A note from our president, Suzan Butler

February 2016

Hello, NTRWA!

Your somewhat respectable president here. I know we’ve talked a lot about career burnouts before, as it’s super common with writers. It may have even been a topic of a president’s letter in the past. But it is a real struggle writers face at one point in their writing lives. The industry changes so fast, and it can be overwhelming at best.

We all want to be the superhuman writer that pumps out a book a month, and manages multiple social media with still time to sleep and eat. We push and push with no breaks until suddenly we hit the proverbial wall. At that point, we have to step back. We can’t go any further.

That’s what happened to me last year. And it kills me a little inside to admit that. I withdrew and didn’t talk to anyone for months unless I had to. It was this group that started pulling me out of my funk. Emails and texts asking how I was got me to meetings and being at the meeting was a creative shot in the arm. I leave every meeting energized and ready to rock. And about the time it starts dwindling away, it’s time for the next meeting.

This year, I’ve scaled back a lot in my professional life. Writing is taking a forefront and everything else is secondary. We can’t completely wipe out deadlines. It’s common in career fields in general, and particularly in the publishing field. But we can set reasonable ones that don’t require superpowers to achieve.

At some point, we all need to take a minute to breathe when things start getting overwhelming. Hiding doesn’t make it go away. I’m just now getting back into the groove of writing I had eight months ago. But I’ve learned a lot about how I respond to being overwhelmed and stressed. I’d like to think that will help me the next time I’m feeling the heavy burden of a career burnout.

Saying NO might not be the ideal answer to something you might want to do, but sometimes it’s the best answer. Too many group projects, too many books to write, too many social media accounts to watch over can burn even the best multi-tasker out. The best thing we can do is take that step back before it’s too late.

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir here, but it’s something that’s been on my mind lately and I wanted to share. You guys will be seeing a lot more of me now than in the last few months. Maybe not enough to get sick of me though. Keeping things manageable, after all, right? Have a great month, NTRWA.

~S.M. Butler, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author

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