Monday Mayhem – Germination

In my last post, I talked about my burnout. In this one, I’d update you on my recovery, and what I have discovered.

I may have mentioned it in my previous post, but I had a bit of an, “Ah-ha!” moment while watching Becca Syme’s QuitCast videos.

Becca is a Gallup certified strengths coach, but she is also an author and a member of the Romance Writers of America. She started talking about burnout issues because most of the authors she speaks to started listing the same worries/concerns.

I won’t go into detail about burnout and all the things she said that spoke to me and the way I was feeling about my writing career. I’ll just tell you that I connected with it enough to sign up for a class she was offering that helps authors identify their top five strengths (according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder) and works with them in a coaching capacity author-to-author.

Here are my five: Input|Relator|Empathy|Achiever|Responsibility

There’s quite a bit of logic behind each of these strength labels, but for the most part, they are self-explanatory. Since the Gallup and Becca’s definitions are copyrighted material, I’ll just give you my hot take on them.

Input – High input people need to take in a lot of information. They don’t necessarily become experts in everything they learn, but they store it away for future reference. I attribute my vast store of movie quotes, superior Trivial Pursuit skills, and ability to sing every word of a song I haven’t heard in 20 years to this strength.

Relator – This means I need to have a strong connection to the people closest to me. I don’t gather friends everywhere I go, but the ones I have are close and well-chosen. I think this may be why I like to include close-knit groups of friends in my stories.

Empathy – I’m good at reading the room. Whether it’s an individual, or a general consensus, I pick up on vibes pretty easily. Which may explain why the negative onslaught we’ve been enduring since 2016 has been overwhelming for me. This is why I have retreated from most social media and holed up in my blanket fort.

Achiever – The name pretty much says it all. I am compelled to complete tasks. If there’s a list, I must tick off the boxes. Like all of these traits, this can also become a weakness. This is why I broke up with my Apple watch. I don’t think it’s healthy to cuss a piece of wearable technology for not giving me stand credit for hours I know I was on my feet. Yeah….

Responsibility – I’m just a girl who can’t say no. Okay, I can, but I don’t very often, and that weighs on me. I am your get it done girl. Once I agree to something, I have to see things through. But when it’s a situation where I have to rely on others to do their part, well… it can take a toll too.

So, yeah, I’ve been talking to Becca about where these traits are working for me, and where I may not be using them to my best advantage. We’re also talking strategy for dealing with those moments when my strengths become a weakness.

So here is my self-portrait for the week:

I’m still not writing, but now my not writing is purposeful. I’m refilling my input well, and hunkering down with those people who help me generate good energy. I’ve made my blanket fort a safe space for the plot bunnies to come and play. I feed my achiever by taking notes on all the happy writing-related stuff I want to keep for later. And I am learning to identify those tasks that I truly own, rather than simply taking responsibility for everything.

I feel good. I feel optimistic. I feel like my writing career will go on for many years to come. Perhaps not at the breakneck speed of the first 10 years, but that’s okay. I’m playing the long game now.

If you are looking for me, one of the places I’ve been hanging out at the most lately is on The Corner of Smart & Sexy. It’s just me and some fabulous author friends talking books and playing silly games. Join us there! You never know who you may run into…

12 Replies to “Monday Mayhem – Germination”

  1. I am glad you are finding ways to recharge and reflect. It seems like the talk helped. When you write it, I will come (to read.)

  2. When you were listing your five I thought you were talking about me because we are identical. The only thing I have gotten better about is saying No. If I truly dont want to do something, I have actually started to say no. Feels great!

    Great idea to refuel! There is no race line and you already have a hell of a backlist. I love that you see an issue and seek to fix it. You are an incredible lady.

    1. You and me, we go together like celery and cream cheese. But no raisins, because that would make us ants on a log, and I know how you feel about ants.

  3. Sounds like you’re absorbing some excellent, thoughtful advice. Even though I have absolutely no credentials, I’m going to give you one more thing to try. Go back and re-read some of your own stuff, especially things that you wrote so long ago you don’t even remember it. I predict that you will exit the reading session with a jaunty smile and pride in your step, thinking “Damn! I really can write!” That’s something we all know, but sometimes you need to remind yourself. Because – damn, girl! – you really can write!!! And take your time to recharge – there’s no deadline here.

    1. Thank you, Carol. I’m horrible about going back to look at my own stuff. Maybe I will one day. Will you hold me while I read? 😉

  4. I wrote a comment earlier but it seems to have disappeared. Anywho, to summarize, I think you’re amazing and brave to share your struggles, and I’m so glad you took the time you needed to work through the obstacles standing in your way. I’m confident you’ll find the words when you’re ready. I believe in you! xo

    1. Thank you, my Note! You are the yin to my yang. The pepper to my salt. Dare I say it? The jelly to my peanut butter? (You have to be the jelly, because…fruit)

  5. Thanks for sharing, Margaret. And thanks for telling me about Becca’s videos. The Quit Cast has given me a lot to think about. 😘

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