Ep.08: Burnout and Balance, part 2

The second part of our exploration of burnout covers a lot of ground, but is focused on ways to find balance in your creative life in order to combat (or simply avoid!) burnout. Melody, A Scout continues her exploration of the season of Summer as a metaphor and spiritual tool for finding that balance, while Gina Hogan Edwards delves into how such things as perfectionism and imposter syndrome contribute to creative burnout. KimBoo talks about the importance of community as she has experienced it in fanfiction circles. 

Whatever your current situation is, we hope this episode will give you some guidance or at least will help you feel less alone in your creative journey! 

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Ep.08: Burnout and Balance, Part 2 – TRANSCRIPT

Dave Hogan, Gina’s Pop
0:02
Welcome to Around the Writer’s Table, a podcast focusing on the crossroads of creativity, craft, and conscious living for writers of all ages and backgrounds. Your hosts are Gina, Melody, and KimBoo, three close friends and women of a certain age, who bring to the table their eclectic backgrounds and unique perspectives on the trials, tribulations, and the joys of writing. So pull up a chair and get comfortable here around the writer’s table.

Gina Hogan Edwards
0:43
Hello, everybody, welcome to Around the Writer’s Table. This is Gina Hogan Edwards and I am here today with my co-hosts: Melody, A Scout. Melody helps her clients find their sense of home by restoring balance and harmony to their lives through plant spirit medicine and her book Soul of the Seasons. I’m also here with KimBoo York. She’s a romance novelist and a former project manager who helps writers and solopreneurs find time, mojo, and motivation to create. Good morning, where we are right now, ladies.

KimBoo York
1:22
You’re in a different morning than we are because you’re like one time zone over because you’ve been traveling. So yeah, but good morning. Good morning.

Melody, A Scout
1:30
Good morning.

Gina
1:32
Always wonderful to be with you, ladies. And we are revisiting a topic that we began the last time because there’s so much to talk about. We discovered in our last episode, we talked about how we wear lots of hats. Actually, I think we determined we wear lots of capes as superheroes, and sometimes we wear so many capes that they wear us down. Sometimes we can’t change from one cape to the next fast enough. Or for various reasons we experience burnout. So that’s what we talked about last time, and we discovered that so many people we know – it came to our attention – are experiencing burnout that we needed to do two episodes on it. So here we are. The second episode on burnout. Last time, each one of us talked about what burnout looks like for us. There were some similarities. There were a few differences. I know for me, it’s sort of this exhausting full-body vibration. KimBoo, you talked about the Sargasso Sea.

KimBoo
2:44
Yeah. My least favorite place to be.

Gina
2:47
Yeah, fighting through that seaweed. I think you mentioned something about not getting anywhere, even though you’re trying so hard. And then, Melody, you equated that to waiting through potato salad.

Melody
3:02
Oh, yeah.

Gina
3:06
You know, that makes us chuckle but I get that. I understand that feeling. We also talked about how, unfortunately, sometimes burnout begins before we actually recognize that it’s started. Symptoms: brain fog, low energy, a loss of passion. And a lot of times when we are in that sort of state, it makes it impossible for us to write.

We did touch on a couple of things that you can do when you are in the state of burnout, like journaling, creative crossover. We talked about taking a media fast, getting into nature. So those are some of the things that each of us practices when we know that we’re getting into burnout. 

But we also recognize that we are more likely, when we’re so busy on that hamster wheel, we are much more likely to forget to take care of ourselves. So that led us into our discussion with Melody about the season of Summer. So we’ve been covering the seasons with Melody, as she presents them in her marvelous book Soul of the Seasons. And this book shows us how the outer landscape has so much to teach us about our inner landscapes, that the seasons of life have wisdom within them to support us in navigating our lives. 

So we started that conversation the last time and we’re going to continue it now because we realized that it was not over, that there’s so much more. By the time that listeners, by the time you all hear this, you might actually be experiencing a Fall season, depending on where you are in your physical world. 

