Writers burn out. Eliminating the distractions. Staying focused.

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I’ve been writing like a mad woman for over two years.  I have self published piles of books and kept up on a blog for over a year.  I’m starting to have some success.  I’m also fried.

I’m not just working on a writing career but I’m teaching myself to write as I go.  I’m self-educated as college didn’t do much for me but create some self-esteem issues and a high rate of drop out due to boredom.

Then there is my main job.  I’m a housewife and mother and recently we moved in an elder and I became her caregiver.  My newest hobby is urban farming and I’ve got 5 raised garden beds, nine fruit and citrus trees, container herb gardens, and five hens.  I’m also doing things the old fashioned and slower way such as hand washing dishes, hanging laundry out, sweeping, baking my own bread for the week, cooking from scratch.  Homeschooling.

I’m busy.

I’m finding that writing anything beyond a short blog is not happening these days.  The minute I start to get down to the writing business there is an interruption.  A diaper change, a meal or snack, floors that need sweeping and washing, bed making, laundry to be hung out, a doctors appointment for grannie.  Then there are needs and wants, daily conversing, world drama, keeping up with friends and family.

Perhaps I have too many charges now?  Or I’m burnt out?  I did write an awful lot these two years along with my duties of motherhood and housekeeping.  Did I mention buying a house for the first time this year?  A fixer-upper that had squatters residing in it?

I have no choice but to give into this writer’s block or burn out.  I have devoted the week to watching the last season of Downton Abby and doing deep fall cleaning, decluttering, and some library book reading.

I watch Bali’s family in India and those women live very differently.  The man goes to work and the women stay home and work together to raise the children, cook the meals, and clean.  There are usually a few people that live together.  Parents and their sons and their son’s wives.  Or sisters and a grandmother, maybe aunts.  The women have help.  Their homes are much more simple than ours being that they don’t have Walmart shopping sprees cluttering up their homes with junk.  The women don’t have outside interest.  It’s home and children and husband.  Period.

My life is children, husband, home, pets, hens, gardens, trees, grannie, writing of books and blogs, self-education.  The women in Bali’s village don’t drive or have cars.  I wish I didn’t at times.  I run errands to doctors, podiatrist, eye doctors, therapist.  This is new because of grannie.  We never use the doctor.  I don’t even take aspirin.  I am out and about far more than ever.  It used to be grocery and library.  I have never been to so many doctors offices and pharmacies.

I tried hanging a curtain between my office and the kitchen so I could write undisturbed in the morning when grannie goes for her morning coffee but now Sammy gets up early.  If grannie isn’t wanting to chat, Sam and Arjan have ideas they want to share…at all hours.

Oh well, my home is full and busy and that is far better than empty and dull.  Grannie helps with cooking and entertains the boys sometimes.  She just needs some friends to go do things with and talk endlessly too.

I have time for tea and chat, sure, but I just don’t want to these days.  I want to build things, write about things, grow things.  I’ve been talking all my life.  My godfather used to say I had a phone growing out of my ear.  I am tired of talking.  I’m not into drama either.  The world is full of it right now.  Fires and floods, earthquakes and hurricanes by the wagon full.  Are we surprised?  We’ve been talking climate change since the 70’s and only now that we are drowning and burning are we concerned?

I have outlawed the news in the house and Bali goes out to his man cave to exercise and watch all the news he can devour.  The local station has 3 hours of it now.  I guess repetition is necessary these days.  I watch Downton Abby and dream of having a lady’s maid.

I don’t do many social activities.  I have even stopped going to church.  It’s not out of a funk, it’s out of being tired, having a full house and friendly neighbors.  I have a nice balance and I just can’t do any more than that.  Time is golden and I am careful how and with whom I spend it.

I eliminate everything that isn’t important, necessary, and then positive and uplifting, or excitingly educating in matters I love like spiritual, writing, homemaking.

It’s important to choose what is important to one’s self and then focus on those things without fault.  It’s important to create a life of meaning and happiness for it’s a short time here and I don’t know if we return or not.

As for writing and being a homemaker and mother, I know that I have to line my priorities up and stay on the path.  I can’t be distracted by social events that bore me or chitty chat that is empty.  Sounds harsh I know and I know that grannie gives me the stink eye at times because she wants a girlfriend.  I have time for mothering, being a wife, and all that entails.  What is left is for me to stay happy.  What makes me happy, besides the boys, is gardening, writing, and Master Piece Theater.

