Monday, June 12, 2017

Why Writing Rules (Usually) Don’t Work, But Writing Guidelines Do

 Writing guidelines can help us climb that “book mountain” 
A breath-taking article about a Polish team of mountaineers planning to climb K2 in the winter—a risky-to-the-max feat that has never been accomplished—reminded me that every book is K2, a mountain that has never been climbed. Like expert climbers, writers make progress step by step, or, to be precise, word by word.

Writing guidelines for climbing Book Mountain

We start at base camp, familiarize ourselves with the terrain and altitude, thread our way through ice falls and high mountain passes, we set our own ropes and carry our own gear. We drag ourselves through the middle, crawl to the summit, enjoy the view from the top, then do our best to survive the perilous descent (aka write the ending).
Struggling and suffering, we endure setbacks and doubts, make mistakes and mis-steps. We depend on our equipment and our team, but, in the end, we (usually) climb our mountains alone. The good news is that (usually) climbing the book mountain won’t kill us (although sometimes it feels that way) and we will live to climb again. 😉
Between us, Anne and I have been climbing book mountains for decades. We've written under pen names and our own names. We’ve had successes and failures and, along the way, we have made every mistake (and then some).
We are too old (and too experienced) to think that rules, which tend to be rigid, work when it comes to something as risky and unpredictable as writing a book (or climbing a mountain).
Much as we are wary of rules, especially stupid rules, we have learned (the hard way) that certain general writing guidelines apply. Rules (with a few important exceptions) are rigid and come with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude. Guidelines, however, have the advantage of being flexible and customizable.
Here are our own thoughts and those of our favorite gurus and bloggers on guidelines that work:

Start with the first step. Preparing for the ascent.

The writer’s consciousness is a library of memories, observations, emotions, all residing in our subconscious waiting for us to use.
  • An idea, a character, a theme, that won’t let go.
  • It can be sad, funny, tragic, epic, super brilliant or dumber-than-dumb, but it works its way into our mind and sticks like a burr.
  • It can be triggered by an overheard snatch of dialogue on the street, in a restaurant, at the supermarket.
  • Perhaps a phrase in the newspaper, in a book, in a meeting at work will be the trigger.
  • Or a random memory that springs up unexpectedly while we’re driving, folding laundry, listening to music, exercising, chatting with a friend, fighting with a roommate.
The writer’s job is to take the necessary steps turn this roiling stew into a story that will engage readers. From brainstorming to writing the first sentence and polishing the final draft, there are techniques and guidelines that will help on the way.

Turning a vague idea into a usable story idea.

Starting with a fuzzy notion but no clue where to go from there?

Pants? Plot? Or something in between?

One size does not fit all.
  • Our guest blogger, top freelance editor M. J. Bush contributed an invaluable post on the subject: 25 must-read tips on plotting from top authors and editors.
  • Then there is Libby Hawker’s popular guide to plotting, Take Off Your Pants.
  • In Writing Into The Dark, prolific author and USAT bestseller Dean Wesley Smith guides you through the joy of writing a book without an outline and explains the value of cycling.
  • Chuck Wendig zeroes in plotting and prepping with index cards, the zero draft, beat sheets and tentpole moments.
  • NYT and USAT bestseller, Russell Blake, uses a spreadsheet to plot his action/adventure/mystery thrillers and explains why he doesn’t for his NA stories.
  • From story discovery to knowing your characters, author and writing coach, Jennifer Blanchard explores the value of pantsing.

Begin at the beginning. Or not.

“An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story,” said Stephen King. “It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.” Plus a list of 50 best first sentences to inspire you.

That &$%# first draft.

Hemingway said, “All first drafts are shit.” However, you can’t fix, revise, rewrite, edit something that doesn’t exist.
Duh.
Bottom line: no first draft, no book.
Hold your nose and type: getting the first draft done. Speed kills, or does it?
More thoughts on the maze of the first draft.
“I don’t fiddle or edit or change while I’m going through that first draft,” says Nora Roberts. She explains her process, says character is everything, and writes three or four drafts.

Editors, editing, revising.

From Trimalchio to The Great Gatsby. How to choose a title.

