Welcome L.A. Sartor as our guest today on Thyme for Writers! L.A. Sartor is a bestselling, award-winning author. She began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at L.A.’s insistence, wrote them down and L.A. illustrated them. As an adult, she writes suspense and action-adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she’s had a contracted adaptation! She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date. L.A. loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey. She has a blog and a mailing list.
Karen, thank you so much for having me as your guest. You’ve had a great line up of writers so far, I hope I keep the trend going. 😊
I thought burnout was for everyone else but me. I was on a tidal wave of producing books. Then something hit me while I was writing my seventh manuscript, Prince of Granola.
Nothing about writing intrigued me. Nothing. Not my blog, not my book. Nada.
Why? I still loved the story and my characters. I was super proud of what I’d accomplished with my writing so far.
My reaction: panic. I didn’t want to sit near my laptop, didn’t even open it for days. And when I did, I forced the writing. We all know that’s not a solution.
So, I basically ignored the dread of writing and fear of not writing, pretty sure other stress factors in my life were the cause. I couldn’t have burnout, writing was my ideal job.
Hmmm, job. More on that later.
Nevertheless, I avidly read articles on burnout or writer’s block as they appeared on my horizon; how to cope, how to push it aside, what it was. And I came to the conclusion that nope, I didn’t have burnout. I had something else. I think the word for that reasoning is denial.
Months later, I faced it head on. I was experiencing burnout. And oddly acknowledging, even saying the word out loud to myself, then close friends and outward from there, made it seem fixable.
Fast forward a couple more months. Still not writing much and whining yet again to my buddy, Audra Harders, about how long it was taking me to get this blasted first draft done, she gently interrupted me and mentioned a concept. A very cool concept.
Writing in chunks.
The concept immediately hit me as right. You all know the feeling. It’s almost euphoric. Moments later my email dinged and I was gifted by her The Chunky Method Handbook by Allie Pleiter.
Immediately after opening the book—well, after I emailed a thank you to her—my anxiety began to dissipate.
And then I realized a few things. I had been writing as though it were a job. I’d retired a few years earlier and hadn’t fit in well with the retirement scheme of no schedules. So, I wrote as if it were a job instead of a gift and a joy.
I pushed through hours of computer time, knowing I had a goal and had to make it. Doing that served me well until it didn’t. I sold a lot of books, made it to #1 on Amazon, both on free and paid books and felt on top of the world…until I didn’t.
I knew instinctively that setting limits to my goals wasn’t me. I’m a goal oriented person. But changing my perception of goals, in this case allowing myself to write 400 words in a chunk (you learn what your chunks are), and meeting that chunk (goal) really changed me. It set me free. I was successful again when I hit my chunks and I could write as many chunks a day as I wanted. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t beat myself up, because I knew I would another day, or even the next hour.
I started being productive, and again loving what I was doing. The concept allowed me to be … me.
Back to the job issue. I also realized is that writing isn’t a job for me. And no, I’m not a full-time writer. I don’t want to be, nor frankly, do I have to be. I am a writer who believes in her story and her characters one chunk at a time.
And believe me, the chunks add up quickly, far faster than I could have dreamed. I don’t force it, I let it flow good or bad from my fingers.
Because we all know, if it’s not written down, you can’t fix it and make it better.
Prince of Granola will be out in the spring.
Love the Romance ~ Live the Adventure
Bestselling Author and Winner of the International Digital Award
Believe In Me This Christmas Morn
Dare to Believe (2012)
Stone of Heaven ( 2013) Carswell Adventure Series Book One
Be Mine This Christmas Night (Holiday 2013) Star light ~ Star Bright Series Book One
Forever Yours This New Year’s Night (Holiday 2014) Star light ~ Star Bright Series Book Two
Viking Gold (July 2015) Carswell Adventure Series Book Two
Believe in Me This Christmas Morn (Holiday 2015) Star Light ~ Star Bright Series Book Three
The Prince of Granola (Coming 2018)