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burn out - insecurity 22097728_sWelcome back to the burn out article series. This is part 4, but you can see the other articles here:

Today, I’d like to talk about another reason for burn out: insecurity. Let’s say you’ve laid the groundwork for your project. You’ve done due diligence, your research is good, and your plan of action is in place—or is it? Are these the steps you really should take, or have you missed something important? What if you get through the whole process and discover that something critical is missing? Are you going to feel and look like a fool?

These feelings are insecurity, plain and simple. And there’s a natural tendency to hesitate when feeling insecure. Then it all builds up, your deadline is fast approaching, your work is stalling, and it seems overwhelming. Burn out.

Celeste Jones, author of many successful romance novels and short stories, has this to say about burn out: I think we are often too hard on ourselves and instead of trying to browbeat ourselves out of a rut, we ought to be a little gentle with ourselves. Take some time off and stop beating yourself up. Maybe (gasp) take a break from social media if reading about what “everyone else” is getting done makes you feel inferior.

So how can you get over that insecurity? You can give up. (Oh, no!) That’s not your best choice if you actually want to accomplish something in the world. You can go over your steps again, and over them, and over them. No, that’s not your best bet either, because in the time it takes you to do that umpteenth check, you could be doing the work.

Not to get off track here, but I saw a baby walking with his dad and older sister in a parking lot the other day. He was maybe a year old and toddling along, holding his family’s hands, and was rubbery-kneed as he learned to progress. But he was chortling with glee; laughing like those baby steps were the greatest accomplishment he’d had thus far in his life. And in some respects they were.

Maybe we can learn something from this little child. When you run into burn out caused by insecurity and hesitation, take baby steps. Enjoy focusing on one piece of the process at a time. Some bits will be more fun than others, but as Mary Poppins said (I’m paraphrasing), make the job a game and snap, it’s done.

Eclipse of Her Heart author, Thianna D, remarks: For a writer, it is easy to mistake writer’s block and burnout, but they are very different things. Writer’s block can be conquered by pushing forward. Burnout needs you to take a step away. When you are trying to figure out which one it is, ask yourself this: Have I been feeling this coming on for a long time? If so, you are probably in burnout. Writer’s block always seems instant. The signs for burnout are there, we just tend to ignore them until it all gets too much. Then we need to walk away for a day, a week, or even a month, until we actually desire to write again.

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Another thing you can do is look back at previous accomplishments. You’ve done this task before, or something like it, and even if it’s new to you, it must be predicated on something. Examine your successes in this area and take pride in them. You can do it; you’ve achieved your goals before. Those victories are things that led you to this place, a place where yet another feat can be accomplished. It’s a place you wanted to be in or need to be in at this time of your life. Go forth and conquer, one step at a time.

So there you have it: another cause for burn out, and a couple of potential solutions. Other wonderful writers are offering some insight on how to conquer burn out as part of this series. I hope you’ll find some answers. Next time, our topic will be misbegotten goals and burn out.

Thanks for joining me here today.

8 Comments

  1. Great timing indeed. I’ve been working so hard on my WIP. One part of me says it’s almost ready and the other says no way. It probably will never be what I want it to be. I love this story though. I’m working through it. I think, lol. Thanks for the post. I think I’ll read it again. 🙂

  2. Went back and read the other parts. How did I miss this series? I must have been taking a break from social media to alleviate burnout. 🙂 Good series, Trish!

  3. I think insecurity can come from making comparisons to other authors and seeing one’s self as not doing as well or moving ahead as fast. But one never knows exactly how well another is doing or what sacrifices the other person has had to make to get there.

  4. Timely. Going through it now. Working to recover.

    • I’m sorry you’re struggling, Cora. I think we all go through it at one time or another, maybe multiple times through the course of our careers.

      I hope the article(s) helped you some. Thank you for commenting.

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