Sometimes the perfect title for your book is there from the beginning. Sometimes you have to name the baby. Here’s help:

Rules that DO work.

Mistakes, Misery and Surviving The Enemy:

This post was originally published at Anne R. Allen's indispensable blog on  May 28th, 2017. It was Anne who chose the marvellous goat that illustrates my point!  —Ruth
SaveSave

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rejection and Failure: Don't Quit. Do Something Else Instead. Here Are A Few Ideas.


This is a reprint of my post for @AnneRAllen on April 30.

Rejection and Failure: Don't Quit. Do Something Else Instead. Here Are A Few Ideas.


Rejection and failure make you think of quitting? Be like Thomas Edison instead.

by Ruth Harris

Rejection can make us want to cry and/or break things but rejection is almost never personal and often has nothing to do with your book, either. The sting of rejection can be bullied into submission with a can-do, eff-you spirit or maybe chocolate or a few glasses of wine—sometimes consumed together.
Rejection is temporary, a passing storm that helps writers develop the necessary thick skin and confident attitude, but it’s a sense of failure—often intertwined with fear—that can make us want to give up and quit.

Frazzled, Frustrated, and Fed up. (Notice all the f-words in this post?)

I’ve been hearing a lot of negativity recently from writers who want to give up. They question their talent—and their sanity. They’ve tried everything—free books and promos and newsletter and ads and the latest, hottest genre—and “nothing” works. When they look around they see what looks like the ashes of the ebook boom: declining sales, unpredictable algo changes, and the indie stars from a few years ago who have left the scene.
The odds-against in TradPub are equally daunting. Writers hoping for an agent know the ego-mangling effects of being dissed and ignored, their manuscripts disappeared and their emails unanswered.
As a long-time editor, publisher and writer, my experience has been that we (and our books) fail much more than we succeed. Knopf editor Robert Gottlieb in his book Avid Reader: A Life, talks about the successes and the famous writers but about the failures—the books remaindered, languishing in warehouses, the authors fallen into obscurity—not so much. Understandably, because, after all, who wants to read about (or write about) flops, failures and the forgotten? Doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, though.
I’ve experienced failure from both sides of the desk and want to take a deep dive into the subject since set-backs are an inescapable part of the business we’re in. To start with a bit of perspective: It’s not just us. Most businesses fail. Period.
I live in New York where new restaurants open every week and even more close. Ditto clothing boutiques, hair salons, and dog groomers. Malls across the country sit empty and iconic retailers like Sears and Kmart, RadioShack and J.C. Penney are shutting stores.
With that larger perspective, use your creative abilities to consider ways to reframe failure before you act on your impulse to give up.

Failure as Foundation.

In her June 2008 speech at Harvard graduation J.K. Rowling, currently the richest writer in the world, explored “the benefits of failure.” She described her own failures—she was divorced, jobless, a single parent and as poor as one could be without being homeless—and said that “rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Struggling to meet ends and so depressed she considered suicide, she reached out for help and returned to Harry Potter, an idea she had begun years earlier but abandoned. For J.K. Rowling, failure was not final but the beginning of a new ending.
Should you, like J.K. Rowling, return to an old idea or an abandoned draft? Has the time come to review and reconsider?
Award-winning writer Holly Lisle offers a detailed guide to revising a book.
Maybe the book that fizzled needs the sizzle of a new idea or a new shot of energy. Gloria Kopp, a web content writer, shares seven ways for writers to generate new ideas and includes a clickable list of online writing and idea generating tools and resources.

Failure as Part of the Job.

Olympic figure skaters miss their jumps, world-class gymnasts don’t always stick the landing and medal-winning divers splash the entry. Famous golfers miss their putts, Roger Federer loses sometimes, and even Ted Williams struck out.
Failure is part of their career and even those at the top continue to practice their serve, their swing, their fastball and curve. They spend time in the batting cage, in the rink, on the apparatus. They reach out for help and seek mentors and coaches, learn from their competitors, and from those who came before them.
Ballerinas take class or do barre everyday. Singers practice their scales and I recall reading that, as a young singer wanting to improve, Frank Sinatra paid  a retired opera singer to teach him a series of vocal exercises which he added to and practiced throughout his life.
For a writer, editing, revising and rewriting are invaluable forms of practice. Editors, beta readers, and crit groups can take the place of tennis coaches and batting gurus. The book that flopped or was never finished (Harry Potter anyone?) can get a second or third chance because dialoguegrammardescriptionsinfo dumps, and go-nowhere scenes can all be reworked and improved.

