Do you ever feel burnt out and in need of pulling back from something for a bit? This is a hypothetical question, of course, as burnout seems to be a universal symptom of humanity—at least for most of us in modern day. It is for sure true for authors, and you may be surprised to discover that as a reader you can play an important role in helping us to recharge.
Recently, I’ve been sharing with my readers about beginning a self-imposed writing break. After my latest release last month, which was the seventh published project in about two years, my creative flame was as close to extinguished as possible without being snuffed out entirely. It was time for a break. I’m enjoying more reading time, brainstorming when an idea hits me, and spending time with readers like YOU who have similar interests. So far, it’s so nice.
When you feel burnt out, how do you recharge?
Who, if anyone, do you turn to for support?
While speaking with other CCR authors, I found I’m definitely not alone. Tara Grace Ericson shares, “I am definitely of the camp that needs to disengage from writing and refill my well (both creatively through bingeing shows and books, and mentally by checking other long-neglected things off my to-do list).” Shannon Taylor Vannatter quits writing to recharge. “I read, do craft projects, and watch romance movies. And pretty soon the stories start perking.” It’s nice to know we’re not alone in these sort of struggles.
Creatives like authors are often tentative to take breaks when the thing we’re needing a break from is, in even a small way, our bread and butter. What if readers forget about us? What if sales tank? What if we stop posting as frequently and our social media stats plummet?
That’s where YOU come in, sweet readers. Do you know just how powerful you are? Where family and friends often step in when life gets overwhelming to encourage and uplift, readers can similarly offer priceless support to weary authors.
Here are three easy ways you can help an author who may be fighting burnout.
- Send a message of appreciation to an author. Whether a blog comment, direct message, or email, simple notes go a long way to boosting an author’s morale. “I have been amazed at the understanding and grace given to me by readers,” Tara Grace said. “I know they are eagerly waiting the next book, but it’s nice to know they realize I’m also a person — not just a book production robot.”
- Engage with author’s posts and questions. One thing I’m trying to do during this “down time” is posting questions on social media that help me get to know readers, what books they’re enjoying, and what they might enjoy from me when I pick back up with writing. When you notice and engage with these posts, it helps so much!
- Keep reading and reviewing! When you notice a writer is taking a break, it’s a great time to peruse their backlist of books and maybe read one you’ve missed. A new review on a book that’s been out a few years is SO, SO, SO encouraging to us authors! Author Jaycee Weaver wants you to know that “reviews, talking about our books, getting excited about upcoming releases, and so on can help us combat burnout!”
Not long ago, after I shared with my newsletter subscribers that I’d be taking a writing break, a reader took a just a moment to email me. It read: “Your break is well deserved, but don’t take too long…I need more of your sweet, tender stories.” I printed this email and have pinned it above my desk so I’ll be reminded that someone will miss the stories I have to tell.
Each and every one of you encourage us daily with your comments on these posts. You give us feedback, inspire ideas, provide real-life anecdotes, and lend subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) support. You’ve become more than names on a screen. You’ve become valued, known readers. Friends.
I hope you know how special—and powerful—you are.
Do you have another way you’ve encourage writers over the years? As a reader, what’s your favorite way to show an author support?