But the seasons interact and they support each other. So, Melody is going to tell us a little bit more about that. We’re going to talk some more about the Summer season and what it looks like in our general lives and also in our writing lives. So, Melody, I’m going to pass it off to you.

Melody
5:09
Thank you, Gina. Well, you know, this subject of burnout, which we are now doing in two parts, grew out of our discussion in episode six of our podcast on the season of Summer. And because burnout is a byproduct, let’s say part of an imbalance in the season of Summer. 

So what does balanced Summer look like? In my book, I talk about this. And in the season of Summer, there’s a lot going on. Things are coming into fruition, but it’s also the time for laughter and joy and play. It’s a time for connectedness and community. This is when we bring our visions of our work into fruition. And it is a season of genuine warmth. It’s a time to rely on our community for support and guidance. So that is all the healthy balanced signals of a good Summer season.

As we know, and I can’t tell you how many podcasts and news stories and other things I have heard on the subject of burnout just since we made our last podcast.

KimBoo
6:35
It’s everywhere. It’s been around.

Melody
6:38
It’s an epidemic. I don’t hardly know anyone who hasn’t experienced it recently without some sort of, of the level of burnout in their life. So…

KimBoo
Same.

Melody
And we want to tap into those, the healthy passion for our work. In order to do that, we must recognize when we’re out of balance, as well. So I wondered, KimBoo, if you wanted to talk a little bit about what imbalance looks like.

KimBoo
7:16
Sure. And obviously, this is coming from your book and your work. And it’s a convenient list to reference. I think we’ll probably be including it on our webpage, as part of it on the webpage itself, as well as a worksheet that we’re going to be having. I know, Melody, you’ve written some exercises that people can do. And I think using this balanced/imbalanced. Did we include this on the previous worksheet?

Melody
7:43
We did. Yeah, it’s probably also on the one for Summer. And I would say, I would encourage our listeners, if you haven’t already listened to the podcast on Summer, to go back and listen to that. That’ll help a lot of what we’re talking about today make sense. Yeah.

Gina
8:00
Episode Six, I believe.

KimBoo
8:03
Yes, that was summer. Yeah. Okay. So this is basically me just reading that off. And they may not all resonate with you, when you’re listening to this list, but just try to look for the pattern behind some of these things. An imbalance Summer can look like an inability to oversee projects or to bring them to fruition. There’s a lot of hanging on to things and not getting things done. There is a lack of inappropriate expressions of joy. So that maybe, you know, it’s kind of like TMI type of thing, you know. It’s like, maybe a little too hyper, maybe not quite balanced. Loneliness or fear of being alone. Sadness and depression. And that’s one that I deal with a lot. Need to control, that micro-managing type of control. Not the sense of trying to… a healthy control of just saying, “This is what my schedule is,” it’s like, you’ve got to control every little thing and trying to control maybe things that you actually don’t have control over, like the weather, or

Gina
9:06
Stop looking at me.

KimBoo
9:09
Yeah, I don’t know who I’m talking about here. Lack of passion. Now, that’s definitely one of mine. It kind of leads back to the depression in this, where it’s just, like, I’ve just lost all the oomph for everything I’m trying to do. It’s a dangerous one for me. Thoughts and actions that are chaotic. Kind of going the opposite of trying to over-control is to just letting loose and not controlling anything. Just give it all up and just being all over the place. Micro-management again, back to that need to control because you feel out of control of the situation. And also the lack of feeling of authority over your work. 

And this one was really interesting to me, Melody, seeing it on this list, because I don’t think people think of it that way. They feel a disassociation with their work, but it’s that feeling of lack of authority, and I really liked how you put that on the list because it’s, like. “It’s my Project. It’s my thing,” and yet that chaos of feeling out of control and having no control of it. It’s not yours anymore. It’s not something you have authority over.

Gina
10:10
I’m curious too. Can I ask a question about that one? Because I find that one very intriguing too. Is that related in some way to imposter syndrome?

Melody
10:21
Tell me more about that.