Course Correction or Radical Reinvention?

When your career is stalled and “nothing” is working for you, you have the advantage of being invisible. Because no one is paying attention to you, you can take big risks. A pen name can be liberating as you venture out to try something new and different.

Collaboration

If you’ve been on your own, what about collaborating with another writer or even several writers?

Writing for the Market

Lots of controversy about “writing to market,” but if you feel you are getting nowhere, why not consider it? As a young editor, I started out writing magazine articles but wanted to try writing something longer. A book!
At the time, gothic romance was a hot genre. I read a handful of top-selling gothics, wrote an outline and a few chapters to prove to an editor (and myself) that I could do it. Eventually I wrote several gothics and, in doing so, began to learn how to write a book.
I did not find writing to market soul sucking. Perhaps because I viewed writing to market as a starting point, found it educational, and liked getting paid. If you feel stuck and decide to try writing to market, why not think of it as a stepping stone?

A few how-to’s to get you started:

•How to write your first romance novel.
•Chuck Wendig lists 25 things to know about writing horror.
•Susan Spann shares 25 tips for writing a mystery.
•Bestseller David Morrell’s 5 rules for writing a thriller.
•Six secrets to writing suspense.
•How to write action-adventure.

Failure—or fear of failure?

Are we talking failure? Or the fear of it?
Is fear of failure holding you back? Twenty-five noted women from Michelle Obama to Dolly Parton discuss the fear that might have paralyzed them and the steps they took to overcome it.
What if you’ve actually failed? Author Ray Williams talks about coping with failure from a psychological point of view.
Techniques for dealing with failure and moving on.

The book that failed. Or did it?

  • That new book you were sure was going be your break-through sank without a trace.
  • Those newsletters “everyone” said was a sure fire route to fans and sales landed in spam folders.
  • The promo that worked so well last time fizzled this time.
  • Those widely hyped Amazon and Facebook ads turned out to be expensive and time consuming to set up and maintain. They made a dent in your wallet but not your sales graph.
Maybe that book is languishing because it needs the right hook. Paula Balzer at Writer’s Digest goes into detail about how to write the hook that hooks.
How about a better blurb?
Or maybe no one’s buying your book because no one can find it. Here’s how to choose categories and keywords that can shelve your book where people who might like it can actually find it.
What if the promo that was great for “everyone,” did zilch for you? Bestselling author Cara Bristol gives 8 reasons why.

Before I Go (and you give up), Heed these Two “Failures.”

“Failure is success in progress.” —Albert Einstein
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” —Thomas Alva Edison

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Extreme vanity? Or just good business?

magnifying glass
image credit:  By Penarc - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8631592


 $800 vials of Botox. $475 Genesis laser treatment for pore tightening. $1,200 Titan laser sessions to firm the jawline.

This New York Times article about a LA derm to the stars seemed OTT on first reading, but it also made sense.

Would you want your pimple to be seen in hi-def around the world? Your sagging jaw line?
The lines around your eyes? Sexy—supposedly—on men. On women, not so much.

Most of us wouldn’t much like it but most of us—lucky for us—don’t depend on our looks to earn a living.

What would you do if you were a movie star and your million-dollar paycheck were at stake?
Or what if you were a working actor—but not a star—who was looking for next job? Would you have some “work” done? A touch up here and there every now and then?

If you care about paying rent and putting food on the table, getting first crack at hot scripts, or just landing your next role, of course you would. Ditto for TV personalities, news anchors, C-suite executives who need to look “rested” and alert, ready to meet the next crisis or challenge.

All of which reminds me of my now-retired derm who told me that, when he was in med school, he wanted to do something that would help people feel good and so he chose dermatology. His father, an orthopedist, went ballistic. “If it didn’t involve a saw and hammer, he didn’t think it was medicine,” my derm told me.

His father kept bugging him until my derm finally lost patience. “If you don’t stop, I’m going to go into psychiatry,” he threatened his father.

