Are you creatively burned out? 5 (free) days to get your creativity back on track!

Is this you?

Creative Burnout is real, my friend. And unlike regular burnout, we can’t just “push through” and suck it up. Creative work draws from a different well, and when that’s dry…well, no wonder you’re having a hard time writing.

If you’ve worked with me, you know I’m as passionate about supporting the creative process as I am the finished product: whether that’s the day-to-day of writing, the specifics of finishing a book, or the daily challenge of being a visionary person in a hustle world. And yes: I want to help writers become better at their craft…but I also know we can’t plant seeds in depleted soil.

How do you know if you might be creativity burned out? Here are some possible clues:

Possible Signs of (or Contributors to) Creative Burnout
(no judgment but be honest!)

  • You’ve just finished a big creative project (a book, manuscript, etc.)
  • You find yourself down “research rabbit holes” during writing time
  • You’ve just finished a big life project (a move, remodeling, etc)
  • You’re having a hard time finding something to read that excites you
  • You’ve signed up for a workshop you didn’t finish or didn’t even start (my hand raised on this one!)
  • You’ve recently had a big life change (new baby, illness in the family, etc.)
  • Your old writing habits aren’t working anymore
  • You need more sugar/caffeine than usual to write
  • Everything you’re writing feels/sounds like everything else you’ve written–you feel stuck in a creative loop
  • You’ve had increased feelings of creative jealousy (everyone else is doing it better)
  • OR You’ve had an increased desire to isolate (I’m leaving social media, etc.)
  • You’ve stopped doing things you know are good for you (i.e. journaling, walking) and you can’t seem to get back in the rhythm.
  • You find yourself tired when it’s time to write
  • You’ve been feeling more defensive than usual about your work (not taking rejections/feedback well)
  • You can’t remember the last time you took yourself on an artist date
  • You forget to eat OR eat mindlessly throughout the day
  • You’ve had trouble sleeping–either falling asleep or waking up often
  • You are easily distracted from your creative work
  • You need external motivation or the writing doesn’t happen
  • You don’t have many other creative people in your (real) life who “get” you
  • All your writing has started to sound the same–no sparkle/new ideas.
  • You don’t have the time or mental space to go “deep”–you stay on the surface of your ideas
  • You don’t have a regular writing routine OR your regular writing routine is no longer working
  • You feel estranged from your work

Spoiler alert: The hustle is killing your creativity


(Now if this list does not speak to you–fantastic! Keep kicking butt, my friend!)

BUT…if any of these sound familiar, and you want to reverse or even avoid some of the pitfalls that might land you in Burnout Land–then I’m inviting you to join me for a brand new FREE 5-Day Reversing Creative Burnout Challenge:

From Burnout to Breakthrough: 5 Days to Get (or Keep) Your Creativity on Track: April 4-8, 2022

Five days of small but powerful action steps to overcome creative burnout PLUS a 90-minute live virtual retreat with me to end the week.

How it works:

Once you register, I’ll send you one email each day (beginning Monday, April 4th) examining each of the 5 areas of creative burnout: how it happens, how to avoid it, as well as small, actionable steps you can take today to move the needle even 10%.

Then we will gather for a 90-minute live virtual retreat on Friday, April 8 at 11 am MST. Bring your notebook and your beverage of choice and give yourself the gift of a mini-deep dive with other creatives.

This 5-Day Reversing Creative Burnout Challenge is FREE–including the mini virtual retreat–but you must register. Replays will be available for a limited time for those who sign up.

REGISTER HERE and I’ll see you next week!

xoxo

Nancy

P.S. Don’t forget to register!

My embarrassing writer moment, or Why I sobbed over a cake….😂

This story does have a happy ending, but here it goes:

When Going Short was first released as a print book in 2020, I knew the decision to release it in a quarantine year would mean some sacrifices: no live events, no release party, no fancy cake with a picture of my book cover on it. However, I felt strong enough that it was the right book at the right time that I embraced the virtual book tour and all the wonderful virtual events (and I don’t regret it!)

BUT…here’s the cake story: The night before the official release, I was in the kitchen, thinking about that cake with my book’s picture on it that I wasn’t going to get and I just lost it. All the self pity and all the fears of 2020 just bubbled up and out and I was found by my partner, sobbing at the dining room table about how I never get to have a cake.

So, like any good partner, Nick went on a mission to end this sobbing immediately (and for anyone reading this, if anyone in your life is ever sobbing over cake–heed this course of action!) 

As the story was later relayed to me, he went to the nearest grocery store bakery, but since it was already 10 pm, the bakery was closed, and the decorators were gone. However, the teenagers on the night shift, wanting to be helpful, (and maybe having had a sobbing cake episode in their own lives) suggested they could let Nick into the kitchen with some frosting tubes and he could decorate the cake himself.

The situation was of course, desperate. 

When I woke up in the morning on the official Going Short release day I saw this cake in the fridge:

And honestly, it’s my favorite cake ever.

So now, two years later, it’s a thing. This past weekend, in preparation for the Going Short Audiobook release, I still haven’t hugged most of you or had a pre-2020 style release party, but I’m eating cake. All week.

And I’m hoping you not only love the new audiobook (and my narration debut!) but that you eat a piece of cake with me! There’s no way I would rather celebrate than to eat virtual cake with you! For real!

Thank you all for the many years of support, inspiration, and friendship. If I’ve learned anything in these last two years, it’s to cherish your tribe in all the ways, hug them when you can, and always know they are eating cake with you, wherever they are.

