Tag: professional

Are You Headed for Burnout?

Like so many other people, I was certain burnout would never happen to me. I loved writing. It was my calling and purpose to write these books, and burnout wouldn’t happen to someone who was doing God’s will.



Or else writing and independently publishing that series of biblical fictionalizations wasn’t God’s will for my life.

Because in the final weeks of editing the second book of the series, panic set in. You can read more about my request for extensions and my decision to forgo writing the fourth book in these other posts.

I persevered because I had to but the joy was gone.

And thanks to an insightful book by fellow author and writing coach Becca Syme, I might get off the slide before ending up in the pit.

As someone who’s been in the pit of depression, I tend to get claustrophobic even thinking about such a place of despair.

What is burnout?

There’s probably a definition for this somewhere. To me, it boils down to this:

Being emptied of the passion that once fueled creative endeavors

It probably looks different to a lawyer or businessperson who gets burned out. And I know it happens to pastors and doctors, not just people in the publishing industry.

Maybe it’s happening to you right now.

According to Becca Syme’s book, it happens when you use up all your energy stores.

Energy isn’t inexhaustible. We create a certain amount of energy to fuel our body every day. In fact, you eat food because your cells need energy, and conversely your brain activities and emotional functions feed on energy too.

If you consistently burn more energy than you have on hand, you’ll dip into your energy reserves. This is energy you stored on your last vacation, or when you took a nap every Saturday while the sun was shining.

Keep using more than you produce for weeks on end? If you aren’t taking time to replenish the stores, you’ll use them up. And when you do?


Who gets burned out?

Anyone can get burned out. This isn’t something only professionals or artists are susceptible to.

As Syme explains in her book, every person has a “plate” that they can fill with daily activities. And all people are NOT created equal when it comes to plate size.

She’s a CliftonStrengths coach, and she says a person’s strengths determine their plate size. Sizes range from one to ten, with most people having plates in the three to eight range.

You know that person who can do ninety different things with a smile on their face without ever seeming to get tired? They probably have a size nine plate.

Syme warns that once you suffer burnout, your plate size will be diminished for a while. It might even be permanently reduced.

That’s something a Type A person like myself doesn’t want to hear!

What? You mean I might have to slow down? Not do everything? But, no, that’s not possible. I must do all the things.

Except when I use up my energy stores. And emotional tolls make more impact on your energy stores than doing all the things.

Yes, I was on the slide and headed for burnout.

How to combat it

Have you ever tried to get off a slide once you started down it?

I haven’t. I mean, I might have considered it, but momentum took over and the next thing I knew, boom! I was at the bottom.

The slide into burnout is the same. Once you hit the point of no return. That moment when illness strikes or something big hits and zaps the remainder of your energy reserves.

Fortunately, I pulled back and started seeking information before that happened. Syme gives five areas to consider and reconfigure about the way we expend energy in order to “slow” the slope into the pit of burnout.

I’m hoping I might avoid the pit entirely. That’s why rather than working on rewrites and sending out my romance manuscript for beta input, I’m reading her book. And I’m brainstorming about:

  • What is my Why?
  • How do I define success?
  • How can I measure success according to that definition?
  • What do I need to quit?

And a multitude of other questions recommended in her book Dear Writer, Are You in Burn Out? If you think you might be on the slide, grab the book. Quick!

Syme is quick to recommend therapy, counseling and coaching for writers who pick up her book. I’m one of those people who tends to exhaust all avenues before seeking professional help.

Is that good or bad? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m seeing a glimmer of sunlight behind the thundercloud that’s been shrouding my creative spirit for several months.

Thanks, Becca. Your insight saved me from the pit.

What’s your plate size? Are you pushing past your energy limits on a consistent basis? Be careful, friend. Burnout CAN happen to you.

7 Must-Ask Questions to Find Your Perfect Book Editor – Part II

 I hope you haven’t been holding your breath for a week waiting for the second part of Kristen’s post on finding the perfect editor for your book. Waiting with bated breath is good. Holding your breath for a week? Not so much.

Now here’s Kristen with the rest of the questions that will help you in your editor search.

Go for it Kristen:

Last week I shared four of seven questions every author must ask to find the perfect editor for your manuscript. The first four questions are easy, focusing on narrowing your search to editors who offer the type of editing you need, who specialize in your genre, who have experience, and who have a portfolio and testimonials for you to look over.

Now, we’re getting into the serious stuff. By the end of this, you’ll have found the editor that’s right for you.

5. What is the editor’s attitude?

Real talk: There are too many editors to settle for one that doesn’t contribute to a healthy author-editor relationship. When you make first contact with an editor, pay attention to how they communicate.

  • Do they have time to talk to you on the phone about your project?
  • Is conversation with them easy, and do you see eye-to-eye with your plans for the book?
  • When you ask about their experience, are they open and communicative?
  • Do they seem excited about your project?

The author-editor relationship is famously collaborative, meaning if you don’t feel your editor is onboard 100%, move on to the next option. Your manuscript is understandably an important project—and usually a major part of your life. It deserves the respect of an engaged, enthusiastic editor.

6. Does the editor offer sample edits?

As you narrow your search for an editor, you may find several editors that may be a good fit for your project. Getting a sample edit is often the only way to know for sure which editor is right for you. Most editors will be happy to do a sample edit of 500-1000 words on your manuscript—just ask! Once you get the sample edit back, ask yourself:

  • Did the editor’s sample edit make a difference in your novel’s excerpt?
  • Do you feel that the edited material reads better than the original?
  • Pay attention to the editor’s stylistic choices, such as using em dashes (—), semicolons (;), and italics. Do you like their style? Do you feel like it’s right for your book?