Gina
10:24
Well, you know, with imposter syndrome, an individual has this knowledge, this body of work, maybe, but they have the feeling that someone is going to call them out that they really don’t know what they’re talking about. And so to me, that’s that sort of sense of authority over their work is in jeopardy when they are having those feelings of imposter syndrome, you know, that idea that they really are in control of, of themselves and the work that they put out there, and that they are an authority, if you will, or an expert. And so having imposter syndrome makes them doubt that, makes them believe that somebody is gonna say, “Hey, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You really don’t know what you’re doing.” So I just wonder if there’s a relationship.

Melody
11:12
I hadn’t thought about it in those terms. But now that you mentioned that, I see a direct correlation between that because when you’re healthy and balanced, in Summer, you have the confidence. You know how to manage things. You know when to delegate. You know when to be specific. Your leadership qualities are very balanced and appropriate. And I sure can see where when we get off track, become imbalanced, we start to become scattered and chaotic and feel disconnected from our work. We are lacking authority in what – it seems odd to refer to it in this term – but the thing we created, then we feel like, “I don’t have any input into this.” Or my input  – this is what happened with me sometimes – my input seems almost… I guess a word I would use is impotent. Like I don’t really have the ability to carry my vision out, that fun, exciting vision I saw in springtime.

KimBoo
12:31
That does sound like a lot like imposter syndrome. It’s something that can be a real element to that.

Gina
12:38
And I would think that this would be a factor that could prevent writers from putting their work out there. Because they don’t feel like they have the authority. It goes back to that what I hear from a lot of writers is like, “Who would want to hear what I have to say or read what I have to write. Who cares?” It may be something I’m interested in, or something that I want to write about, but who really cares? I just see a relationship there. 

KimBoo
13:07
Definitely, I think. That could just be added to the list. Imposter syndrome. That sounds like part of the imbalance. That really makes sense to me.

Melody
13:17
Yeah, or imposter syndrome arises out of this imbalance. So, to me, leadership, balanced leadership, is a real challenge right now, in our culture and within ourselves. So that all makes sense to me.

Gina
13:42
Thank you for that little aside. I know that wasn’t where we were going, but it was just such a strong pull for me when KimBoo read that off our list, that lack of feeling of authority, the first thing I thought of was imposter syndrome. So I appreciate you going down that rabbit hole with me. Thank you.

KimBoo
14:00
This is gonna be another long episode, y’all. Now that we’ve gone over that list, I want to hand it back to Melody to talk about how balancing Summer comes into play. We’ve got these elements that we can identify as the imbalance, so what are we doing to promote balance?

Melody
14:23
First I want to say, if you recognize any of these imbalances in yourself, it’s a signal to come back into balance. And what can we do? First, you need to recognize through your body, through your work habits, through your emotions and what you’re feeling inside, what’s going on and be self aware. Because if you are not looking at that, if you’re pushing that away, you can’t correct an imbalance that you deny exists. So then we need to first recognize where we need to make adjustments. And I would say, first of all, pay attention to your body and your work habits, and living a passionate, juicy life, inside and outside your writing is a great way…

KimBoo
15:20
I love the way you say that: passionate, juicy life.

Melody
15:25
Yeah, baby. Depending on your level of burnout, you may need to focus only on what’s absolutely necessary for you to proceed with your project and let other project and ideas, and even personal matters, to go on the back burner for a while, so you can refocus. My brain gets on overload when I’m trying to keep so many things in the air, the balls in the air at the same time. And nothing gets done well when I do that. So slow things down, limit and/or prioritize the number of projects you’re working on at any one time. Some people can manage a lot of projects and multitask. I will say probably not as well as if they were more streamlined and focused on one or two projects that were manageable at the time.

KimBoo
16:27
Yeah, people always over overestimate their ability to multitask. Yes, not a thing.

Melody
16:34
Yes. We need to take frequent breaks and occasionally extended periods of rest, and that includes from our writing. That’s good to take in any area of our life. Rest helps us balance it out. It helps us reconnect with our joy and our calm and our mind’s ability to process information. 