I have had to be very strong in setting boundaries these days so that my beloved family doesn’t suck the life out of my very marrow.  I have to remind myself that I have dreams and needs as well and if I don’t stake out a claim on the wish world I will become bitter and then my family will suffer the consequences.

So, I make routines and schedules.  I have writing time where no one is to disturb me if they don’t want to incur some mood swing in the wrong direction.  I refuse to go to these churches that seem to have become more about members and money.  I find God and Spirit right there in my garden.  I seem to have a potluck at my house every few months or some neighbors over for dinner when I cook too much.  Every few months we visit our most valued friends because we love being with them and look forward to this.  I combine doctor visits with errands such as groceries and library.

Grannie is dating, going to a church she found and adores, and spending time with her family these days and it has given me a break.  My children have gone back to letting me have the mornings to write and sip my coffee with the seasonal pumpkin spice creamer.  It’s all in setting up habits and rituals and training everyone in the house to flow with them.

I am still in no mood to write but that is partly because it’s fiction I’m working on and that takes a lot of work.  Being imaginative is no easy task.  I may not be so into my story either.  Sometimes I begin a story with full drive and enthusiasm only to become bored with the plot and lose interest in my characters.  I’m beginning to think that you need to formulate the story first, do a storyboard as they do in script writing, do a rough sketch of the chapters and then sit down one day and write your brains out, to be less than poetic.

We’ll see.

 

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18 comments

  1. I would suggest giving yourself a ‘vacation’ from writing for a bit. Doesn’t have to be long, a week of just not writing at all should be plenty (yes, it will kill those of us who wait for your posts like cool water on a hot day, but we will survive). I mean, just look at all you have been through lately, with the new house, Bali’s immigration trouble, taking in an elder housemate (God bless you for that by the way), turning the house into a home, adopting chickens with PTSD, for crying out loud. Girl, if you took a stress quiz right now, the results would be ‘you are dead, you just haven’t fallen down yet’! I’m not an expert on this, but i have been through a lot of stress, and it will fry you like an egg in a tanning bed. You have reached a point in your writing where you are established, you have fans, your books are selling. Take a break for a bit. We love you, and we don’t want you sick from stress! Okay, ‘mother’ will back off now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe. I love your feed back and I always get a good laugh. Just remember, my post are a couple months in advance. I’ve been really slowing down and I did stop writing but none of you will ever feel it because I’ve got two months scheduled out. I feel great now but I’m just reading good books and playing with the boys. Also, Grannie is gone so much of the stress and work is gone and I have my home back. But that will be in an upcoming blog.:) So don’t worry ‘mother’ I’m great now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhh – Downton Abbey. I just started it back up again last night. Such a fun escape.

    Burn out’s burn out. It comes and goes. Just let it wash over you and then pass on.

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  3. I agrer with what Evelyn said some,go to a far off land in a cabin in the woods to write a book. I know your wanting to do more as,far as books than write about yourself maybe a little time away from your blog could be just the medicine you need. I read your posts daily and you will be missed your to well loved your fan base isn’t going anywhere I hope well grt a send off no matter waaah! I dont wamma,have katesingh.com dt’s lol take a break youve worked well and hard! I’ll always be here im addicted to your writing and friendship now!

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  4. Downtown Abby isnt on anymore here library still need to check there I ran in and got Anne of the Islands and forgot! Anne of Green Gables Thanksgiving day all day! I cant wait! Love that movie and the books! #oldfashion i love old!

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  5. I’m glad you are feeling better about the writing thing by the end of the post. We all can feel overwhelmed and burnout at times and we just need a break. Maybe you should get yourself a little tent to set up outside that can be your little get away cabin for writing!! I sometimes feel the same way about church and membership drives and money! Did you say Grannie is dating???

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    • I like the tent idea, although I’d have to have an extension cord for the laptop since it stays charged 5 minutes. It all worked out in the end. Grannie is a dater and that woman can’t even walk down the street.

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  6. I fully understand your last paragraph about abandoning a story idea. I’ve done it many times. I have found that your suggestion, of kind of rough sketching it first, definitely helps.
    I hope you find some concrete inspiration soon that you can really work off of!

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  7. I’ve never watched Downtown Abbey, but I’ve been looking for something to watch on Netflix, maybe I will try that tonight. I don’t watch TV, ever. We don’t even have any channels here, no satellite or cable TV. It gets lonely in the evenings once chores are done, so I will try tuning into Downtown Abbey and see if I like it! I also try to write fiction and quickly get bored with my characters and my plot…still working on that, for sure! Writing is WORK!

    Liked by 1 person

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