Wednesday, August 5, 2020

IWSG: Recovering from Writer Burnout

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. This month you get two posts in one: It's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop AND it's the blog tour for Chrys Fey's Keep Writing with Fey

The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey! Please check out their posts and others in the IWSG blog hop when you finish here!

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When writer's burnout hit me, it came as a real shock. Up until that moment, writing had been how I coped with other kinds of burnout, how I found my fun and kept in contact with my creative spark. While I had felt burnt out in many other aspects of my life (parenting, teaching, housekeeping, adulting) I had *never* lost the joy in writing. But that's exactly what happened to me in 2018. 

The direct cause was publisher trouble. I won't rehash the details here, but you can read about it in this old blog post if you're interested. Other causes were more internal--I'd put a lot of pressure on myself to produce a book every year, and I'd done it, releasing a book in 2015, 2016, and 2017. But come 2018, I faltered, my confidence shaken.  

I felt exhausted at a soul level. I had to fight anger and pessimism within myself as never before--I am usually, by nature, an optimist with a good layer of scotch guard that lets bad moments wash over me without sticking. But I took any small setback to heart, and started to feel like I'd overestimated myself. The self-talk got ugly and damaging sometimes. Doubt is mean. 

I tried a lot of things during this time:
  • pomodoros instead of word count to track my progress
  • crying
  • switching up my projects often
  • going for more walks
  • taking a hiatus from my critique group
  • coloring
  • journaling
  • chocolate
  • doing more "play writing" in the form of writing prompts
Despite my good fortune in making a relatively smooth transition from one publisher to another, I felt like my writing career had barely gotten started and then got the wind kicked out of it, I felt desperate to make progress…and we all know how attractive desperation is. 

Still, I did start to come out of it after a few months. 

The most important thing I did was to talk to other writers, sharing what I was feeling and listening to
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their stories and advice in turn. Across the board, they assured me that everything I was feeling was normal, that burnout happens even in work that brings you joy. They told me about what they liked about my work, reassuring me that my work had value and interest to the world. 

In short, they were good friends. Offering me counsel, support, a listening ear, and chocolate, in whatever proportions were needed. They cared about me and pulled me through to the other side. They reminded me to give myself the patience, grace, and compassion I would have offered to anyone else in the same situation. 

One of those writing friends was Chrys Fey. And now she's collected some of her experiences and advice on coming back from burnout in a new book!  

Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:


        Writer's block


        Writer's burnout

        What a writer doesn’t need to succeed

        Finding creativity boosts


With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love - writing.





Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo




Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips on how to reverse writer’s burnout.


  1. Samantha, I feel your pain!! A publisher change up before I went self-pub knocked the wind and the inspiration from me. If not for my amazing critique group getting tired of my moaning, I'd never have written the books of my heart. Chrys's book is one I'll definitely recommend for those who don't have that support system. Write on!!

  2. It's hard when we have changes like you went through with your publisher. That was a lot of pressure to publish one book a year. There's no way I could do that right now.

    Glad you found people who helped you realize that you're not alone in your feelings. I've found friends like that too, and it's helped.

  3. Doubt really can be cruel.

    Walking and coloring are two of my go-to activities whenever I just need to get away from a project for a little while.

    1. I love both, too, though I can only color for a little while before it hurts (arthritis).

  4. I'm so sorry you went through that, Samantha. That's really tough.

    I beat myself up a lot--I'm no where near where I wanted to be at this age, and it is frustrating. I don't really have a solution, other than to keep trying. It's only those who give up entirely who truly fail (unless the giving up means they found something that suits them better and they're happy--then it's a win).

    1. Yeah. It's hard when you've set expectations for yourself. It's interesting how so many of us tie them to age.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

    I am glad that I could be there for you as a writing friend. <3

    Burnout happens even in work that brings you joy. <--- Absolutely. It happens, and there's no shame in it.

    Thank you so much for participating in my blog hop!

    1. Thanks for the invitation to participate. And Happy Book Birthday!

  6. It's great that you found that kind of support among other writers. I'm glad I joined the IWSG just for this reason.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! That's so wonderful how you found such great support from your writer friends.
    Chris' book sounds awesome!

  8. I really have been fortunate in my writing friends.

  9. Glad you were able to come out of your burnout. And that you had support from your writer friends. Wish I had someone to go to when I experienced burnout for the first time in college. But a professor then advised me to write backwards which actually helped.

  10. That is something to remember! Though burnout might haunt us, the joy of writing will always be there. Thank you! <3

  11. Thanks for sharing your story. Any type of change can add stress to your life but changing publishers souds like moving into a new house. I'd rather not. I'm glad you were able to work through your burnout and had a lot of support along the way.