Episode 122B – Randi-Lee Bowslaugh – Burn Out

Overview

Randi-Lee is back talking about mental health and authors. Too many authors suffer from getting burnt out, which can be a different problem that is manifested in burn out.

In her book, Embracing Me, Randi-Lee discusses how we can lead a happier life, and these lessons are applied to authors to avoid times when they aren’t writing.

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Transcript

So let’s move on to some author things. But before we limb we, what are some things that you’re doing now that you’ve learned and you’re doing different than when you first started?

Randi-Lee: Great question. Let’s think I definitely plot more. Than I used to. I’m really a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person. So I’ve been plotting a little more, I wouldn’t say as tenuous as some people I know, but I, more than I did. And just, I think the more you do something, the better you get at it.

So my first book was published in 2017. So five, five years have passed. I’ve definitely gotten better at writing in general. Effect, anything you do, you get better at it, the more you do it. Creating the covers for the books, just having a vision of what I want for them. And knowing how to market them.

That’s the hardest part about being an author. You can be an excellent author, but if you don’t know how to sell your book, don’t matter,

Stephen: nobody’s reading it. Besides podcast, what are you doing to market?

Randi-Lee: So I do have my own newsletter that goes out. I’m on TikTok. I am on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram.

I have a publicist. So hopefully as these real life speaking events and actual book signings start to happen again I’ll be able to get some of those. Before COVID hit, I did have one book signing at our local bookstore. And covered, shut it down. Hopefully as all those things start going back again, I’ll be able to get into all of that stuff again and really push.

Stephen: Okay. And when you’re writing, what software and services do you like to use?

Randi-Lee: I just use Microsoft word. Very okay. Simple. I know some people have all sorts of different things, but I have a paper and pen and I’ve got the computer. Yeah, pretty simple. If I’m doing a kid’s book and I need like pictures and stuff, I do have some different drawing software, cuz I’ve done some of the pictures for.

Kids’ books. So I’ve got what’s it called? Creta I think it’s called it’s pretty,

Stephen: pretty good. Okay. All right. When we were talking about what topic authors would be interested in, you suggested talking about how to not get burnt out and that’s probably. Important thing if you also suffer from depression because they can feed themselves and make both of them worse and faster and yep.

All of that. What are some things you’ve experienced with burnout and what are you doing? What do you do to help get past it or not get burnout?

Randi-Lee: Yeah. Burnout can happen randomly too. So you could think that, okay, this is going good. And then. It’s really, it can be an accumulation of lots of things.

So especially a lot of us rider, we work from home, what’s at home, our kids, our spouses, our dirty house, our pets. So it can be an accumulation where it’s oh my goodness, I can’t do this because I can see this mess over there, which is why I’m now up here. Cuz I can’t see any other maths. So that’s one of the things is take.

Out of the mess space and put yourself into a workspace. When you have a designated work area, you’re less likely to let all of the regular household life things pile on top of what you already need to do for work. Cuz writing is fun, but it is still work, right? As well take breaks because if you’re writing and writing, sometimes I’m like I just gotta get 10,000 words done today or whatever.

I don’t say that to myself anymore. I time myself, I say, okay, let’s write for 20 minutes, which usually works 20 minutes and then I’m into it. And then an hour goes by and I’m like, okay, I’m done now. But if I give myself a smaller expectations of 20 minutes, if I am struggling, if I am having writers block, then I’m like, okay, I’ve gotten 20 minutes of words down.

Good. I’m not going to stress myself out anymore. But once I get into the zone, I’m good to go. So setting yourself some nice blocks, which then also give you breaks. Get up. We are not meant to sit down for hours on end. We are meant to get up to such a dredge to get some fresh air. I’ve positioned my desk so I can look straight out this window and I see my beautiful garden.

So I don’t know how I’ll feel in the winter and see snow. But right now I see my beautiful garden. so just little things make a big

Stephen: difference. And I also think I found for myself a large part of it is mindset. If you look at writing as another chore or another job, it’s much harder to sit down and wanna do it for another hour after the day job and dinner and the dogs and the kids and homework and soccer practice, and the washer blew up.

After all that, you’re like, oh, I got more chores and work to do. But to me, a lot of times the writing. Is my fun time is my relaxation. And I start looking forward to it more. And then when I’m stuck because I’m mowing, but the mower broke now I have to spend an extra hour fixing the mower and I’m like, oh, I’m losing that time.

Yeah. So instead of coming in and I’m just gonna sit down and watch some TV or I’m go sit down and read or go to sleep. It’s man, I just gotta relax. I’m gonna write some. And it changes your perspective. That as what you’re doing.

Randi-Lee: Yeah. That’s huge as well. Especially the first draft.