We can maintain and help maintain balance through close relationships and the time with our community. Community can support us in ways – my teacher was fond of saying, “We’re not meant to heal alone. We’re not meant to love alone.” And I think that goes with any project and process. You’re not meant to do it alone. There’s certain parts you have to do alone. No one can write your work for you. But your community can support you, people who understand you and get what you’re going through. So connecting yourself with your relationships and community.

Immersing yourself in beauty, I think helps transform. It reminds us what’s really important, what’s valuable. It gives the mind a break, allows it to reset. 

And to focus on gratitude for what you have already done. I’m one that’s guilty of forgetting to do this. You know, when Gina was editing my book, she was a great one at reminding me to celebrate at each stage. And how important that – take a moment. Give yourself a minute. Celebrate what you’ve already done. 

And again, take time for self care. And this is in all areas of your life, whatever self care looks like for you. 

I would like to know from you, either you or actually both of you, what steps you take in dealing with your burnout. KimBoo?

KimBoo
18:39
Ah, you called me first. Trying to sit at the back of the class so you wouldn’t notice me. Well, in our last episode, we talked a little bit about some of the tactics that I’ve used. But I was really caught by your comment here of surrounding yourself with beauty and giving yourself, allowing yourself to enjoy the accomplishments that you do have. 

And I know you asked me: what do I do about burnout? But it just made me realize how hard that is for me to do when I’m in burnout. And I think it almost kind of goes back to the feelings of inadequacy that we were talking about just a few minutes ago in relation to imposter syndrome and Summer being out of balance and trying to get the need to control. I really remove myself from those situations where I can enjoy beauty or I can surround myself with beautiful things or things that I appreciate, because I don’t feel like I’m deserving because I’m not producing. I’m not creating. I’m not finishing the book. I’m not writing, selling something, or putting it out there in the world. 

And so, as we’re going over this list, it’s making me realize that one of the things that I do is both good and bad. I don’t really have an endpoint for this, but rather just bring it up as a factor of imbalance, which is that I turtle. I withdraw. On one hand, I find that very good, like, you know, okay, stop writing for a while. Stop, stop pushing yourself in these directions. Start doing those things. But then again, I can push it too far and then completely divorce myself from the things that I love and the things that bring me joy and the things that I find beauty in, and the things that I find pleasure in. 

And I can’t. I wish I could say, “Well, this is how I deal with burnout.” But I think for me, it’s really kind of trying to walk that – trying to think of a positive analogy that isn’t like walking the tightrope, and we’re gonna fall down at any moment. That’s not really what I’m saying. It’s finding the balance. I think when we’re talking about imbalance, that’s really what it is. I’m going too far, one way or the other, and I’m trying to find that balance again. And sometimes it’s like tacking on a ship. You just go back and forth, and back and forth, until you finally zoom back into where that balance is. 

I feel like that was a little discombobulated, but I was really, I was really caught out by that particular phrase that you were talking about: look for beauty. And that’s something I don’t do when I’m burnt out and feeling fatigued and exhausted and disappointed in myself.

Gina
21:27
And yet, that’s exactly something that could help.

KimBoo
21:32
It’s so important. It really is.

Melody
21:35
And I totally get what you’re saying, because I have that tendency too. And when does rest become withdrawal? 

KimBoo
Yes, exactly. Yeah. 

Melody
Because withdrawal, disconnecting is imbalance. Rest is balance, and healing and recovery. And just, it is like tacking a ship. It’s not the same each time. It’s different for each circumstance. Like you, I need to be aware of my tendency towards sadness and depression and notice and recognize those symptoms, and then do the thing that I hate the most. And that is: ask for help. And connect with my community. And I have to say, the reason we are here talking on this podcast today is because the three of us made appointments to get together regularly and talk about the craft of writing and other things. And it sparked this beautiful journey we’re on now here together. So, Gina, how do you… 

KimBoo
Yeah, Gina.

Gina
22:54
Quit pointing your finger at me.

KimBoo
22:56
Our listeners can’t see it, but I’m pointing at the screen.

Gina
23:03
I had a lightbulb moment this week, because I was thinking about us preparing for this episode and something that I realized is that before I can answer the question What do you do when you’re burnt out? I have to answer the question of What has caused you to burn out? And the AHA that that led me to is recognizing that I have two different types of burnout. 

