When Writers Burn Out

Not flame out — that’s a different blog post. But burnout is a real thing, especially for writers who have to hit deadline after deadline in quick succession and then wind up wanting to set their writing device on fire.

Or is that just me? Maybe it’s just me. See, I spent the last four months of 2017 pretty much glued to my computer cranking out Lady of Thorns and Red Robin and the Huntsman, plus getting work done on Cross Current. After I uploaded Red Robin to Amazon on December 15, my brain said, “Okay, you’re done for the year. No writing until January 1. I mean it.”

And Lord, the idea appealed. So I actually enjoyed my Christmas/New Year break because I wasn’t getting up and immediately chaining myself to my writing desk. I cleaned, made cookies and fruitcake, and even dug out an old afghan project that I’d started in 2013 and worked on it while watching movies and TV shows. Bliss.

But then January rolled around and I started work on my first conteporary romcom, To My Muse … and ran into a problem. I couldn’t make myself stick to working the way I had with my other still. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was writing a romcom instead of a SF/fantasy/paranormal romance. I didn’t think so because I was enjoying what I was doing, but man, I just did not want to nail my butt to a chair anymore.

At that point I remembered that I had promised my BFF’s husband that I would make him a sterling silver and turquoise bracelet in memory of his grandmother. I headed out to the garage on a relatively warm day in February and set out the things I would need to make this piece, and promptly realized that 1) I’d never bezel set a stone before, 2) I needed some twisted wire and black guilder’s wax, and 3) I also didn’t know how to rivet leather for the wristband part.

Research time. So I went off and watched videos on bezel creation and setting (Thank you, Online Jewelry Academy and Professor John Ahr!), and wound up making these for practice:

To my surprise, a friend saw the first one and insisted on buying it. I didn’t like how I’d folded over the bezel wall or set the loops on the second one, so I reset it. A friend then bought THAT one. Wow.

Confident that I now had the hang of bezel making down, I got to work on the turquoise bracelet piece. If I do say so myself, it turned out pretty well.

But THEN I thought, “Well, hey, I have this nifty piece of Picasso marble that would make a great pendant, and I should try and set that. Ooh, and I can cut out the Stark sigil in back and call it Winterfell.” So I did.

A third friend saw it and bought it. Whoa.

At this point I realized that I was looking at a ginormous Amex bill at the beginning of March because I had paid for two website renewals and a membership to a local romance con. Since I’d already sold three pendants, I thought I would keep making more and hopefully sell them so that I could pay off said Amex bill (BTW, the blue aventurine and tiger’s eye pendants are still available at my Etsy store. The etched brass pendant was my first attempt at salt water etching, and will be going to a friend’s daughter as a “magic” amulet).

Suddenly it was March and I realized I hadn’t done any serious writing since late January. And my writing brain was starting to get itchy. So I got back to work on To My Muse and started the third novella in my Esposito County Shifters series, Shifter Woods: Snarl this week, and man, that felt good.

So, yeah, sometimes I need to take a little break from the writing, especially if I’ve been pushing myself for months at a time. But I promise you, I’ll always come back to it. And I may have some pretty sparklies to offer as well.

About nicolacameronwrites

Nicola Cameron has had some interesting adventures in her life -- ask her sometime about dressing up as Tietania, Queen of the Bondage Fairies. When not writing, she wrangles cats, makes dolls of dubious and questionable identity, and thanks almighty Cthulhu that she doesn’t have to work for a major telecommunications company any more (because there’s BDSM, and then there’s just plain torture...).

Posted on March 8, 2018, in Shifter Woods: Snarl, To My Muse and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I sometimes find I need a break from crocheting to prevent the same sort of burnout. I just started up with a D&D group and boy does it feel good to go kill, loot and main… all in game of course. And there is nothing quite like the itch to get back to the hook and yarn.

    • Yeah, it really seems to be important to a lot of writers that they have something else to do when they drain their writing batteries. A vacation, going for a hike, making stuff, whatever — as long as it doesn’t involve the writing muscles.

  2. An enlightening post. I’m glad to hear you’re able to balance things and find joy in both creating amazing jewelry AND writing fantastic stories!

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