How do you avoid burnout as a full-time writer?
I love writing, but I'm getting frustrated working with nitpicky editors. Short of blowing up or telling them off, what are some other ways to avoid getting fed up with the whole writing process?
Schedule, and stick to it! It's exceedingly important to take time off, no matter how tight your deadlines are. Generally, if I can't work yoga in at least a couple of times a week and a bit of time at my craft desk every evening, then I know I'm in danger of burnout. Decide how many hours a day you need to get your work done, focus only on your work during those hours, and then leave it behind no matter what. Easier said than done, I know, but absolutely critical if you want to keep your mind in good functioning order. I wrote a few suggestions in this hub:
http://wychic.hubpages.com/hub/Ways-to- … -from-Home
It's a little bit outdated in that now I'm working on finding that time off around full-time writing AND raising two kids...three kids by the end of the week, since the one I'm pregnant with was due four days ago. Sometimes it seems like more work trying to fit in the relaxation time than it would be to just plow through and do the work, but inevitably, if I give in and just work for hours and hours on end or sacrifice a weekend, I always regret it and end up with a paralyzed mind for a couple of days not long afterward.
As for the editors -- I think some just like to be picky, no matter what. About all we can do is try not to take their suggestions personally, grit teeth and turn in the darn revisions. At least, that's been my experience, I've only told off two editors so far and it's been in a way that they just gently got the message that they were being absurd. For example, I cited a book for my source in an article, and the editor sent back that she couldn't find the link to my source...so I wrote her back explaining the concept of a book. Maybe that all depends on how sensitive your editors are, and just how much it'd hurt you to lose that work .
I think it helps to just accept that editors have their reasons for being 'nitpicky'. When they 'correct' our work it's often for reasons of house style, SEO or personal preference. When they want something longer or shorter (even though you wrote to the word count they specified) it's just that they have more/less space to fill. When they want a heavy edit, it's just that they had a different vision for the project than you did. It happens. It's not personal. Work with them, and if they're particularly difficult, thank your lucky stars you only have to work with them on a project-by-project basis, not all day every day in an office setting.
I get a little intense about writing sometimes and I'll churn out a lot in a short period of time. When it's not raining, it's a slow trickle. On a regular day, I might write an article or two or look over what I've been working on.
It's important for me to do other things, so I go for at least 1 hour long dog walk a day to run around in the park. I also need time to read, but fortunately, I also work as an acquisitions editor (found it hunting for writing jobs!) and get to read all the time...just not my own books.
Couch time is key, too, and time to get my feet dirty in the garden. Oh, and I like to hand write my articles somewhere comfortable so I can focus, which is also very relaxing.
First thought was: take a long walk in the countryside and remind yourself of what really matters! Seriously though: presumably you write because you love it or you can't help it, right? (That's true for most of us.) So in addition to whatever you are writing for your editors, why not write a little something for yourself? Something you're not planning to get published; something you wouldn't usually write? It might reintroduce you to the joy of the process of writing! Good luck!
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