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Burnout

(15 Posts)
CrystalTits Fri 05-Aug-11 19:09:59

After yet another shocking day of non-productivity (well, ok, so I wrote two paragraphs and sent 4 emails), I sobbed to DH when he came home from work that I hate my job (self-emp copywriter/marketer for small businesses). I have been fighting writer's block and a complete crisis of confidence for several months now, and just can't seem to find a way out.

I'm worried that I'm just burnt out with the whole responsibility of running my own business (inefficiently). I am desperate to do something else but can't gain the clarity to work out what it is I really love to do. My favourite clients all have food-related businesses, and I get great feedback (when I ask for it) but I do put my heart and soul into each job.

Not really sure what I'm posting for, but I guess it's a chance to get it out in the open and ask for your advice - and maybe empathy from anyone who's been in the same position as me.

rhetorician Fri 05-Aug-11 19:14:47

not quite the same position although the feelings you describe are familiar; I'm an academic, I work at home at lot and most of my main work is done alone and requires a great deal of self-motivation. The rewards are long-term and diffuse (e.g. relying on honourable mentions in other peoples' work which I have to find the time to google read). I also have a crisis of confidence which has been building over some years, but is complete now that I have a 2.6 year old and another baby on the way.

However, a friend of mine recommended 'writing sprints' - 30 minutes a day, put a timer on, no internet, no chores, no phone. Write. You might write 50 words, or 800, many of them will be rubbish, but I have done this for 4 days straight now, I have 3500 words (all need editing, polishing, refining, deleting) and I feel like I have achieved something, and now I am getting to the point where I have a better sense of where my argument is going. Enlisting some online support for this enterprise has also been helpful.

CrystalTits Fri 05-Aug-11 19:24:04

Thank you Rhetorician, I'll give that a try. I know that I need to 'just do it' but am overwhelmed with the amount of information in my notes and in my head. Can't seem to make sense of any of it. I also worry that what I produce won't be good enough; I have lost confidence in my ability, and motivation is at rock-bottom.

I wish I could engage my passion for doing what I do. I'll do writing sprints to get me through the next few days. Thank you for replying.

rhetorician Fri 05-Aug-11 19:37:40

just remember what the goal is - to write for 30 minutes. Don't use your notes and assume that whatever you write will need further work. I have got out of the habit of working consistently and patiently on things (brio, or bullshit, making up for the lack of time) and now I am low on energy and ideas (burnout: have used everything up) I have to go back to basics. 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration, isn't that what writers say?

AgentProvocateur Fri 05-Aug-11 19:54:41

Are you me? I'm in exactly the same position. I'm going out now, but will come back to this thread later in the weekend to see if anyone has any bright ideas. I

AgentProvocateur Fri 05-Aug-11 19:57:17

Sorry - wanted to acknowledge rhetorician's posts. Very helpful, but even knowing that's what I should do, I don't seem to be able to.

rhetorician Fri 05-Aug-11 20:41:27

try starting with 10 minutes (my DP rather mockingly calls it my 'automatic writing' - she has a point) - doing it rather than the quality seems to be the point? don't imagine that I really know what I'm talking about, but it seemed worth a try and better than the impasse I was/am in

Abra1d Fri 05-Aug-11 20:46:02

My trick is to leave the laptop on in a room not associated with work (I'm a writer). Then I just casually have a quick tap on the keyboard. Sometimes a few words sneak out and surprise me.

Another thing I do is just write for 20 minutes. Tell myself that's all I have to do. Takes the pressure off to produce.

Failing that, sheer blind panic can be a good driver.

Himalaya Fri 05-Aug-11 20:55:31

Just want to chip in on the freelancers moan - together. At the momment nothing motivates me apart from sheer blind panic. I love what I do, and I can be very productive and competent, but if I I'm not staring into the headlights of an impending deadline I can't get motivated, and tend to get distracted by too much research and wandering back to Mumsnet and other distractions.

Sorry no advice to give, but looking forward to reading others.

rhetorician Fri 05-Aug-11 21:06:40

if you don't need it for work, switch your modem off...it feels truly strange at first, but then you realise that the internet, whilst wondrously useful in many ways for working at home, is also the Devil's Work in terms of productivity/concentration/focus

Abra1d Fri 05-Aug-11 21:45:35

Someone I know wrote a whole book in their wardrobe (albeit a very big American wardrobe). Because she couldn't get internet in there.

The other thing that sometimes helps me is just grabbing a pad and pencil and going somewhere different and free associating. The fact it's not on a computer makes it less 'official', which sometimes frees a blockage. Yuck, sounds like plumbing.

rhetorician Fri 05-Aug-11 22:32:02

just laughing at the cupboard - DD (2.6) told me that there was a mummy crocodile in the wardrobe, 'doing some work' and that 'we have to leave her alone' blush

rhetorician Fri 05-Aug-11 22:32:23

perhaps I should just get DD to write my book?

watersign76 Fri 05-Aug-11 23:30:34

Sorry to hear of how you are feeling. Sharing it is always good though.

Do you have any idea what your other options are? Do you know what is stopping you from planning for something new?

Is the food thing an interest, is there a way of moving more into that whilst bringing in the money as you are currently doing?

This might not be every MNs thing hmm ...but I'd think about investing in a business coach. Even a few sessions might help you refine your thinking about what next and build your confidence. I have used them when I was employed and one was life changing.

Good luck.

wearenotinkansas Wed 24-Aug-11 19:41:30

I keep trying to write a book - but aside from all the distractions you've mentioned I am completely dispirited by the fact I've realised that my DD (aged 4) is much more of a natural storyteller than I'll ever be. Probably inherited from her father - lucky so and so.

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