Burnout? with L.A. Sartor

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers
Burnout? by L.A. Sartor

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.

Burnout?

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.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers, writers block
Burnout? by L.A. Sartor

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.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers, Burnout, writers block
Reach Your Goals!

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.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers
Believe In Me This Christmas Morn by L.A. Sartor

LA Sartor
Love the Romance ~ Live the Adventure
Bestselling Author and Winner of the International Digital Award

Believe In Me This Christmas Morn

Amazon
http://amzn.to/1Ui8Y6t (shortened)
iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/believe-in-me-this-christmas/id1147295728?ls=1&mt=11 (full)

Titles published:
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)

Social Links
Website
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

19 thoughts on “Burnout? with L.A. Sartor”

  1. Thanks, LA, for sharing your experiences. You’re so right when you say that writing isn’t a job, it’s a gift. And gifts need to be cherished, not forced. I’m glad that the chunky method works for you — can’t wait to see Prince of Granola in print!

    1. Thanks, Amanda,
      It really was one of those periods where you wonder what happened, what changed? I was overjoyed when I found the reason, and for me, the fix. POG (Prince Of Granola) will be out this spring, and I can’t wait to hold it in my hands:)
      Merry Christmas,
      L.A.

  2. Hi, Karen,
    Thank you for giving me a spot to talk about one of the defining moments of my writing life. I wish you the greatest of successes with your blog.

    Merry Christmas,
    L.A.

  3. It’s easy to forget, reading Stone of Heaven or Viking Gold that stories are hard work and don’t always flow. You make it look easy. 🙂
    But too much pressure can force any writer to back away in fear that they can’t meet expectations or exceed their prior successes. Sounds like the chunk method allows writers to circumvent that cycle (to some extent anyway.)
    Thanks for sharing this tip.

    1. Hey Brad, thanks for the kind words regarding my books/writing. When writing becomes the master instead of the author…then things are awry.

      BTW, I cannot wait for a few excerpts to post on my blog, you are a gifted writer.
      Merry Christmas,
      L.A.

  4. Thanks for the good word, LA. And thanks for sharing part of your journey that isn’t always easy to talk about. I love the whole chunk idea. Good job. Cheers

    1. Hi Marilyn,
      As you know, I’m pretty open. I’d rather be a mysterious lady, but it never seems to fit well.

      We all know writing isn’t easy, and if I share the hard with the good and people get it, then maybe, just maybe it helps. Wow.
      Merry Christmas,
      L.A.

  5. Hi LA, I love the title, Prince of Granola! Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for your words on burn-out. I’m fairly sure we writers all face this challenge at some time in our writer life. It’s comforting to know a great writer like you has had to fight burn-out, too. You encouraged me today. Thanks.

    1. Hi Dena,
      How nice to see you here. “A great writer”? Wow, I’m savoring those words for when I’m looking at a blank screen. Are/have faced burn-out?
      Merry Christmas,
      L.A.

  6. Great post L.A. Hard to believe you struggle with writing. But you make it look so easy in Stone of Heaven and Viking Gold. Still, we all know what reads easy is easy because the author has done some hard work.
    Sometimes we can set the bar so high, trying to exceed our prior successes, we intimidate ourselves, or at least that happens to me. Chunking can take away the “got to write a best seller” mentality and replace it with, “got to write okay for an hour.”
    No matter, glad to see the “chunk” technique has worked for you! Keep cranking out the hits!

    1. Oh yeah. Everytime I get 2/3 through a first draft, I wonder if this book is any good. Heck, I even wonder that after publication 🙂

  7. Oh, Leslie, you shared our secret with the world, LOL. I love your books, all of them…even the ones yet to come. I’m glad chunking out your writing time helped. I still have a full-time day job and trying to write books while caring for a family, friends, and a puppy drove me nuts. To the point I stopped writing. It was time to try something new.

    Burnout can be confused with being overwhelmed. I think that’s where writing in spurts, or chunks, really helps. You can’t stop writing, my friend. Your characters are heartfelt, your settings are dynamic, and your plots very well played out. You need to share more books with the world!!

    I can’t wait until Prince of Granola hits the stands and then rumor has it, there’s another series waiting in the wings? Do share! Write faster. I love them all!!

    1. Audra, you my friend are making me blush. I can’t imagine this writing journey without you.

      And yes, I have a new series coming. The Jenna Hart Jewelry Mystery Series. I cannot wait to start working on it. Should I reveal the title?

      Merry Christmas,
      L

  8. Great article, Leslie! I loved the concept from the moment you introduced it a few months ago. I think chunky writing is definitely how I write best. Otherwise, my brain just turns to mush. Thanks for encouragement for all of us who are in the same boat!

  9. I love your transparent heart! I struggle with goals becoming dictators and accomplishments becoming measurements of success and worth. Thanks for sharing your journey. Writing is slowly teaching me to enjoy and embrace the process. Even more, writing has opened up a new world of wonderful gifted people, friends, as you. Thank you for sharing your story.

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