Who, from then on, ceased and desisted railing against dermatology as a career choice. Ultimately proud, no doubt, of his son, a talented clinician who effectively treated the array of skin sensitivities I had inherited from my father and the only derm able to heal a friend’s persistent and extremely irritating rash of mysterious origin.

I love glimpses into other worlds! Do you?







Tuesday, April 4, 2017

STRESS BUSTERS AND BURNOUT-BEATERS.

Stop the burning

STRESS BUSTERS
AND BURNOUT-BEATERS.

Burnout can hit the most motivated writers and Type A high-achievers
We’re writers. We work for ourselves. We don’t need no lousy bosses to crack the whip. We can do it to ourselves–create the frazzle, the frustration, the deadlines, the endless to-do lists, negative feedback, and the conviction that we’re not doing enough fast enough.


We feel like hamsters spinning an infinite wheel, and the more successful we get, the tougher the challenges become. No wonder we’re prime targets of stress and its evil relative, burnout.

Stress and Burnout are Different.

As I said in Part I of this piece, stress is a condition of too much and is characterized by over engagement. Too many demands, too much pressure. Your emotions are overactive and hyped up. You face too many demands on your time and energy, and feel barraged and overwhelmed by unrelenting pressure.
The consequences of stress are primarily physical: your pulse rate quickens, your heart pounds, but you still feel a glimmer of hope.
You think that if you can just get everything under control, you’ll be OK again.
Burnout, a result of chronic stress, is a condition of too little and is characterized by disengagement. You feel empty, emotionally drained, and devoid of energy.
Burnout reduces productivity and leaves you feeling helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Your motivation is gone, your creativity, kaput. You feel detached and depressed, and as if you have nothing more to give.
Keeping in mind that stress and burnout are different, the approaches to dealing with them are also different.

Coping with Stress

The symptoms of stress are primarily physical.

The American Psychological Association points out that an extreme amount of stress can affect the immune, cardiovascular and neuroendocrine and central nervous systems, and can take severe physical and emotional tolls. The APA lists five healthy techniques that psychological research has shown to help reduce stress in both the short- and long-term.

Right-size your to-do list. Embrace the zoom out.

Henrik Edberg, an author who writes about simplifying life and becoming happier, offers 33 practical tips about how to reduce stress. They range from right-sizing your to-do list (simple but brilliant!) to the benefits of zooming out in order to gain healthy perspective.

Create a coping plan and learn to “just say no.”

Lynn Ponton, MD at the Psych Central site, lists 20 ways to soothe the stress monster including detailed how-to’s of progressive muscle relaxation and the function of a “hassle” list that will help you distinguish between minor and major hassles.

Keep a stress diary.

From difficult people to poor time management skills, sources of stress are all around us. A stress diary will help you identify and manage your stress points so you will feel less frazzled and more in control. Here’s a templatefor a stress diary to get you started.

Organize the chaos.

Being better organized will help you feel less stressed and more in control. On her blog, Elizabeth S. Craig explains how staying organized gives her more time to write and offers tips on the tools she relies on.

Distraction and interruption.

Whether it’s the phone, IMs, emails, texts, a friend, a spouse, a neighbor, those interruptions add up to increased stress—and it’s not just stress. According to a New York Times article, distraction actually makes you dumber.
Unplug the router, or put your computer into Do Not Disturb mode to fend off distractions and let you focus on your task. Dump the multitasking and ban the interruptions and you will find your stress level plummet.

Coping with Burnout

Be alert to the signs of burnout.

Burnout is a sneaky thief of energy and pleasure. Burnout, a consequence of almost constant stress, doesn’t happen overnight and you won’t be able to rebound overnight. Be on the lookout for burnout if your joie de vivre is MIA, or if you:
  • Feel every day is a bad day.
  • Can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning.
  • Have the blahs and are exhausted.
  • Take no joy or interest in your work, or feel depressed by it.
  • Feel overwhelmed or paralyzed by your responsibilities.
  • Turn to escapist behaviors, such as drugs and/or excess drinking.
  • Are more irritable and short tempered than usual.
  • Feel hopeless about your life or work.
  • Experience what Ernest Hemingway called the “black dog.”

