Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slacker or Burnout?

So, hello everyone. (chirp-chirp-chirp)

Okay, yes, I deserved that, I guess. I've been a slacker. But not completely.

I'm burnt out. On so many things, that I haven't had much joy or even energy to do anything that isn't absolutely necessary. I run my Urchins to their thousand things. I work with the three-year-olds from the Black Lagoon.  I take care of the house. I participate on the committees. I work on trying to schedule those crazy outdoor educational days that I plan, create, organize and run for my daughters' two schools. I toil for the blue-haired-old ladies.

Monday afternoon I went into Youngest Urchin's second grade class and crushed soda cans with air pressure and forced hard boiled eggs into jars using nothing but air. Taught about the water cycle in cool and innovative ways. But it felt like a chore. And I LOVE science. Especially when I get to teach it to young 'uns.

I'm crispy.

My writing is stalling, though part of that is due to waiting for feedback from two crit partners, but I know I should be plotting the next book and jumping on the edits I already received back. But, I'm tired and fatigued with the story and I have to take the Urchins to their next stop and...and...and...

I haven't even finished blogging about my camping vacation from back in July. And I promise you, more happened than just goat-reeking devil phone poles. There was the terrible journey to the unholy land of hideous mumus. Not to mention the sadistic torture of marshmallow Peeps. But do you see the name up there? Tongue in Cheek. I just haven't been able to find the fun, let alone channel it. So I haven't blogged.

I've had some good news. I got nice feedback from an editor at Harlequin on the first 500 words of my book. I'm headed to the NJRW conference next week and will be pitching it to either an agent or editor. But I'm not nervous or even excited about that prospect.

I've been doing a bunch of taking care of others, but not myself. Which is my M.O.

So instead of bringing you along with me to that unholy land I mentioned earlier, I'll leave you with an excerpt from the end of chapter 4 in A Shot At Forever. The hero, Ethan, just broke up an ugly situation at the pool table where Sheridan's marks figured out she was hustling them. Instead of running her out of town like she expects, he asks her to dinner.

            She froze. He could tell that wasn’t what she’d expected him to say as she slowly turned to face him. Even with her eyes narrowed in distrust, he couldn’t stop thinking how pretty she was. Tapping her hat against her leg, she regarded him for a moment. He held his breath and hoped like hell he passed muster. Her gaze drifted down his entire frame before leisurely traveling back up and Ethan felt the pass of her eyes clear to his bones.
“Sorry, but I never mix business with pleasure.” She settled the hat on her head and turned to go.
            “But what about last night?”
She stopped but didn’t turn fully toward him. “Last night I didn’t know you were a lawman.”
Certain he’d never see her again if she walked out that door, he heaved in a deep breath and laid his cards on the table. “Look, yes, I’m the sheriff. But I wouldn’t be taking you out as the sheriff. I’d be taking you out because as a man, I recognize you’re the best thing that’s walked in here in more years than I can count, and after having you in my arms I can’t imagine never getting to do that again.”
He winced when he heard how that sounded. Tugging off his cowboy hat, he dragged his fingers through his hair before moving to face her head on. “I think you’re a helluva woman, Sheridan, and I’d be honored if you’d let me take you to dinner.” He looked steadily into her hazel eyes and silently willed her to see the earnest plea he knew resounded in his own.
            As her sharp assessing gaze took the measure of him, he stood stock still, gripping his hat with bloodless fingers. Confusion and what looked like hope flashed briefly over her features before they went blank and stony again.
            “Sorry Sheriff, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
            Ethan clasped her hand in his. “Please, Sheridan. At least let me buy you a drink to show you the whole town isn’t like that bunch of jackasses you played pool with tonight.”
            She bit her lip as she turned and looked at the exit, then back down to where their hands were connected. Her gaze slowly traveled up the length of his arm, finally reaching his face. As she stood there looking up at him through her lashes, a surge of emotions he thought long dead crashed through his body.
            Gently, Sheridan pulled her hand away, and it was all he could do not to snatch it back. Still biting her lip, she regarded him with a hopeful expression, but it didn’t last. A deep sadness fell over her face, weighing down her shoulders, and then that blank mask was back. Ethan’s heart sank as she pulled her cowboy hat down over her forehead, shadowing her eyes from his view.
            “Thanks, but no thanks…Ethan.” Her last word was softer than the others, but it hit him like a hammer blow. Before he could respond, she disappeared into the crowd.

Hope you guys are taking better care of yourself than I am. Until next time, Citizens where we venture into truly unholy lands.


Liz Blocker said...

Ok, first of all, I LOVE that excerpt. Beautifully done. Vulnerable and sweet and utterly believable. And even better to have your heroine not be able to get over her own demons and say yes. So, really well done.

Second, please, please, please take a break and take care of yourself. Of course you can't write - you're totally depleted. It's painted over every word of this post. Take that as an order. Like I'm a mystical captain of Self-Care or something.

Really. You deserve it. Please do.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Oh geez, I'll go out to dinner with Ethan.
Glad to see you back in the blog-sphere. Have fun at NJ

Unknown said...

Aaah! Love that excerpt! That poor man is head over heels and Sheridan isn't even bothered. Ha! Make 'em hurt, girl, lol! And whatever you do, please: take some time for yourself. Buy a nice bottle of wine and turn your phone off. Or get a hotel room just for yourself for the night. Or take a half day. Whatever it is, do something so that you can have some time to breathe and get back to writing mode. You owe it to yourself!

Carol Kilgore said...

I totally get burnout. It looks like me. Have a great time at NJRW. Get recharged :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You need a vacation for YOU. And not one with marshmallow peeps or torture. Your cup has run dry - time to refresh.
Good luck at the conference!

Pat Hatt said...

Wow, that sounds like quite the pile of things. Need a vacation from life, quick lol

The Happy Whisk said...

Hope you get refreshed and your energy back. Sounds like you need some serious recharge time. But I'm new here so I don't know because you said your MO was to tend to others.

But there's a reason they airplane people tell them moms to put on their air masks first.

Hope you feel better soon.

Melissa said...

I've been burned out lately, too, so I understand. I've handled it by trimming back on blogging and social media, etc. Not so easy to trim the stuff 'in real life.' Sounds like you need a break from everything you can take a break from. Then, after you've had a rest, reevaluate which of those things is most important to you and take back on a few select things.

In any case, seasons like these are normal for writers. Don't let it get you down. Ride it out and do what you have to do. Hugs.

Melissa said...

Sheesh - almost forgot. LOVE the excerpt! Excellent!!! :)

Loni Townsend said...

Awwww! That was a fantastic excerpt. :)

I hope things calm down and some cosmic power surge funnels energy into your body.

Chemist Ken said...

There's nothing wrong from taking a break from writing every once in a while, especially after everything you've been doing. The conference will recharge you into writing again. So in the meantime, let the creative part of your brain take a rest.

Sherry Ellis said...

Nice excerpt! It's hard to juggle everything, isn't it?

Sherry Ellis said...

Nice excerpt! It's hard to juggle everything, isn't it?

Julie Flanders said...

Really enjoyed the excerpt! And congrats on the good feedback from Harlequin. Take care and hang in there, I can relate to feeling so burned out.

Unknown said...

I feel sorry for you - you do entirely too much. I'm trying to double my writing output and must admit I'm feeling burned out too, and what I do is nothing compared to what you do. Find time for yourself. You deserve it.

A Beer for the Shower said...

We all need a little break some time. Enjoy it and come back recharged - it's all you can do. Either that, or get burnt out completely.

Also, great excerpt. I really love the tension between them. It's believable, and the dialogue is solid.

SK Anthony said...

Great excerpt! I liked the tension :)

We all need breaks. Please take one before you really do burn out completely. Hugs :D

Ava Quinn said...

Thanks for all your kind words, guys. I needed to hear them more than you know!

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