I find it’s easier with the first draft because after that, then that it’s second draft in editing and that’s not nearly as fun but sometimes

Stephen: Actually like editing to be even more fun. Now I used to dread it. I hate it but I think it was another mindset shift in my head. I would send stuff and have my editor look at it and come back.

Like the first thing I did, it was like 20 pages of notes and all these sections. Holy moly. Yeah. Oh, that was the first thing I wrote. And it was no idea at all. And that really got me going. I suck, man, why am I doing this? Blah, blah. But I let it sit for a while and I said, okay, let me read what she says and learn from that because I can get something of it.

So I started reading, going, oh, that’s a great suggestion, and now it’s gonna be better. And my first drafts. I are very rough at times, but then I look at the editing as where the quote unquote, real writing comes in and that’s where I try and get better language and better crafted sentences. Okay.

In all the good stuff. So yeah,

Randi-Lee: I can get behind you on that. Okay. I can get behind you on that, cuz like my first one is you it’s like the bones, the structure is there. I just need to get the idea from my brain onto paper. Then my second draft is where my real writing comes in. I don’t call that editing.

So maybe that’s what, so that second draft is where yeah it’s where all the real writing comes in. The emotion the fun part of it. It’s when I have to read it the fourth, fifth, sixth time to just really make sure I didn’t miss nothing.

Stephen: That is boring. And, but then you also gotta watch yourself cuz some I know people who have been working on like the same book for four, five years and it’s at some point you’ve changed and edited things.

It’s like somebody who gets 30 plastic surgeries, it’s no longer helping.

Randi-Lee: Yeah, just either, either say it’s done or throw it in the trash and there’s no saving

Stephen: it one or the other. Yes. Yeah. Yes. And that’s the other thing I do too, is it sounds the opposite of what you should do, but I have several projects like you do going on at once.

And sometimes if I get burnt out it looks like writer’s book. Oh, I don’t know what’s right. But I’m really burn, but sometimes it’s that project. And if I move to a different project and right there, it’s fresh and new and different voices in my head and so it helps get level burnout. Yeah.

Randi-Lee: Yeah. And that’s just, it, that was the other thing I was gonna say is switching it up. Makes a huge difference. So I’ve got those two books on the go, but they’re both non-fiction so they’re both heavy. So in between all doing all that, I’ll write a kid’s. Because it’s fun. It’s easy.

Some of them, I draw pictures for some of them. I get other artists to draw pictures for them, depending on the style I’m going for. Or I’ll do like I’ve done self-care journals and they’re just, they’re quick and easy. And they make me feel accomplished because, okay. So I threw together some affirmations made them look all, pretty, put them together, made a pretty cover it’s done, and it takes a lot less time than writing a whole novel.

I feel accomplished, then I can go back to my other book.

Stephen: Yes I do that a lot. Yeah. And another thing I’d say is to continue to write, cause I’ve known that too, where people get burnt out and they stop. And then it’s much harder to keep going and get going again. And if you’re suffering from depression that doesn’t help, it makes you feel worse.

Ugh.

Randi-Lee: I know I’ve had that happen to me. I’ve been like, I just can’t walk up the stairs to my compute. What the, what’s the point? I don’t want to. It suck anyways, I’m not doing it. And then I go, oh, I have to get this done. Why didn’t I spend my time doing that? I’m such a bad author cause I’m not doing it.

And it’s just, it’s this vicious cycle. Yes. Once I get up here and I sit down and I put my music on, cuz I always listen to music. When I write I got my music on I’m typing away and I’m like, I feel good. Now. I like this.

Stephen: I go back to some of the stuff you mentioned, Stephen King. I’m going to assume you’ve read on writing by him, which I think just about everybody recommends for everybody else.

Oh, no, you haven’t. I hope I have. I don’t. You should maybe I have back in the day and I

storm. I well, I would recommend it again then I hear it thrown around very often that just about everybody has recommended on writing by Steven King. And it was one of the early ones that helped me get going.

Partly because like you, I liked Steven King. And I think you’ll enjoy the style because the first half is almost a memoir or biography. And then the second half is like Stephen King’s thoughts and rules on grammar and writing and craft. So you have read that. Okay. Either way,

Randi-Lee: if I have, it’s been like 10, 10 or more years ago, but it might be worth reading.

Stephen: And then there’s another book by Jeff strand. He’s an independent writer. He kinda writes horror comedy kinda like adult goosebumps. love that stuff for his 50th book. He wrote a a, how to book a look back on the writing career craft that he’s done. And it’s very irreverent.

But between those two if I do feel a little burnout or I feel that slog to try and get to it, I’ll pick one of those up and just read a little bit of it, cuz it re-energizes me quite often. Yeah. Or listen to podcasts with Joanna or Jay thorn listen to him a lot. He’s got a lot of podcasts.