From snark to insomnia, the subtle symptoms of burnout.

Alan Henry at Lifehacker points out that the best way to beat burnout is to start fighting back before you hit rock bottom and can barely get out of bed in the morning.
Luckily, the signs are usually right in front of us—it is up to us to take care of ourselves, pay attention, and take the appropriate steps.

For burnout, take a go-slow approach.

Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D. points out that “Burnout doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s unrealistic to expect it to go away overnight.” She advises a go-slow approach to recovering from burnout. “Consistent implementation of positive changes into your routine is the best way to see improvement.”

The four stages of burnout.

Psychotherapist, Mark Gorkin, LICSW, “The Stress Doc,” suffered severe burnout himself and used his own experience to become an expert on stress and burnout, how to avoid them and how to recover. On his website, he describes the four stages of burnout:
  1. Exhaustion
  2. Shame
  3. Cynicism
  4. Crisis
He suggests proven strategies for rehabilitation and rejuvenation.

Recovering from burnout isn’t quick or comfortable.

In a personal essay, CEO Carrie Severson reveals that recovering from burnout is actually as uncomfortable as what causes burnout. Hardworking entrepreneur, she was broke—financially, emotionally and mentally—and describes the steps she took to rescue herself and balance work with personal time.

The 4 risk factors for burnout.

Tchiki Davis, M.A., Ph.D., a Silicon Valley consultant, goes into detail about the consequences of poor work-life balance that result in burnout. She describes helpful techniques that you can use to rescue yourself from the destructive mindsets that lead to burnout.

The 3 types of burnout.

Scientists at the Association for Psychological Science have identified three types of burnout:
  1. overload
  2. boredom
  3. worn-out
The linked article, somewhat technical in places, delves into the significance of ineffective coping strategies that fail to protect from work-related stress. It also suggests that cognitive and behavioral therapies, such as ACT, may be useful for all burnout types.

Serious risks of burnout.

Belle B. Cooper, an iOS developer and writer, observes that burnout can impair personal and social functioning as well as overwhelming cognitive skills and neuroendocrine systems. She says that over time the effects of burnout can lead to memory, attention, and emotional problems.
She suggests ways to overcome burnout, some of which may seem counter-intuitive, like adding more activities to your day. If they are activities you actually enjoy, they can help us fight the resentment that leads to burnout.

Even though it doesn’t always feel that way, you have choices. Use them.

Stress feels awful. Burnout will stop you in your tracks.
Reframe the way you look at work and set boundaries, use organizational tools to quell the chaos and productivity apps to manage priorities, grab time for yourself, your friends and family, recognize the value of “goofing off” and “down time.”
The life you save will be your own!
by Ruth Harris March 26, 2017, originally appearing on Anne R. Allen's blog
What about you, scriveners? Do you suffer from stress? Burnout? What methods have you used to cope with these problems? Have you tried a recommended technique that didn’t work? 
SaveSave

Monday, March 13, 2017

Stress or Burnout? Why they’re Different and Why you Need to Know the Difference



Stress or burnout? Writers can suffer from both.

by Ruth Harris

Look at your to-do list.

  • WiP needs edits and revisions
  • Editor/cover designer to hire
  • Promo forms to fill out
  • First draft to finish
  • Get that new book/new series ready to launch
  • The next-to-final draft need polishing
  • Backlist covers need a refresh
  • A box set waits for formatting and covers.
  • An idea for a new series needs an outline
  • Time to write a new book for an existing series
  • Newsletter!
  • Writing a newsletter for your pen name
  • Writing a blurb / a blog post
  • Analyzing results of AMS and FB ads
  • Beta readers to be contacted

Now look at yourself.

  • Snapping at colleagues, the strangers at the table next to you in a restaurant, the checkout clerk at the supermarket.
  • Snarling at your dog who’s too afraid of your rotten moods to snarl back.
  • Fighting with your spouse/roommate/bestie over…nothing.
  • Can’t sleep.
  • Can’t eat or you overeat.
  • You’re losing/gaining weight.
  • Productivity has slipped to zilch.
  • You hate everyone.
  • And everything.
  • Including yourself.

We’re stressed out. Or are we burned out? 

