Burnout or Balance

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by DiAnn Mills

Recently I took an honest evaluation of myself, and I didn’t like what I discovered. Exhaustion pelted my mind and body. Did I mention cranky? I rose earlier in the morning and hit the pillow later at night. I cancelled breakfast meetings with friends and attended a writer’s conference where I failed to make all the necessary connections. Still the work piled up, and I wasn’t enjoying what I’d previously loved.

In short, my professional life had spiraled downward into a pitiful heap, and I needed to find a solution.

Some of you may be feeling the same way. For certain, burnout is a painful disorder, but I have an antidote.

The following twelve items helped me, and I bet they’ll help you.

1. Everything begins with prayer. Every dream. Every decision. Every dilemma.

2. Read Ephesians 4:1-7 and write down your purpose. I also refer to this as your ministry.

3. Thank God for everything placed in your path: the good, the bad, the victories, and the challenges. Write them down and repeat it every morning. I use a “Thankful” journal.

4. Write what you enjoy about being an author. Be passionate! Creating through the written word should fill us with unspeakable joy and allow us to worship God in a personal way. If it doesn’t, then we’re in the wrong ministry.

5. Take time to rest. A writer can’t focus if she’s in sleep-deficit mode. Take a few naps and crawl into bed earlier.

6. Listen to soothing music.

7. Follow a healthy diet and commit to exercise. Remember the temple you’re supposed to take care of? Creativity does its best job when the body is being fed the right stuff and it’s in shape.

8. Don’t forget loved ones-family and friends. A too-busy writer lingers in cave mode and forgets about people. Our role on earth is not about how many books we’ve published or our status in the social networking field. We’re to touch lives beyond the written word.

9. Discern what is stopping you from writing. A wise woman told me there are many wonderful God-projects in the world, but that didn’t mean God intended for me to get involved with all of them. Practice saying no.

10. Eradicate all those negative influences stopping you from writing. The manuscript waiting for your next words may be your next published novel or the first novel of your heart.

11. Do you need cooperation and support from your family? Call a meeting and pour out your heart. So what if you shed a few tears? We earn our title of drama queen honestly.

12. Establish a schedule that works for you and stick to it. An accountability partner ensures you’re working toward your goals and accomplishing the purpose for which you were created.

This list won’t stop the down days or the mistakes made when we don’t take care of ourselves. But it will help when burnout overwhelms us. When a writer achieves body and soul balance, creativity flows like a winding river.

Bestselling author DiAnn Mills creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the ACFW and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. She is a founding board member of ACFW.

Comments 0

  1. I think I need to print these out, DiAnn. Thanks!

    I recently bought a recumbent exercise bike. And instead of setting it up in the basement with the treadmill and the elliptical and the weight bench–all of which make great clothes driers–I set it right in the living room. It’s the first thing seen when you walk in the front door, but it’s right in front of the big window where I can see the world go by and watch the birds at the feeder–and even pedal through a few innings of baseball. Not the best room decor, but I use it more. 🙂

  2. Thanks, DiAnn. I needed to read this list. I think I need to print it out. It has been hard to write for a few weeks now and I think your suggestions are going to help. God Bless!

  3. “We earn our title of drama queen honestly.” Thanks for that, too, DiAnn. I have a couple of writer friends who listen to the drama and always point me back to my divine purpose and my only Source of hope and help. But it’s comforting to be reminded that an imaginative mind will think imaginatively even about how miserably this chapter is treating me! Great wisdom in your post, DiAnn.

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