June 4   Burnout

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I expected burnout to hit end of April. It’s just the way I am – my business model, as Tansy would put it. I work better under pressure and that’s when I tend to excel, and I give everything I’ve got and then, after that, I’ve got nothing. I usually get sick going into a convention, lose my voice by day 2 or 3 and come home and nurse a bad flu or something for a week or 2. After Natcon in Adelaide, I swear I had Swine Flu. It’s the way I’ve always been, for as long as I can remember.

So it was really weird when I didn’t get sick at the con or in the days after – usually burnout hits just as the pressure finally is off. I wished I’d had a couple of extra days holiday after the convention but I didn’t have the leave to take (I’m still hoping to somehow get to World Fantasy this year and I really really want to have leave to take over Christmas.) As much as I need the time off now, I know I  can’t afford to trade that for time off at Christmas. And the really weird thing is, my long service leave entitlement is kinda just round the corner. It feels weird to have been with this agency this long but, I’m sorta hanging out for it and hoping to make it that far. I have plans for that time, and am hoping I get to have it. We’ll see.

So, what I wasn’t really expecting was this kind of slow burnout rather than the crash and burn. The crash and burn I know how to handle. Take to my bed with the Gilmore Girls and some hot chocolate and just … chill the hell out. And then I’m good. Back to it. This though … this is weird. It feels like a malaise or an apathy or a … a complete lack of energy and a lack in making myself find the energy. I’m still working full time. I’m still working pretty full time on the press – juggling the promotion and marketing of the recent books, readying book 3 for the printer and starting to get stuck into book 4 of the Twelve Planets. And I’m still far behind on the whole TPP to do list to even contemplate thinking the last couple of late nighters I pulled this week have brought me up to speed.

But … I just can’t get enthused. Or energised. Or moving. I haven’t exercised since before Swancon. I’m eating a lot of sugar and chocolate, craving the buzz, I guess. I’m not being super careful with my dos and don’ts for food allergies. I still haven’t managed to make inroads into the gritting my jaw thing. And I have the puppy – so, puppies don’t sleep through the night. I’m not sure I knew that!

Today I got to work, and (societal norms mean that often for me in order to be at work in the times expected, I don’t wake up until I’ve sat at my desk for half an hour or an hour) realised that I felt vile. The first person I spoke to was when I was ordering my coffee and I sounded like I had a head cold. I told her I felt foul this morning and she asked me if i had a headache, that I sounded off this morning. After sitting at my desk for a while, I realised I felt sick and was feeling sicker. I know I can’t work as hard as I was before and expect the physical and mental robustness. I’m burned out. But at the same time, I don’t get the option of … not doing so.

Eventually, my workmates talked me into going home, without take home work, and I did. After a couple of hours of almost no work and a lot of reality TV, I started to feel a little more normal. I’m hoping to get a lot of downtime this long weekend. Of course, I’m also hoping to get more packing and moving done and I’m not currently living in that location so, these things seem at odds. But we’ll see.

The really awful thing is I’ve lost my crafting mojo. I haven’t really worked on any projects since before the con. Normally I find sewing a really good craft for when I am doing fine tuned thinking like line editing and knitting better for project development and reading. But right now, I have no will or interest to do either. In the first place, my hands were really really sore when the change of weather happened and I laid off anything too much (though my mother says knitting kept my grandmother’s fingers limber). But like the rest, above, I just haven’t felt the energy to craft, like I don’t have the creativity in me right now. Burned out and unable to take the stimulation of colours and textures and patterns. Though, at the same time, I’m also doing a lot of project planning, business vision and direction and development. So in some ways, I feel highly creative in that area and not needing the craft. I miss crafting though. I have a sock I am knitting that I pick up and do a row here and there but I really miss the intensive crafting. And worse, I’ve replaced that time with recreation reading. And I’m really scared that it’s a one or the other type scenario.

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  • By Ka'ela Ja'el on 4 June 2011 at 11:34 am

    Can you purchase leave? It’d probably be worth your while doing that.

  • By AlisaK on 5 June 2011 at 8:31 am

    You know, that option has never been offered to be or been brought to my attention as something I have access to. Not sure if it’s cause I’m on short term contracts?

  • By Thoraiya on 5 June 2011 at 12:45 pm

    If it IS one or the other for now, is that too awful?

    When I was doing full time work, I knew that I could either write or paint in my spare time. I didn’t paint for 5 years. Then, when I was pregnant, I painted up a storm!

    Now I’m a mother, and there is no painting. But that doesn’t mean I’ll throw my paints or canvases away. Give yourself permission to keep all your crafting stuff. Take it with you when you move.

    And tell yourself you will have time for crafting when TPP IS your day job, just like I’ll have time for painting when writing is MY day job!


  • By Alisa on 7 June 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I do think it’s too awful. SO much to do, so little time and I want to do it ALL.

    Taking the stuff with me is proving more difficult that I thought it would.

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