Let the cake-eating begin!! 
xoxoxo Nancy

(Yes, I know this is a St. Patrick’s Day cake! I’m not good at this cake thing!!! xoxo)

AND Presenting….
GOING SHORT: THE AUDIOBOOK!

Listen exclusively on Audible NOW

For New Audible members: Listen for $0.00

Seriously!

Happy Reading and Writing (and Listening!)

P.S. Tell me what you think!! Nervous!

P.S.S. Head over to @apparelforauthors on Instagram this week, where I am talking all about writing and fashion!

Are You Taking Care of the Talent? (or My Biggest Takeaway from Costa Rica)

Thanks to everyone that virtually retreated with us last month! (Missed it? See photos here). And before we get too buzzy with spring activity, I want to share with you my biggest lesson/takeaway from our time together in Costa Rica:

Taking Care of the Talent

This is an industry term in the performing arts, something I first heard while getting ready backstage before a performance. I had asked an employee where I could get some water, and one minute later he showed up with an armful of bottled waters for the whole Green Room. Gotta take care of the talent, he said.

Wow, I thought. The talent. How fancy.

Seeing yourself as “the talent” might feel awkward, but in show biz it’s an easy distinction: multiple people can fetch water, but only ONE person is going to sing the opera, play the concerto, dance the ballet, or perform the stand-up set . And if that person can’t do their job: sing, play, dance or perform-–there’s no show.

For some, this concept can be downright uncomfortable. Many writers feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of other writers out there; we don’t feel special, we don’t feel like “the talent”–we feel like an ant in a swarm of ants all vying for one dropped crumb. 

But (and this part is really important!): we are the ONLY ones who can write our stories. 

Which means in a very real way: we are the talent.

“Taking care of the talent” became our unexpected mantra in Costa Rica. We all arrived fried, covid-fatigued, travel weary, and desperate for the promised “renew, recharge, reconnect”. And almost immediately shoulders dropped, jaws loosened, naps were taken, yoga was done. There was writing–oh yes, LOTS of deep, gorgeous, profound writing. But the most unexpected takeaway was remembering this simple fact: we cannot do our best work, we cannot achieve the heights and depths in our art, if we don’t take care of the talent. 

Self-care is a buzz word these days. But creative care, i.e. caring for the creative person in order to do the creative work, is about nourishing the vessel from which ideas must bubble up and through. If we are a conduit, a lightning rod from ether to earth, the channel by which ideas get down on a page (canvas, music sheet, etc), then we need to do some regular maintenance on the instrument itself.

In this case the instrument is you. 

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves what we need until we are desperate. Sometimes never. But, rather than wait until we collapse from burnout, we can ask ourselves this important question: Am I taking care of the talent? 

Costa Rica retreat, 2022

It became clear for me in Costa Rica that the answer was no. And, if I’m honest, I really never teach anything that I’m not also learning myself.So this season I’ll be taking my own advice and doing my own deep work, caring for the vessel in ways that are easily neglected in the deluge of daily life, and knowing that honoring my commitments to my own creative process will make me a better writer, teacher, and person on the other end. 

HERE’S WHAT I’M COMMITTING TO THIS SEASON (oh, the accountability of sharing it!): 

Daily Walks: This is something I do already, but I am going to make sure that at least 50% of the time I walk alone, chatting with my own creative thoughts (no podcasts!).

Journaling: I already journal every morning, but I’m also going to start using journaling as a transition into the actual writing (right now my journaling time is separate from my writing time).

Artist Dates: I forgot all about these! I need them! We all need them. Even just once a month–something that would delight you. And remember: they should always happen alone.

Napping: Seriously! Sometimes the best thing you can do for your creativity is take a nap. And let’s not forget when you nap you give yourself not one but TWO chances to wake up and write your dreams. Which leads to:

Sleep More: Folks, I’m getting ready for bed  by 9:30 these days. #notashamed #sleeprocks

Move Your Body: I was also reminded of this in Costa Rica–it’s not just about exercise, which is great. It’s about spending some time moving your body and listening to it. Our bodies are full of creative wisdom, if we listen.

Eat Regularly: I tell everyone who retreats with me to eat more and sleep more. Why? Often on a retreat the body is repairing all the damage done in previous months (or years!) For me, in this season, it means eating regularly. It’s too easy for me to sit at my desk for hours, sometimes forgetting to even drink water! Once our blood sugar is wonky (either from not eating or eating too much crap) we are not doing our best work.

Creative Check Ins: I have several people I call regularly (usually while walking) that are my creative check-in people. We chat about our lives, yes, but mostly when the phone rings, I know we are going to be talking about our writing. Having that level of focus with another creative person is extremely motivating, and I highly suggest finding a Creative Check-In Buddy (or three!).

The bottom line, as we awake from our winter slumber is this: Are you honoring the needs of the instrument that is you in order to do your best work? The opera singer takes two days off between performances. Even football players don’t practice on Mondays. 

So much of the writing happens before we ever get to the page! So here’s hoping you give yourself permission to take care of the talent that is you in whatever way your artist needs this season. Write. Rest. Nap. Maybe even schedule a massage. 

If anyone questions you, tell them I said you could!
xoxoxoxoox

Nancy

P.S. If you want accountability–feel free to share how you are committing to taking care of the talent this season! Reply below or come let me know on FB or IG!