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Monday, May 05, 2014

Battling Burnout!

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. She can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), Goodreads (, and Pinterest (!

Her newest title is Raptor 6 (The Quiet Professionals). Publisher's Weekly wrote: "Trust and betrayal are the themes of Christy Award–winning Kendig’s (Wolfsbane) fast-paced military suspense novel."

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Success brings opportunities and as an author, you’re naturally feeling grateful, honored, and humbled that someone actually wants to feature you (and it’s not because your book stinks!) that you don’t want to say no. Often, we’re looking for all the help we can find in getting word out about our releases, so saying no feels not only counter-intuitive but wrong. The unfortunate reality is that there can be hundreds of requests (interviews, features, short guest blogs), but there’s only one author, one You!

 With nine full-length novels and four novellas released since I debuted in March 2010, I’ve had a wonderful but intense journey. It’s been a blur of amazing and massively cool projects and opportunities, awards and recognitions. While I have no regrets related to writing, what I do regret is not taking better care of myself. Because that neglect delivered me to the door of some serious burnout.

Top Pick by RT Reviews!
In talking about burnout with my dear friend, Carla Laureano, she shared her own struggles with it. She’s a mom of two young, active boys and authors both contemporary romance (Five Days in Skye, a RITA finalist) and her newly released fantasy, Oath of the Brotherhood (RT Reviews Top Pick for June!).

Thanks for having me, Ronie. Even reading that statement above makes me cringe a little. Admitting that we can’t do it all, that there are some negatives to these wonderful opportunities, comes with a lot of guilt. It took me fifteen years to break into publishing, so I know how it feels to be struggling to find an agent or waiting on a contract. When I heard published authors talk about how busy and stressed they were, I always thought, “Wow, what a nice problem to have.”

So now that I’m in this position, I like a lot of other authors, feel bad talking about how the opportunities come with a lot of stress, a lot of worry, and even a little bit of fear. We plaster on a smile and say, “Yes, I’d love to!” to every request, and push down the little voice that tells us we need to take some time for ourselves to rest and recharge.

But I think, Ronie, you and I both know that only results in depleting the creative well that we need not just for our work, but for our daily lives. Lately, I’ve been more intentional about setting aside time to spend with my family and friends and to do things that are completely unrelated to writing or publishing. And I know you do the same. Should we share some of the things we have found helpful in the Battle of Burn-out?
Available now! 

  •  Set aside a Sabbath - Maybe you can’t make that Sunday because of other commitments, or maybe Sunday is your only writing day, but make a point of having some regular protected time for prayer, leisure, and fun—away from writing. 

  •  Exercise – Oh yes. I said the dreaded “E” word, but stay with me while I explain: science has shown that oxygenating a brain stirs up creativity. And do you know how to oxygenate you brain? Yep—the E-word: Exercise. So get outside. Take a walk around the block. Get that body and those neurons moving! 

  •  Take up a new hobby - Have you wanted to try gardening, knitting, or hiking? Sometimes fixing your attention on something completely new can give you the renewal you need. 

  • Read out of your comfort zone - Writers tend to read what they write, but it can be hard to turn off the internal editor when we read in our own genre. If you write romance, why not try reading a best-selling mystery? Or if you write literary fiction, a YA adventure just might be what you need. My favorite genres to read while I’m on deadline tend to be ones that I could never write, like historicals, spy novels, or literary. That way I can truly read for pleasure.

  • Champion Others – When we focus on ourselves, our books, our successes, then our view of life and the world is stunted. You have power as an author. Readers pay attention and listen. Use that power to be a Champion for others (this is not mentoring, but being a positive force in your spheres of influence)! Surprisingly, this effort to champion others will actually rejuvenate YOU! So take the challenge to be a Champion, not a critic!

  •  We hope that you all have opportunities to rejuvenate, to refill the creative well so you have fertile soil to dig into when it’s time to write. Hopefully these tips will help.

    Do you have a tip you’d like to share to avoid burnout? Please—be a Champion—post it in the comments below!

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    C.E. Laureano has held many jobs—including professional marketer, small-business consultant, and martial arts instructor— but writer is by far her favorite. Her first novel, Five Days in Skye, was recently chosen as a double-finalist in the RWA’s 2014 RITA Awards. Oath of the Brotherhood marks her fantasy debut.

    Connect with Carla on the web:, Facebook: ( ), Twitter (@CarlaLaureano), and Pinterest (


    1. Great tips, Carla. I agree--exercise can really get those brain cells in gear when we tend to sit so much as authors. And I do think the best part of being an author is being able to champion authors you love, and to have such deep and encouraging friendships with authors who are making a difference in the world. Carla, you're just such an author and you're always an encouragement to me! Thanks for the post today.

      1. And thank you to Ronie for sharing, too! I didn't realize they were tips from both of you. Great and timely ideas!

    2. For me, the most important of these tips has been to Champion Others. I find it so important to keep my eyes off of me. Even though I'm not published, I still have that temptation to beat the Look At Me drum.

      As for reading out of your comfort zone ... I either have a large comfort zone, or that's not a worry for me! The only thing I really don't like reading is Amish (sorry to any of you writing it, but when you grow up with them all around they aren't so "magical").

      Nice thoughts, Carla.

    3. Thanks! So glad you all loved our ideas. It's quite a challenge to keep your creative well filled!

    4. Thanks for having me today, Ronie! This was fun! (But I have to confess that all the good ideas were yours! :D )

    5. Ronie and Carla, I don't know which tips were from which one of you, but I don't care. I'm going to use them all!! Thanks so much for blending your ideas to help everyone.

    6. Great post, ladies I think part of what holds me back from actively working on my WIPs is that fear of possible success, having to live up to commitments I may not be able to keep. Thanks for these tips for the day when I do reach that point of success!


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