When it comes to burnout Authors are probably the last group of people you would think off! But the publishing industry has changed beyond recognition and the demands of a modern author are significantly more complex than they were a mere decade ago. A recent poll of over 2800 authors reviewed by BookViral showed that almost 37 percent had suffered from burnout in the last three years as a result of writing. Leaving them feeling emotionally exhausted and unable to write. For fiction authors in particular burnout impacted their ability to develop new titles or finish existing ones in progress. Leaving them drained of inspiration and frustrated.
Burnout is a problem large organizations have been grappling with for years through the introduction of wellness programs but when it comes down to the deliverables being an author is a solitary profession and that often means becoming disconnected from the outside world. Yes, authors might connect through social media but more often than not social media connections are part of a carefully thought out and strategically implemented marketing plan and leave little time for meaningful connections as they become increasingly focused on the metrics. How many likes a post gets, how many times it is shared etc. And when the metrics slip they find themselves working harder and harder to maintain them. Of course, there are other factors that contribute to burnout for an author but you get the idea. And the important thing is you recognise the symptoms.
The top four symptoms amongst the authors polled were Exhaustion, Mistakes, Depression and Irritability but what should an author do when they find themselves suffering from burnout. There’s plenty of unsubstantiated advice to be found through a quick web search but we think a more informed approach to avoiding burnout out in the first place is the best approach. Stulberg and Magness recommend re-centring on meaningfully satisfying internal factors like autonomy, craft, and connection — all of which can play a huge role in preventing burnout. As they state in their book The Passion Paradox, “burnout isn’t just about how people work, but also about why people work and what drives them.” That’s especially true of creatives whilst Trzeciak and Mazzarelli found that making human connections led to decreased rates of burnout amongst their target group.
If you are an author who has suffered from burnout and has some sage advice to share we would love to hear from you by leaving a comment below.