The best editor will be able to match your writing style, so all editing changes will be seamless to your original writing. The final result will be a beautifully polished book, highlighting your skills as an author. 

7. What about contracts and pricing?

Before making the final decision, pay attention to two more important elements: if the editor offers a contract or written agreement, and if the price is reasonable.

As a book editor, I require a contract with every project, which provides the details of any editing project in writing, including the payments, editing services provided, and a confidentiality agreement. At the very least, protect yourself and ask the editor to provide a written agreement prior to you submitting payment or your manuscript.

Finally, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to selecting a book editor. The Editorial Freelancer’s Association’s Editorial Rates Chart is the gold standard for how much editing should cost, so make sure your editor falls in the ballpark. Generally, more experienced editors will charge more, while less experienced editors will charge less. You get what you pay for.

BONUS: Editing company or freelance editor?

Your search may turn up freelance editors, or editing companies—big difference between the two. Editing companies can have five or more editors on staff, several of whom will be working on your manuscript. Although multiple eyes on a document can be a good thing, conflicting editing styles and an inability to communicate freely with your editor may turn some authors off.

Generally, freelance editors own their own companies, take on fewer projects, and are the sole editor of your manuscript, meaning you’ll be working with one person (the editor) throughout the entire process. You’ll get to speak directly with the editor you’re working with and form a personal connection with her. That personal connection I make with the author is why I will always be a freelancer. Maybe I’m just biased. 😉

When you hire an editor, you’re paying them thousands of dollars and giving them the power to improve or destroy your work. Choose wisely!

Book manuscript editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of Kristen Corrects, Inc. , which provides manuscript editing services. Working independently allows Kristen the opportunity to interact with clients and provide them personalized service. There is nothing better than communication and friendliness in a business world that is slowly becoming less focused on people. 

Kristen is included in the 2014 Guide to Self-Publishing and the 2015 Guide to Self-Publishing, both published by the prestigious Writer’s Digest. She is also part of the credible Writer’s Market, Publishers Marketplace, and Editorial Freelancers Association and plays a pivotal role as senior editor at Modern Gladiator magazine.

Reading is Kristen’s passion, so when the workday is over, she can usually be found curled up with a good book (alongside her three cats, Sophie, Charlie, and Jack). She loves pizza, cat videos, watching The Bachelor, and traveling, and is likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, Idaho.

What are your personal experiences in working with editors? What advice can you offer readers?

My Appointment with Dr. Doom

This week hasn’t gone according to plan. And that really shouldn’t surprise any of us. But when someone suggests I need an appointment with Dr. Doom?

Blog posts are born.

If you’re at all interested in the Marvel Comic Universe (and you probably realize I follow it through the films), what comes to your mind when you hear the name Dr. Doom?

Victor Von Doom the supervillain who is the archnemesis of the Fantastic Four.

If you’re not a fan of those comics, maybe you have a totally different thought.

Here are a few of mine:

Just No

There are some names that doctors should not have.

When I was in high school I dated a college guy who wanted to be a doctor.

His last name was Gouge.

As in Doctor-Gouge-out-your-eyes


And a gynecologist named Doom? I’m pretty sure that’s not any better.

I’m in the delivery room, getting ready to push a baby into the world. My doctor isn’t there yet, so the hospital sends out a page.

Over the intercom everyone hears: “Dr. Doom to delivery room four. Dr. Doom your patient is ready to deliver.”

My child is going to be guided into the world by Dr. Doom?


Rules for Doctor Names

In this world where the government seems to have a say about everything else, I figure we may as well install some rules about names doctors can have.

After all, doctors are healers. They are supposed to inspire a sense of confidence in their patients.

When they step in to the exam room, hold out a hand and say, “I’m Dr. Doom. It’s nice to meet you” that doesn’t exactly happen.

After you banish pictures of Juilan McMahon from your mind (who this woman in front of you obviously is NOT),

your brain starts the chant.

Doom. Doom. Doom.

It’s the drumbeat telling you to escape while you still can.

Tell me, would you want to be treated by Dr. Payne? Dr. Hurt? Dr. Dent? Dr. Fang? Dr. Rash?

Maybe a surgeon named Dr. Skinner would send you screaming from the room. Or Dr. Lynch? Dr. Slaughter? Dr. Kilgore? Dr. Blood?

Some names would make you scratch your head, wondering if it was a sign or portent of things to come. Names like Dr. Kwak, Dr. Stasik, Dr. Gutman or Dr. Lecher.

My Sad Story

I didn’t actually get to meet Dr. Doom. The emergency room physician referred me to her, but she was booked for this week.

I had to see her associate, Dr. Rangle. And no, she didn’t have to wrangle me into the stirrups or hog tie me. Regardless of what her name implies.

Have you ever met a doctor whose name instilled something other than confidence? Share your stories below.

I’m off to Hawaii in the morning, but my blogs will still appear while I’m gone. I promise to fill you in if anything noteworthy happens while I’m basking under the Waikiki sunshine.

But I’m really hoping for an uneventful trip. Wouldn’t want to have to see Dr. Doom when I get back.

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