Dear writer, I know what you're feeling right now…
Not because I know something about you personally. Not because I'm spying on you, or I've re-programmed your Alexa or Siri to dictate your conversations to me and keep them on my hard drive. No. I know what you're feeling, because it's the same thing we're all feeling right now.
Chances are good, if this title caught your eye, you're tired, frustrated, overwhelmed… maybe even angry.
How do I know this?
Because I have coached thousands of writers. Six- and seven-figure authors, major award winners, midlisters, and new authors alike. And there are patterns to what writers think and feel about our careers and our books. Those patterns are why I'm here, writing to you.
If you are overwhelmed, tired, frustrated with your career or your sales… if you're stuck or stalled… come and join me inside these pages, and we'll talk about why.
Why is key.
We've got this. Let's get you out of this pit.
Dear Writer, Are You in Burn Out? is a comprehensive guide to writer's burnout, including the signs to watch for, how affects it people differently, and what we can take to prevent it. Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Becca Syme holds a master's degree in her field as well as fourteen years of experience in coaching for success. Syme helps authors learn how to lean into their strengths, discovering the way they work best. – Melissa Snark
"Becca reminds us of our similarities and differences and how they relate to burnout and recovery, for example, different things fill different people's creative stores. The information in this book is enlightening and practical. I look forward to Becca's next installment in her "Dear Writer" series."– Susan J. (Vine Voice)
"I was in burnout long before I found Becca's Quitcast series on YouTube, but didn't realize where I was, or know what to do about it. Reading this book reinforced all the "Ah-ha!" moments I had when watching the videos, and added a few more. This is a keeper for me, one I know I will revisit time and again."– Margaret
"I highly recommend this for writer's who can't seem to get on track with their writing – or stay on track. You could be suffering from burnout, and Syme shows you the way back from the pit."– Sharon L Hughson
I was recently at a major national writing conference. More than 2000 writers gathered in New York City to learn about writing. I had one-on-one coaching appointments lined up for most of the conference, and one after another, I met with authors who were in burnout.
This was abnormal. I'd been getting more and more clients and students coming to me because they were burned out, in active burnout, or in recovery, but it wasn't "everyone". I knew it was a pattern, I'd been warning everyone that this was coming, trying to preach a message of self-care and recharging. Encouraging people to stay off social media and to be with their own thoughts more.
But I'd never seen anything quite like this. So I started paying attention in workshops, in the elevators, in the restaurants and coffee shops.
Everyone just seemed on edge.
Not about big picture stuff—we honestly only have so much energy to expend, personally, on worrying about big-picture stuff. No one was worried about the state of the industry. Everyone was worried about their own problems.
But it was the proliferation of individual worries that seemed to be hitting a fever pitch. Will I publish, will I sell, will I fail, will I get another contract, will I ever write another book, will my fans turn on me, will I be able to slow down. All of those conversations came up again and again.
And this isn't even mentioning all of the individual issues that seemed to be cropping up. People in crisis at home. People having a hard time, financially. People uncertain of their personal future or their family's future. This level of uncertainty has a quality. A texture in the air.
At this conference, the air was saturated with it.
People are scared.
Not for their lives—not most of them, anyway—but scared of the existential disappointment that happens when you put all of your hopes and dreams into something, and get crushed. Sure, some people were scared for their lives or their financial futures. But it was a rare person to come across who didn't have some kind of aura of anxiety around them.
There were highly introverted and empathetic writers who literally spent the entire conference in their rooms, they couldn't handle the emotion. I met with a few of them and we talked about it, just so I could be clear about what I was feeling (because I'm not as empathetic or introverted as they are), and it was consistent.
Everyone is afraid of losing what they have or not getting what they want. And that fear is causing a mushroom cloud of other fears, which are leading us to make decisions that are not good for us, and for sure not good for the industry. I had already been doing a series of videos on my YouTube channel about the topic of burnout, just because there had been so many requests for it. And then, out of that came requests for even more information.
Thus, this book was born.
I hadn't planned to write a book on burnout because I've always felt like it was such a personal process, and really needed either coaching or (in most cases) therapy to handle the issues that come up.
So, this book is not intended to be a diagnostic tool. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice, nor to give medical advice. You should not consider me to be a medical doctor or listen to me the way you would listen to a medical doctor. In fact, if you are afraid you're in burnout, stop reading this Introduction, and go see a medical doctor or a therapist.
But if you are not sure, or you're just looking for more information or solidarity, please keep turning pages. It's my hope to shed a little light on this process I've been through and seen other people through so many times.
It's not a pretty process. I hope you'll never see the inside of it. But it's necessary for us, as an industry right now.
We need to understand what it looks like to burn out. And I hope that by the end of this book, you'll be able to answer the question this book title asks.
Dear Writer, Are You In Burnout?