One is when I am doing things on a regular basis that are not in alignment with my values or my vision or the way that I want to be in this world. So that’s one kind of burnout for me. Because you can’t sustain that when you’re not in alignment with yourself. 

The other kind of burnout is when I am, I tend to be – just ask my husband – I am an all-in kind of person, and it’s like when I start something, I’m micro-focused. And I absolutely love the work that I do, and so I will overwork myself toward that passion. And it is not an exhaustion or a burnout from doing things that I don’t love. It is an exhaustion and burnout from doing too much of the things that I love to do without having the balance. 

And so the things that I might do for one type of burnout, that burnout where I’m not in alignment, are typically different than the things that I do when I’m burnout because I’m just doing too much of what I love. 

When I’m doing too much of what I love, sometimes just a little time away can be all that I need. Just a little bit of a break, you know, maybe going on a short vacation or just spending a few days reading fiction or doing something that’s not related to the the work that I do in the world.

When I am burnt out because I am not in alignment with my values or my mission, or the way that I want to be, that is a time when I need a lot of self-reflection. I mentioned in the last episode that a lot of times when I’m burned out, I will turn to journaling. And that is definitely when I need to journal. Because I need to figure out what I’m thinking and why I have gone the path that I’ve gone. How did I get out of alignment? And what is it going to take for me to get back into alignment,

Melody
25:46
You bring up a really valid point, Gina, about identifying at least a major source of where your burnout has occurred. You know, we can get burnout from imbalance in any season, not just Summer, because one imbalance leads to another, the longer it goes unchecked. So how to determine that may take a little detective work. And you’ve been working with this for a while, Gina. So you’re starting to observe your patterns. 

And we can use the seasons to help us identify where our imbalance is by feeding ourselves a little bit of the good stuff each season brings us. And this helps us in our recovery from burnout.

So in Summer, we want to try to bring back a little joy into my life. That’s what I endeavor to do. And to slow my pace if I know that I’ve been, just really doing, been crazy busy. And see if that – you’ll always know where that imbalance is when you start to feed the thing that you’re lacking because your body and your spirit goes, “That’s it. Yes, that is what I needed.” 

In Harvest, the season that’s coming up or in the midst of right now, this is about nurturing ourselves on all levels, feeding ourselves spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally, maintaining balance in that, being fed and nurtured. In Fall, we need to let things go. So are there things you keep hanging on to and you’re trying to hold too much without letting some stuff go? Have you failed to appreciate all those things that you have accomplished or what you have done? We move into Winter, this is a season of rest a time to take a break from your work. Gina mentioned a media fast she had done, those are really, really helpful. And during this season, this is when the gestation of new, the seeds of new little projects happen. So allowing that space for that creative energy to start popping again. 

And then in Spring, that’s where we take those little seeds, and is there something that you need to return to in spring that brought you all this passion and excitement when that idea first popped on why you want to do your particular project? And maybe, sometimes, I don’t know about y’all, but when I’m working on a project, talk about rabbit holes. All these ideas come up.

KimBoo
Yeah, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Melody
Whole other books and new characters. And what if we did this? It’s too much to try to hold all of that. And it is easy for me – I like new, shiny things – to jump off and, well, let me just write a little bit on that now. But I now have a big file, both one in writing and one on the computer, where I go put all those ideas until I can come back when I’m done. So that, feeding ourselves a little bit using each season to support and nurture us, can help us to understand where we’re maybe most vulnerable to becoming imbalanced and creating burnout.

KimBoo
29:40
Well, and I think that feeds back into what Gina was talking about with her personal experience, which really resonates with me, is different types of burnout and the causes. Like, you know, it could be the burnout from the different season that you’re creating this burnout in. 

And, of course, as we’re talking I just want to remind viewers that we’re talking about seasons, both literally the season of the weather, but also metaphorically this season of our inner worlds that we’re moving through. 

