Slow Progress, Writer’s Burn-Out, & Thinking of Quitting

Death's Lover, Children of Khaos Series, Stephannie Beman, fantasy romance, based on greek mythologyAs the title implies, my progress of Death’s Lover has been agonizingly slow. I’m about 4 chapters in, I’ve changed the beginning thrice, and I’m ready to throw out what I have.

It usually takes me two months to write a rough draft at the rather small word count of 2,000 words a day. Usually I have a hard time writing it if I don’t get it done in the first 30 days or less. Most of the time I never finish the end until I do the edits. I’m pretty sure it surprised Ruth with The Stagecoach Bride when I went from gun-hoe to get it done to I’ll finish the end when I edit it. 😀

Now that the kids are in school I hoped that my daily word counts would double and I could release 4 books a year instead of 1 to 2. Not happening 😦

For the last few weeks, I’m down to about 2,000 words a week. It’s sad to see my total word count for a day or 4 hours of work being only 400 words or 100 words an hour. At this rate I should have the book complete in about 38 weeks, and miss two book release deadlines.

Yikes! Urgh! and Hum-buggery!

This lack of writing was one of the reasons I took a break at the end of October. The common theory is that I’m Burned-Out. That I’m pushing my severely Introverted self way outside of my comfort zone at a rate that doesn’t allow for me to adapted or adjust. So the constant stream of challenges, while are fun for me when presented one at a time, aren’t just wearing me down and messing with my sleep, they are leading to several other problems.

I feel overworked and yet listing what I do every day, I’m not working that hard. I’ve had more demanding jobs then this in 15 years of working for a living. Most aren’t so mentally challenging.

Lack of writing has always lead to bouts of irritability and obsessive behavior. Which wouldn’t be so bad if I lived alone. Trying to explain to young kids that I don’t mean to snap at them and that it’s not their fault, doesn’t work and makes me feel worse. Also, hubby, as wonderful as he is, understand no more than the kids about mom’s weird mood swings.

Not being productivity annoys me on a whole another level. Rest? Vacation? Not something I do well. The fact that I haven’t had a non-working break years probably hasn’t helped. If I’m not writing, I’m doing some other work.

My motivation to write anything has been at an all time low for two months. I know where the story is going and I want to write it, but I’m almost too tired to do it. Anytime I sit down to work it drags and I feel like nothing but busy work has been accomplished.

Then there is the loss of meaning and passion I have always had with writing. Most of this is due to those few who find the smallest things to complain about. Who find a mistake and scream at me in an email that I should get an editor (I have 2 to 3 for each book), then get mad when I email them back. The demands for perfectionism from those that decide their rules of grammar are the only ones and don’t take into account that there are several rules for US, UK, and AUS English. That some mistakes aren’t mistakes but very deliberate.

Add the lack of monetary reward for my work, the need to make writing a professional career or find something else that pays the bills, and the feeling that I’m working on something that is fruitless, and it’s no wonder that I’m a second from quitting.

Why don’t I?

I heard someone ask it. Why don’t I quit? Why do I continue when it seems so hard?

Hope and dreams.

I hope to be a professional writer and make my dream of living off my writing income a possibility. Because I want to succeed. And the biggest one, I don’t have a choice where or not I write. If I don’t write, the dreams begin and there will be no sleep until I write. It happens every time.

The real question isn’t whether or not I write. It’s whether I publish what I write and share it with others. Whether or not there are enough people out there wanting to read the books I write. I can always hand out copies of my books to friends and family for Christmas every year. No one says I have to publish them. But if there are readers who enjoy my books it’s nice to know that they are looking forward to the next books and want the story. It would be worth writing for them…

4 thoughts on “Slow Progress, Writer’s Burn-Out, & Thinking of Quitting

  1. Every now and then I feel the way you do. It doesn’t get easier when you make a living at it either. In some ways, the pressure to keep producing only adds to the stress because suddenly you have a paycheck and a family to support to worry about. I’m not saying it’s not nice to make the money. It is. But it does add another layer of stress.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I force myself to sit down and write, even when I want to throw my computer at the wall because each word is painful. I find if I do this every day around the same time for a week, it gets easier. I don’t know if that would work for everyone, though. I only know it works for me.

    Why don’t you do that for a couple months? Write only for yourself and see how you feel about things.

    Sorry you feel this way. 😦

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    • Thanks for the support, Ruth. 😀 Making writing a career can be stressful by itself, adding everything else into the mix and it seems insurmountable at times. Hopefully this will all pass and I can get back to working at what I love.

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  2. There are always bad periods, especially when it’s hard to get enough sleep. Try to take naps if you can’t sleep at night; missing a portion of writing because of sleep is actually a good investment. Read and look at good movies to fill your inspiration supply, and stop bash yourself for a low writing count. You need this down period to develop as an author. Don’t push it and don’t tell yourself it’s the end – you’ll be fine in the end.

    I swear by naps (as you can see) and long walks, but take your time to gently prod things and find what works for you.

    Good luck! We’ve all been there!

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    • Howdy, Martha, thanks for your comments. I’ll have to try napping and some long walks. Maybe some more movie watching and book reading. Re-energizing one’s creativity is a very important task. LOL

      I wish low word count and burn-out were the only reason for wanting to quit. Those I can work through, even if the going is slow and I get a little down. Sadly, there is a lot more involved in the matter then I didn’t want to go into. Hopefully, it too will resolve itself in time. 🙂

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