Self Care for Authors: How to Prevent Writer Burnout

We live in a culture where we’re considered productive if we work fourteen hours a day. Nobody bats an eye if we go to the office early and leave late or work through the weekends. We’re always on our phones. We never disconnect.

We’ve all read articles about successful people who get up at 4 AM, go to the gym, drink green smoothies, work ten hours, barely get any sleep, and then do it all over again. We set those kinds of goals for ourselves, and might even post about it on social media. If we don’t meet that completely unrealistic standard, we feel that we’re falling behind in our lives.

But where does that actually leave us?

Exhausted, depleted, unhappy, unfulfilled, and resentful – aka writer burnout.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we’ve been exploring ways that writers can stay mentally healthy, happy, and productive. Did you know that sleep and rest are just as important as work and productivity? If you take regular breaks, give yourself permission to rest, and ensure that you get enough sleep, you will actually accomplish more work in less time.

These tips will help you prevent writer burnout (or stop it in its tracks if you feel it about to hit you like a train):

Top 6 Tips to Prevent Writer Burnout

1. Take Regular Breaks

Schedule breaks in between your tasks for the day. If you give yourself an hour to get something done, it’ll be done in an hour. If you set out thirty minutes to do it, you can get it done within thirty minutes. Work expands to fill the time allotted. Set out specific times to work and to take breaks.

For example, consider using the Pomodoro Technique: you can set a timer (or use an online timer) to break up your work into more manageable chunks.

And when it’s break time, disconnect for a bit before resuming your work. With proper breaks, you’ll be more focused and engaged with the tasks ahead of you.

2. Exercise

Exercise can help jump-start your productivity, increase energy levels, and boost creativity.

If you’re a morning person, start your day with a HIIT class or a run. If you’d prefer to work out around lunch time, find a step class. So many people say, “I don’t have the time to work out.” But be honest with yourself: how much of that time do you spend watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram in bed?

Making the time to work out every day – even if just for twenty minutes – will make you more productive. You’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, and you won’t feel as sluggish throughout the day. Set realistic goals for yourself that you can actually meet.

3. Stay Hydrated

You might be one of those people who just can’t function until you’ve had coffee. Even if you need your espresso in the morning, have a glass of water first. You need the hydration to keep your brain sharp and focused throughout the day.

More than half of the time you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty. Have water before meals and you won’t be as tempted to snack. Drink water throughout the day and you’ll see an improvement in your concentration and energy levels.

4. Finish Your Work Day

If you set aside four hours per day to write, be sure to sign off for the day when you’ve finished those four hours. Close your laptop. Go for a fifteen minute walk to a coffee shop. Meet a friend at the park for a catch up, or take the dog out for a run.

This sends a signal to your body and your mind that work is over for the day, which is especially important for writers who work from home. Don’t check work emails or any messaging apps. The world won’t come to an end if you unplug at the end of the work day.  

5. Read

Ray Bradbury’s parents couldn’t afford to send him to university. So instead, he went to the library and read everything that he could. JK Rowling didn’t study English literature; she read French and Classics at Exeter University. The point is, you don’t need a degree in writing or literature to be an author. You just have to keep reading and writing.

We learn best through narrative and stories, and we remember stories. Reading expands your vocabulary, broadens your perspective, and helps you relax. Take time to read every day. It will make your writing better and it will help you have a more restful sleep.  

6. Streamline Your Author Business

For indie authors, writer burnout isn’t always a result of the actual writing process. Running an author business can also be a source of stress. You have to track sales across multiple sales channels, update your ebook on several platforms, manage marketing, and more. To streamline your author business and eliminate these obstacles, consider using a service like PublishDrive.

At PublishDrive, we understand that running an author business can be stressful, which is why we’ve developed tools to streamline nearly every part of the publishing process. You can convert your ebook for free, manage global ebook distribution to 400+ stores (including major retailers like Amazon), boost sales with built-in marketing tools, and view detailed sales data. Sign up for free to get started!

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