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The Writer’s Guide to Beating Burnout: 7 Causes of Author Burnout and How to Avoid Them

Publishing a book provides thought leaders with countless opportunities, but it can also be exhausting. Beyond conceptualizing your book and finalizing the manuscript itself, you’ll spend time and mental energy reviewing cover designs and test layouts, brainstorming marketing strategies and ways to leverage your network effectively, and participating in a variety of book publicity opportunities and events. 

Burnout happens to even the most accomplished and experienced authors, and it’s easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed while navigating your competing priorities. That’s why it’s crucial you find ways to stay motivated, focused, and energized while working on a long-term project like a book. 

There are numerous factors that can lead authors to experience burnout. In the following sections, we will explore seven of these contributing factors and provide a corresponding solution for each one.

  1. Excessive workload

    Writing is often a time-consuming process, and many authors struggle to keep up with the demands of creating new content on a regular basis.

    Solution: Learn to say no
    It’s okay to turn down opportunities that are not aligned with your goals or take away from your priorities. Focus on what you can realistically handle and what will move the needle for your work.

  1. Tight deadlines

    Deadlines are a routine part of the publishing experience, but they can also weigh heavily on an author’s mind, creating mental roadblocks that result in high-stress schedules.

    Solution: Set realistic goals
    To improve your productivity, practice time management. Daily word count targets, a writing and editing schedule, and dedicated windows for media interviews will help you make progress without adding unnecessary stress.

  1. The constant pressure to succeed

    From publishing to publicity, the world of books is competitive. Authors often put undue pressure on themselves to find immediate success with their latest release or secure the highest profile media coverage possible at every turn.

    Solution: Focus on what you can control
    No matter how hard you work or plan, there will always be things outside of your control during the publishing process. Keep your eye on what you can directly influence, and rely on your partners and resources to set you up for success.

  1. Lack of support 

    It’s easy for authors to isolate themselves from their support system and peers, especially while writing the first draft of their manuscript or conducting research.

    Solution: Lean on your network
    Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support and guidance. Your contacts, fellow authors, and the publishing community can help you cope with the demands of writing or promoting your book and might help you make other professional connections that will lessen your workload.

  1. Creative blocks

    Creative blocks can be a significant contributor to author burnout, resulting in a lack of motivation and frustration. Without inspiration, authors may find themselves struggling to generate new ideas and meet the demands of their work, leading to stress and overwhelm.

    Solution: Seek out inspiration
    Find inspiration from other sources, such as books from other thought leaders, articles in media outlets you’d love to be featured in, podcasts you dream of appearing on, or TED Talks, to keep your creativity and motivation levels high.

  1. Limited time for self-care

    With so much focus on writing and meeting deadlines, it can be difficult for authors to make time for self-care activities, like exercise, relaxation, and socializing.

    Solution: Establish boundaries and prioritize self-care
    Set aside time for intentional activities that help you recharge and take care of your physical and mental health. Exercise, meditation, and hobbies allow you to step away from your computer, take a break from the publishing process, and come back to your book with a fresh perspective.

  1. Stress and overwhelm

    Publishing a book requires authors to navigate a complex and often unfamiliar landscape of editors, ghostwriters, publishers, marketing professionals, and others. This can be overwhelming, especially for first-time authors who are trying to learn the ropes while also managing the demands of writing and promotion.

    Solution: Practice gratitude
    Remember why you started writing in the first place, and focus on the positive aspects, like the opportunity to create and share your big ideas with others.

Final Thoughts: Overcoming Author Burnout and Staying Motivated

Burnout can happen to any author—no matter where they are on their publishing journey. The most important thing you can do is prioritize yourself and remain open to finding new, manageable ways to stay on track with your book. 

Have another suggestion for authors experiencing burnout? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment or share how you avoid author burnout with us on social media. 

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