You might have noticed that the release date for Love on Commission has been pushed back a couple of weeks. I’m a small fry author, so there’s a good chance you haven’t noticed. You might have noticed I’ve also been way less active on social media recently, though I was never all that active to begin with.
I don’t have a smooth way to segue from that first paragraph to the reason I’m writing this blog post except to explain a little about what’s been happening with me.
Things were going along pretty well with the edits for this book, until they weren’t. All of a sudden I found myself staring at my computer and just not doing them. I’d sit down to work on the edits and end up on TikTok or playing a phone game. Sometimes I’d even end up doing an edit for a client during time I was supposed to be working on my own edits. Not because I was running behind with those edits but because I just wasn’t working on my own.
This might sound a little like writer’s block, but that’s not what it was. Put simply, I’ve found myself in what can only be described as pre-burnout. It’s not the first time this has happened to me in my life, but it’s the first time in my author career I’ve found myself having to deal with it.
If you’ve heard people talk about burnout it’s often in the really chronic sense where they basically can’t function at all or do any of the things they normally do. That’s why I think of this as pre-burnout because I’m not at that point yet. Guess what, I don’t want to get to that point. I want to keep living my life and enjoying the things I usually enjoy. Instead of forcing my way through edits that I just couldn’t deal with, I pushed back the release a couple of weeks to give myself a little breathing space.
First and foremost is my own health, but secondary to that and no less important, I don’t want to put out a book that isn’t ready. That’s not the type of author I want to be.
I’m okay. Really.
I’m trying to take things a little slower than normal. I’m watching more TV, reading more, sleeping more, and just trying to do things that I want to do rather than the things I need to do. It’s helping.
I’m going to keep doing that.
While I’ve been taking time, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what has brought me to this point of exhaustion. I couldn’t put it down to any one thing. It’s so many things just all happening at once.
A pandemic that’s been going on for 18 months. That’s a big part of it. There just haven’t been the same chances to fill my creative well so to speak. No chance to travel. No chance to get away from my house. I live in Australia where our borders have been kept quite locked down. Not just to outside visitors but even between the states. Right now, there are Covid issues in some of our states where they’ve been locked down for months, but where I live, we’re lucky. Things are almost business as usual aside from wearing masks. There are no community Covid cases in my state so I’m not terrified to leave my house or constantly worried about getting Covid. At the same time, I feel a little trapped here. The first Covid outbreaks happened a month or two before my wife and I were headed on a two week cruise that was supposed to be our honeymoon. That never happened. We’d also been planning a US trip for later in the year (nothing was booked, thankfully). Instead, the farthest we’ve gone in the last 18 months is to visit my wife’s grandparents who live two hours away from us which in Australia is not very far at all.
Then, there’s the unfortunate timing of my wife injuring her shoulder. At this stage, we’re not sure what’s happening with it. The doctor has her on an anti-inflammatory with instructions to not do anything strenuous. It hasn’t done much, so she’ll be back to the doctor to hopefully find out what’s causing it. In the meantime, strenuous activity includes most housework and cooking. We’ve always split our chores somewhat equally (she definitely does a little more than I do). Now, I’m trying to figure out how to deal with all of that.
I’ve tried to make things as easy as possible for myself. Focusing on the things that absolutely have to get done and letting the others go a little longer than we normally would. Rather than clothes getting folded and put away, they’re getting sorted into baskets so it’s easy to find what we need and I’m putting a few away when I have the energy.
We’ve definitely been eating a little more fast food than normal and that’s okay.
It probably doesn’t help that this is always a difficult time of year for me. Both of my grandmothers died around this time of year (one on the 17th of August and the other on September 11th). It’s been 18 and 19 years respectively, but it’s still a difficult time of year.
Right now, I’m just doing whatever I can handle in a day and that’s enough. As someone who is used to working hard and getting a lot done, that’s hard. Not doing it would be harder still. I don’t want to end up in a state of full burnout, so I don’t have a choice.
The point of this blog post if you’ve read this far, is twofold. First off, I hope you as readers will understand why it will take a couple of extra weeks to get Love on Commission in your hot little hands (it’s not coming out on September 9—my mum’s birthday).
And second, to remind you all (especially my author friends) that it’s okay to take a step back and take a break if you need it. Do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and happy and able to function.
PS: If you have any easy dinners for picky eaters, I need them!