Burnout and the Ambition Room

Good Monday, all. It’s been a work since you heard from me and let me tell you, it was one odd week. Burnout is always a looming specter when you write on the side of a full-time job, and it’s been looking over my shoulder quite a bit over the last few weeks, poking its bony finger into my shoulder every time my guard drops for even a minute. It’s not easy to guard against it, either, as writing moments are so often snatched from thin air, conjured when walking to my car or waiting in a crowded elevator. Those little moments add up in terms of word count and story development, but they also add up when it comes to burnout, too, and I reached saturation point on Friday.

This has been a difficult novel to write, and I’m well behind the schedule that I maintained for Room 3. It doesn’t help that with each passing day I feel as if the writing world itself might be leaving me behind. I can’t keep up the same pace as many other writers, and I know this about myself but I can’t seem to accept it. A part of me always insists that I could crank out more words if only I did this or did that, that the key to success is accepting “good enough” and not worrying about lingering issues like plot holes or consistent writing, but that just doesn’t seem right, and so it ends up taking far more words than usual to craft a story; City of the Dead, for instance, has easily 110,000+ words of material out there right now, but the novel itself is sitting at 83,000 words. Some of that excess is re-usable for future works (one deleted scene in particular is earmarked for Portal of the Dead), but you can see how frustration sets in.

Frustration, and doubt. I don’t know whether my problem is what fellow author Aniko Carmean refers to as “The Ambition Room”, but it does become rather easy to doubt the validity of what you’re doing in the absence of a growing readership. I’m well aware that it’s become more difficult than ever to capture that audience, but there are times that it can’t help but settle on your bones.

Anyway, that’s where I am at the moment – trying to ward off burnout and stay on target. Been here before and gotten through it, so now it’s just a matter of pulling through once again.

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