And like you said, you could be in Spring even though it’s going into October at this point. So that really resonated with me is looking at, you know, what are the causes of the burnout? What are the other imbalances that might be causing these types of things? And how can Summer, as a Spring, I mean as a season, and the lessons that you’re giving us about it, feed into getting over those other kinds of burnout? 

Because yeah, I definitely know what you’re talking about there, Gina. I think I was going through that when I quit my job earlier this year, my official job with the university. That was a very different kind of burnout than what I was going through earlier this Summer, for sure.

Gina
31:00
I’m particularly interested in, Melody, you kind of jokingly mentioned how hard it is for you to ask for help. And you mentioned reaching out to community and being involved in community and having relationships as being something that can help us get back into balance. And that’s something that has been really an important factor for me. And it’s one of the reasons that I first started the Women Writing for CHANGE Facebook group was because there are a lot of writers, a lot of us who might live in communities where there aren’t other writers. And I don’t know about your experience, but a lot of times, non-writers don’t understand us. And so, you know, it’s so helpful to have other writers to talk to about this. And as Melody said, one of the reasons that we’re here in this podcast is because we have found each other as our core community for supporting each other, and how life-changing, really, that that has been. And sometimes when we go into turtle mode, like KimBoo mentioned, being able to reach out for help is something that feels impossible to do sometimes. And so having other connections, having other community there that maybe can recognize, “Hey, KimBoo, you’re turtling. It’s time to come out. We’re here to support you.” Just having that reminder, sometimes, is fantastic. 

And I just encourage the listeners, that if they are in a situation where they do not have local community, somebody from your local writing group that you can call or whatever, or, you know, have non-writers around you that don’t understand you, there are places that you can go like Women Writing for CHANGE to reach out to others who can support you when you’re feeling burnout or when you’re just feeling alone.

KimBoo
33:09
Yeah, I get that a lot. I’m just going to tack onto that. I get that same thing from the fanfiction communities that I’m a part of. So you can get it from any… And that’s a worldwide community for me, especially since I’m in a lot of C-drama and Thai-drama fandoms. Yeah, they’re there all the way across the world, but they’re available in any time of the day. So yeah, it’s so important to have that community who understands writing.

Melody
33:40
Absolutely. Because I want to tell a little story. When I was writing my book, I was probably, I don’t know how many revisions in. I was really excited about the material. And I gave a chapter to a friend, a good friend to read. This friend, however, is not a writer. And so her feedback was, “Well, I support everything you do, but I have no idea. I just don’t see that it’s related to anything. I can’t connect to it at all.”

KimBoo
Ouch.

Melody
Yeah. Yeah, that stung. And, you know, it took me a while to, looking back on it, what was it I needed? Well, (a) I needed… She was a trusted friend, however, she did not understand the writing process. And what I really needed – this is part of helping maintain Summer balance – what I needed during this part of my work was, I didn’t really need it critiqued. I needed a cheerleader. I need somebody to say, “Wow, you’re on the right track. Keep going.” Or if they did give me feedback, like, “Is this what you’re intending?” You know, just something from a writer’s perspective that helps me focus and get on track.

So that, actually that comment – and she did not say it unkindly, but she was very blunt – it stayed with me for a while. So then I was kind of dealing with a bit of recovery from that comment, in addition to struggling through this part of the writing process. So (a) know your community, make sure whoever you’re reaching out to is trusted. And know yourself. I didn’t know that I needed cheerleading right, then. Now I know that when I’m in that phase of it, so I can ask for that. And asking for help is still not easy. It’s a muscle and you have to flex it and use it and become better at it. It’s easier than it was. And I’m grateful for KimBoo and for Gina, because they’re always there to give me some great feedback and support and cheer me on. So I think that’s really critical, just in general. But specifically during burnout, you really need somebody who’s in your corner.

