes our little group unique. We share with you what has and hasn't worked for us so you can find what works best for you.

Today's topic is all about burnout. I've written about this before. As authors we tend to get so involved with all aspects of writing, publishing and promoting, we forget to take time out for ourselves. I know better and still here I am again at the point where I'm simply overwhelmed. I'm over-committed, overworked, and in dire need of sleep.

Sound familiar? Multiply that by four and you have my life. Well, I should say multiply that by six: four pen names, a publishing house, and my "evil day job" as a veterinarian. Just with all that alone, I have very little time to take care of my home, my husband and myself. My health has suffered because of it and now I'm at a point where I'm no longer enjoying the very reason I got started on this journey in the first place—my writing.

What used to be a joyful escape has turned into another drudgery. I want that joy back! I'm not saying I don't want to treat writing and publishing as my job. I just want to be able to wake up each day with a smile on my face, looking forward to what my characters have in store for me.

How did it get so out of control? In all my excitement with getting published, I agreed to do weekly posts such as this one, joined Triberr, tweet teams, blog hops, chat groups, author support groups, started my own publishing house and branched out into multiple genres with my various pen names. As they were published, the demand for the next books from each of them grew. The pressure was on to produce faster in order to keep these new readers coming back for more.

Instead of allowing myself to take the time needed to produce the best books possible, I pressed the deadlines, added more and quadrupled my stress levels. These stresses built up higher and higher and lead to all of my health issues—least of all the high blood pressure and diabetes.

It's time to STOP and re-evaluate my goals as
a writer
a publisher
and a veterinarian

I need see how these can balance with the rest of my life and create the all new, and improved...ME. If I'm not healthy and happy, none of the rest will fall into place.

My advice to myself and all other authors out there is to continually re-evaluate your business plan/career goals to be sure you keep balance with your personal life. If any part of these goals get out of whack, you may find your creativity drying up, your health and well-being plummet, and you'll feel like a failure.

In other words: BURNOUT

So recognize the signs you're burning the candle at both ends and the middle before it's too late. Give yourself permission to walk away and enjoy the life around you. Spend time with your partner/spouse and family. 

Devote only one hour a day or on specific days of the week for promotions. Make sure you designate at least an hour a day where you only WRITE. Nothing else. No Internet, no chat, no Twitter, no promotions, nothing. Only write those tales your characters are dying to tell.

Don't commit to projects that will take you away from your ultimate goal of producing your next book. Not to say you can't do one, but realistically look at your schedule and see if you can devote time to it. If you can't give it your best shot, don't volunteer the time and energy you don't have.

Don't feel guilty about saying NO. You are not a machine. Even if you were, machines require routine maintenance to keep running in top order. You must take care of YOU above all else. Nothing else matters if you're not around to enjoy it.

I'm off to take my own advice. I may not be back here weekly now, but you will see me at least once a month with more advice from the trenches. When we meet again, I'll fill you in on how my new plan of balance is working out!

Until next time my friends,

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan and Tawny Savage make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.
Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

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If you'd like to share your experiences in the publishing world, please contact us about setting up a guest appearance. We'd love to hear from you!