We feel like hamsters trapped on an endless wheel. We’re tired, crabby, frustrated, uninspired, and unmotivated. Our anxiety-meter has topped out and we’re not even running on fumes any more—we’re running on empty.
We talk about it among ourselves, moaning and bitching and rolling our eyes. Our sense of humor turns blacker and blacker.
We can—and do—complain about our plight but we’re paying real consequences, physically and emotionally. Our friends and family suffer the fallout. So does our work.
Stress and burnout are related but they are different although, according to experts, some of the signs and symptoms overlap. Whatever the specific definitions, stress and burnout reveal themselves with specific symptoms and are more dangerous than you might think.

Stress or burnout: how they’re different.

Stress is a condition of too much and is characterized by over engagement.
Too many demands, too much pressure. Your emotions are overactive and hyped up, you face too many demands on your time and energy, and feel barraged by unrelenting pressure. The consequences of stress are primarily physical: your pulse rate quickens, your heart pounds, but you still feel a glimmer of hope. You think that if you can just get everything under control, you’ll be OK again.
Burnout, a result of continual stress, is a condition of too little and is characterized by disengagement.
You feel empty, emotionally drained, and devoid of energy. Burnout reduces productivity and leaves you feeling helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Your motivation is gone, your creativity kaput. You feel detached and depressed, and as if you have nothing more to give.

The Mayo Clinic lists the common symptoms of stress

Stress symptoms can affect your body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you techniques for managing them.
Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Common physical effects of stress

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

Psychological effects of stress

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

Behavioral effects of stress

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often

The Harvard health newsletter describes the symptoms of burnout.

Burnout, which can be a result of prolonged stress, is a gradual process. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first and can mirror those of stress. However, over time they become more severe and destructive.

Physical effects of burnout:

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, getting sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout:

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral effects of burnout:

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others

Type A personalities and burnout.

Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D explains that high achievers—Type A personalities—often experience burnout. She describes the early and later stages of burnout as follows:

Chronic fatigue.

In the early stages, you may lack energy and feel tired most days. In the latter stages, you feel physically and emotionally exhausted, drained, and depleted. You may even feel a sense of dread for what lies ahead on any given day.

Insomnia.

In the early stages, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep one or two nights a week. In the latter stages, insomnia may turn into a persistent, nightly ordeal. As exhausted as you are, you can’t sleep.

Forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention.

Lack of focus and mild forgetfulness are early signs. Later, the problems may get to the point where you can’t get your work done and everything begins to pile up.

Physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and/or headaches. (All of these symptoms merit a medical evaluation.)

Increased illness.

Because your body is depleted, your immune system becomes weakened. This makes you more vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.

Loss of appetite.

In the early stages, you may not feel hungry and may skip a few meals. In the latter stages, you may lose your appetite all together and begin to lose a significant amount of weight.

Anxiety.

Early on, you may experience mild symptoms of tension, worry, and edginess. As you move closer to burnout, the anxiety may become so serious that it interferes in your ability to work productively. It may also cause problems in your personal life.

Depression.

In the early stages, you may feel mildly sad, occasionally hopeless, and you may experience feelings of guilt and worthlessness as a result. At its worst, you may feel trapped, severely depressed, and think the world would be better off without you.
(If your depression is at this point, you should seek professional help.)

Anger.

At first, this may present as interpersonal tension and irritability. In the latter stages, this may turn into angry outbursts and serious arguments at home and in the workplace.
(If anger gets to the point where it turns to thoughts or acts of violence toward family or coworkers, people should get professional assistance.)

How to manage stress and avoid burnout.

Because the consequences of stress and burnout are serious and because so many of us feel overwhelmed and stressed out, recognizing the signs and symptoms is critical.
Learning how to manage stress and avoid burnout before it starts can save your marriage, your relationships, your job, and your career.
In Part Two of this article, I will turn to experts for advice about how to manage stress and burnout.


Meanwhile, my excellent blog partner, Anne R. Allen, asks:

What about you, scriveners? Are you suffering from stress or burnout? It’s so easy for writers to get stressed these days, since most of us have day jobs, and the job of being a writer involves so much more than actually writing. Do you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or others? 
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave