Tuesday, May 11

When The Fire Burns Low

I haven't been writing much lately.

I love writing. Next to horses, it's my passion.

But lately, it seems more of a chore than a joy.

I'm worried.
I used to be passionate about horse 4-H. I led a club for ten years, coached horsebowl and hippology (Greek for horse and study) for fifteen years. I still help out the state-bound teams. But the fire is gone. The old burning drive to be the best, to lead teenage girls (and the occasional boy) to do their absolute best, it's not there anymore. However, if a group of kids were to come to me for help, it'd be hard to turn them away....

I used to be passionate about country music. Singing? God, no. I can't carry a note in a basket. But concerts? I loved them. I braved Country Jam four years in a row, and I have the lines on my face from the sun to prove it. I loved Vince Gill so much that I traveled across the state three times to see him at State Fair. But I haven't been to a concert in years. If someone were to give me tickets to see anyone but Vince, I'd turn them down.

So why don't I love horsebowl and concerts any more? Is it because I was so overboard with both that I burned myself to the ground, as my friend Kim says? Partly. I don't do things halfway. I go balls to the wall, or since I don't actually have male anatomy, all the way all the time. I don't like half way or half done.

So why the burnout on writing? I still love it, but the fire isn't as hot as it once was. Partly, it's the time frame. I love to write, but I've always wanted to be published. I have always wanted my name on the cover. After eighteen years, the flame is a bit dim.

As you can tell from my years as a 4-H leader, and my concert chasing days, I don't quit easy. But I have to say that eighteen years, going on nineteen now, with no contract to call my own is a bit hard on the Constitution, as my grandma Margaret used to say.

I need something to get this flickering ember to burst into a full flame before it dies altogether.

How's your fire? Still burning hot?


  1. D'Ann I can sooooo appreciate your comemnts. I'm in burnout, the well is empty mode myself at the moment. I think we have to accept that we will have these 'moments' when we can't DO IT ALL. We have to be kind to ourselves, give ourselves permission to take time out. For me the hardest thing to do is to stop and just read a book, which given that i'm a writer is absurd. But it's true. So right now, I'm battling on, just a few lines a day, not my usual couple of thousand, and that's ok, then i just pick up a book and read. So why don't you turn the stereo up full blast now and again and listen to the music.

    Jane Beckenham

  2. You're not alone in this. Even though I still have the fire, I can't write fast anymore and that was a hard, hard pill to swallow. But I think you have to keep putting some words to paper--okay, to screen--nearly every day, because you're going to need those embers when the fire comes back full force. 'Cause it will.


  3. Burnt out... maybe you are just tired and need a break from everything. Passion burns and consumes everything. Do you still feel the same burning passion for your husband? your family? The feelings are there, just banked for the long haul. Take time out and just journal for a while and let the feelings come back. Think of what inspired you to start writing, was it a book, a dream? Remember it and re-live it.

    You can write and you do tell a story. Don't ever forget it.

  4. Hey you,

    I get burnt out too on things. I do have one question. Were you gearing towards NY House publishing for contracts or digital publishing.

    I don't write everyday, more like every other but I continue to push myself even if it's only 500 words. Do you do any timed writing for fun, or just write for the hell of it? Sometimes that's a great remedy for stress or blocks.

    Why don't you ding me off line and we can re stoke your fire!

  5. D'Ann, you've got what it takes....you're going to make it, I have no doubts. Borrow my Bic Lighter anytime you need a fire starter. =)

  6. I think we all go through burnout stages with our writing. For me, if I switch genres and just do something totally out of my norm. It may not be the best thing I've ever written, but its fresh and new, and that helps fan the fire.

  7. PS. Love the pic of your home and horses.

  8. D'Ann -

    I agree with Carol in that our passion for all things lags at times. My DH & I call it being "off kilter." What I find is that you have to recognize that you're off kilter before you can do anything about it.

    I do feel your pain because I've been off kilter for at least a year and have had a fantasy or two about lying around, watching movies and eating bon bons lately :). Just know that your dedication and continued commitment to writing is an inspiration to a lot of folks - me included!


  9. Hi, D! I think, like the other peeps commenting, that it's probably that old standard - burn out. No sage words of advice other than these: Your writing is good. Really good. You will sell, I have faith - in both your writing and your determination to get where you want to be.

  10. D'ann, I can totally relate to how you're feeling because I'm feeling the same way at the moment. My motivation has flat-lined and I don't even know if I want to try to resuscitate it. I did have a few e-books published along the way but since e-books are only 1% of the market...well you get the picture. I've been knocking on NY's door since 1987 with no answer and I'm just about ready to hang up my keyboard.


  11. When does perseverance become bone-headedness? Don't know, but I sympathize. Ninteen years at writing without the tangible verification of a contract would deflate the most ardent of dreamers. I would say, look for the joy. If horses bring you joy, spend time with them. If baking cookies brings you joy, do it. When you look at your writing, try to find what gave you joy in those early years. Forget about the market for the time being and just write for fun. Even if no one else reads a word, your time will have been well spent, feeding your creativity, renewing your spirit. If you decide to give it up, that's okay too. Sometimes we have to accept "no" and move on. I wish you joy in whatever choice you make.

  12. We live in an era of shortened attention spans. People used to stay at their job for 40 years and collect a pension. Now they say people hold 4 different careers (not just jobs, but Careers!) in a lifetime. There are so many more choices open to us in today's world, and the waxing and waning of passions reflects that. Don't beat yourself up. If you aren't having fun, stop for a while. See if absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  13. Kinda weird--I left a comment before, but it went away. Oh, well, you've got what it takes,D'Ann. Sometimes it's just all lousy.

    Your horses, BTW, are gorgeous!