So those help me. Feel re-energized

Randi-Lee: nice. Yeah. Podcasts are awesome. I love listening to podcasts when I like walk my dogs. Cuz music’s great, but I listen to music all the time. So sometimes I switch it up. Do some podcasts.

Stephen: Yes, absolutely. And actually I, I get stuck listening to a lot of podcasts and I have to stop and go find some music sometimes because I’m like, man, I haven’t listened to music in 10 days.

That’s

Randi-Lee: so funny. Yeah, no, I’m the opposite. I’ll be like, wait, when was the last time I listened to that podcast? I think I’ve missed some

Stephen: episodes. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. You get, you start getting frantic about it. It’s okay. I gotta listen to these 20 episodes before next week or the other ones will come out and then I’ll be behind and I know.

Randi-Lee: It’s like it’s TV show. You have to stay up to date.

Stephen: Even if you realize I’ve gotten through episodes and I’m like, who the heck was that guest? And what were they talking about? I have no idea. Cause I’ve heard so many, I start tuning some of ’em out, which isn’t, but that told me it’s okay, I don’t have to bit frantic about every episode, exactly. Yeah. But podcasts are so good for learning. It’s like free learning. If you go find the ones you like the ones that work for you, like your podcast That you do. Tell us a little bit about that. So if anybody listening yeah.

Randi-Lee: Would like to do so it’s called the write or die show. So write, like you’re writing something w R I T write to or die show and I interview other authors and we talk about mental health.

So again, it’s that personal perspective. I have had some authors that are also like, they have their doctorate in psychology and stuff. But for the most part, they’re. Regular people, maybe a bit eccentric. I think all authors are eccentric. But they’re just regular people and they’re sharing their story of whatever mental health that they’re dealing with.

So I’ve had people, depression, anxiety that they’re the top yesterday released episode of was eating disorders. We’ve had schizophrenia, bipolar, borderline personality O C D. So a ton of different things that we talk about on the show, all from that personal perspective, because my theory is the worst part is feeling like you’re by yourself.

So if we can talk about it and make sure nobody feels alone, then hopefully we’re helping. And everybody has their own kind of coping strategies. Yeah. We all, their journaling is a real popular one, but everybody does it a little bit differently. Yoga’s a huge one, but again, everybody can do it a little bit differently.

So by everyone sharing their different coping strategies, people might be able to pick out something that works for them.

Stephen: Nice. Okay. Yeah. All right. Randy this has been great. I’ve enjoyed talking to you about all of this. I’m going to have to go check out some of your mental health episodes on yeah.

Borderline personality. That’s something I’ve been dealing with in my family personally. So I think that’s great. Yeah, that’d something we should sit down and talk about separate off of this. Yeah.

Randi-Lee: Sounds

Stephen: good. So before we go, though, do you have any last minute advice that you would give new authors?

Randi-Lee: That’s always the advice I go with is right. And I say that it sounds so simple, but I say that because the more you write, the better you get, if you keep in mind the advice of just right then even when you don’t feel like. Okay. I have to write just because I have to write doesn’t mean you have to publish everything you write.

I’m not saying everything you writes, gonna be good and you should publish it, but the more you practice something, the better you get.

Stephen: Yes. And if I could tag team off of that, if you are feeling burnt out or depressed, reach out to a writer, friend, join a community. So you have people to talk to and say, Hey, I’m feeling you know, down.

I haven’t written. I need to and talk to somebody. That’s always huge. And I’ve rarely. An author that would say, I just don’t have time to talk to you. I’m not gonna help you. so right. No,

Randi-Lee: I’ve talked to a lot of them too. And we all say, Hey, call me, shoot an

Stephen: email. Yeah, I’m around. I don’t think reaching out to Patterson or Steven King that they’re gonna take the time to talk to every author that reaches out.

That’s not, we’re

Randi-Lee: talking indie authors. I think we’re talking indie authors.

Stephen: Find a local group find a good online group with people you can chat with

Randi-Lee: yeah. Yeah. Wouldn’t you mean cool though. If they did answer

Stephen: Yeah, I’m sure they do to, to some degree at certain times certain circumstances. I’m sure they have people that work for them that do it.

Yeah. Yeah. Actually I know somebody who joined some author or celebrity’s Twitter. And they said, and I know it’s not coming from them directly. I know a lot of it’s fed to a million and half people and whatever, but every time I get one, it’s got my name there. It feels like they’re talking to me. It’s true.

Randi-Lee: I know. Yeah. It makes a

Stephen: difference. Yeah. Randy, I appreciate you taking some time chatting with us today. I wish you luck on your book and I appreciate all the advice you were giving us. Thank you.

Randi-Lee: Thanks for having me. I had lots of fun.

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