KimBoo
36:23
In fanfiction circles, we call that the alpha reader. And that’s one of the reasons I even started the Author Alchemist was because I think as original fiction writers, those communities aren’t built in the way they are with fan fiction. Like, if you like a show, you can immediately find a lot of other people who like the show, and then you start writing, and they give you a lot of support. And we just don’t have that as original fiction writers or even nonfiction writers. I know a lot of people in Women Writing for CHANGE are nonfiction writers. But having that is, yeah, that cheerleader, that alpha reader that somebody is there. As I like to say, the alpha reader is there for the writer, while the beta reader or the editor is there for the story. And there’s that point in the balance of the writing process, you really need that person who’s there for you as a writer, and, you know, could help you get over that. It’s just so important. That’s so, so important.

Melody
37:17
It absolutely is. And we will talk about the time and the place for critiquing, and when you need it as we move into the season of Fall, because it is essential in the process of your work. To be able to get some clear perspective on what we need to release and what we need to keep. It takes someone that’s clear and direct to do that. But this is not normally the season to do that. That’s coming,

KimBoo
37:49
Yeah. And truly the issue with, I think, this season, it’s sounding like to me, as we’re talking about burnout, is this is the season to really rely on that community and help, let them help you.

Melody
38:05
Absolutely. And Gina’s Women Writing for CHANGE is an excellent community, I would recommend. If you haven’t joined now on Facebook, go join there. It’s free. It’s got tons of great information. And I know people that didn’t know each other beforehand, and they joined up on there, and great connections are being made and people writing similar things. And the support is amazing. Isn’t one of your weekly features is asking for help?

Gina
38:38
Yes, yeah. There’s always a Q&A and support post every week. So if you need anything, whether it’s just a cheerleading or if you have a very specific question about craft or just the writing life, whatever.

KimBoo
38:55
Well, I think at this point, believe it or not, we’ve talked for about 35 or so minutes, over half an hour. I’d like to move into, as a wrap-up, for the next few minutes, Melody, prevention of burnout. We talked a little bit about what to do, we’ve talked a lot about what to do when you’re in burnout: reaching out for community, finding the balance of the Summer season, finding those elements and, of course, that’s going to be on the worksheet. But I would like us to hit on the prevention element before we head into sign-off here because I think that’s the big one for me is I’d like to just head it off at the pass. Burnout’s no fun.

Melody
39:35
Wouldn’t we all? I find myself a lot of times in the middle of it before I’m really realizing I’ve already moved into it. I’ve gone past the balanced and gone into that space where I’m feeling the imbalance. So (a) take time for self-reflection. Learn your habits. Learn what your body is telling you. Connect with your body. Your body will always tell you what’s going on. And learning to understand and read your own body, I think, is really key into preventing. We can’t prevent all imbalance. Life has stressors, things pop up, people get sick, family members pass away, have nervous breakdowns, whatever. Stuff happens. And to recognize now, when we are moving into those things, What do I need that helps keep me as balanced as possible? And to do those things.

We’ve listed these, we’ll put them up on the podcast website, of some of the things to take care of yourself and assist yourself in recovery. But you’re gonna have to learn what works for you. What is going to be your best resource and the ways to keep yourself. Self care is always at the top of the list. And I just doesn’t mean pedicures and a day out with the girls. It means really working at doing those things that keep you healthy, physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.

Gina
41:30
I think you made a good point too, Melody, when you said that you’re going to just have to learn what it is that supports you. Because I think so often we’re just, we get so stuck that we can’t see ourselves and being able to sort of be an observer of yourself. Start paying attention, like you said, to the body signs. Start paying attention to the things that do bring you joy. Start paying attention to the things that are signals to you. 

And don’t just notice them, but really notice them. Maybe jot down notes about it when you or if you journal. Record these things, so that when it does happen again – because it will happen again – you’ve got more knowledge. You’ve got a base to begin from. You can say, “Oh, yeah, I do remember the time when I was in the middle of that project and I got waylaid because I got burned out. And then I did this thing to reignite my passion. And it worked that time. So let me try that again.” 

So really being an observer of yourself in all states, in the balanced and the imbalanced, and really paying attention to what that looks like for you specifically, because you’re your best medicine.

Melody
42:56
Absolutely. And I would say also relying on trusted friends, and your trusted community. Because sometimes you just, you get lost in the weeds. And you just can’t sort it out, where you’ve gone off track. And a trusted friend, someone who knows you. Both Gina and KimBoo are great at doing this, like, “Oh, see that little thing over there? You just wandered right past. Might be that. Might be that thing that you’re trying to ignore. What do you think about that?”

KimBoo
43:32
To point out this, this is the hazard of writing friends. What my friend Kim McShane calls the noticing disease, like, we notice everything. So we’ll notice when you do the thing, or you don’t do the thing, because we watch. We see all. 

Melody
43:53
And also it kind of reminded me, I’ve included this as a fun little exercise, but you know, use all of this stuff in your writing stuff. Stuff about your balances and imbalances, put that into your characters. God knows you have at least one character that’s ripe for burnout. So funnel all that stuff. Make that character authentic and real. And then sometimes you can have the character sort it in. And that’s a way to see it outside ourselves. So funnel all that stuff into your work. And I’ve also included another exercise on rekindling your passion and how to direct that into the work you are doing now. So check that out on the website as well.

KimBoo
44:44
Yeah, we’ll have that available for download.

Gina
44:46
Yeah, that web address is just AroundTheWritersTable.com. And we’ll have show notes there. We’ll have links to the things that we’ve talked about in our episode today that can support you.

KimBoo
44:59
Yeah, that’s great insight Gina. And I think that’s a perfect time for us to come back and wrap this up. We’ve been talking for, we just keep going, y’all. It’s amazing to me. It’s like, I think we could just keep talking for another hour and our poor listeners would just to put up with us. 

Melody
Easy

KimBoo
Yeah, easy, easy, which is what we do when we get together. So it’s always fun to record these episodes with you. And once again, burnout is such a big issue, not just with us, but everybody around us. So I hope if listeners are listening, please share this podcast, if it’s helped you. 

Go back and listen to the one prior where we go into more details and depths about burnout and recognizing it and how it can affect the writing process. We’ll have the, as we’ve talked about, we’ll have the downloadables, the worksheets. We’ll also have another worksheet that will give an overview of the five seasons that Melody has been referencing. If you’re not a regular listener, you may not be familiar with what that is. So you’ll be able to download that and get up to speed because it’s very interesting. And it’s very helpful for writers in the writing process. 

So, next episode is going to be about the season of Harvest. Melody’s got a lot of information about what that represents in the writing process, and how we can use that to not just encourage our creativity, but to find ways to dig into the projects we’re working on and learn how to follow through on them. So it’s a great topic. I didn’t even think of the season of Harvest as a season until Melody started talking to me about the five seasons and I read the book. So really a lot more interesting than I ever thought it would be. So I’m looking forward to that episode. 

That’s it for us today. Thank you for joining us around the writer’s table. This is KimBoo and Gina and Melody. I don’t know, you guys got anything else to sign off with before we finish up this episode?

Gina
46:55
Just want to invite listeners if they’ve gotten a benefit from this podcast to be sure and share it with their friends.

Melody
47:01
Please do. Absolutely. And we would love your comments and questions. And there’s a place for that on the website as well. Thanks so much for joining us today.

KimBoo
47:13
Yeah, thank you so much, y’all. Catch you next time. Bye.

Dave
46:38
Thanks for joining us around the writer’s table. Please feel free to suggest a topic or a guest by emailing info@aroundthewriterstable.com. Music provided with gracious permission by Langtry. A link to their music is on our homepage at AroundTheWritersTable.com. Everyone here around the writer’s table wishes you joy in your writing and everyday grace in your living. Take care, until next time.

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Around the Writer's Table and its co-hosts, Gina Hogan Edwards, Melody, A Scout, and Kimboo York own the copyright to all content and transcripts of the Around the Writer's Table podcast, with all rights reserved, including right of publicity. ​​You ​are welcome to share an excerpt from the episode transcript (up to 500 words) in media articles​, such as ​​The New York Times, ​Miami Herald, etc.; in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., ​​Medium); and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided you include proper attribution and link back to the podcast URL. No one is authorized to use the Around the Writer's Table logo, or any portion of the transcripts or other content in and of the podcast to promote themselves.

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