Wordy Wednesday: Don’t Burn Out

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post.

Happy Wednesday!

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I wrote a post for The Book Creators on balancing writing with school. Since then, I’ve found it’s a topic a lot of people are invested in* (because, let’s be real, SCHOOL). I’ve also been finding myself a little tiny bit extremely stressed by my schedule for the semester.

I’m not going to go into all the details of what I’m up to, because a) that would be boring and b) it would likely result in me rolling around on the floor moaning. But I will tell you that yesterday I was either doing homework, at class, at a meeting, or working from 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM. Straight. And I honestly should have done more when I got home last night, but I hadn’t had a break since Saturday afternoon, so I decided to hang out with my roommate for a bit then crash early instead.

The last part of that paragraph is important. I’d been working nonstop for about three and a half looong days. And although I enjoy (most of) what I do, after that I was tired and out of it and heading in the direction of depressed.

In my Book Creators post, I mentioned avoiding burnout. Last night, I needed to take my own advice.

You can only do so much before you’ve done too much. It can be hard to justify taking breaks to yourself and others when there’s still so much to be done. Like, last night I was wondering why I deserved to go to bed early when I should’ve been reading for my internship, or working on homework, or—at the least—cleaning my sorta gnarly room. However, this kind of thinking is toxic. I was at the point where my brain NEEDED rest.

Let me say this plain: If you NEED a break, you DESERVE a break.

It doesn’t matter how often your best friend or your boss or that really annoyingly successful kid from your high school takes breaks. Everyone’s bodies and brains work differently. You take a break when YOU need one.

And everyone relaxes in different ways. You might like going for runs, or hanging out with friends, or binge-watching Netflix alone in your room with a plate of nachos. It doesn’t matter what works for you, as long as you’re aware of what it is and make time for that activity.

I’m doing a lot better today. After going to bed early last night, I naturally woke up early too, so I decided to work out before my shower. Also because I was up early, I had time to make my lunch before leaving for the day, and because of THAT, between classes I had time to hike all the way out to the Arb (our local nature preserve) to eat by the river and relax. And even then I finished eating earlier than I otherwise would have, so now I’m fitting in this Wordy Wednesday at 1:00 PM instead of midnight.

Today is a really good day, and it’s happening because I let myself take that break last night. And the funny thing is, even though I still have all that work looming over me, I’m far less stressed about it now than I was at 10:00 PM last night.

Burnout is real and it is scary. Don’t let it happen to you.

Now, I’m off to hike a little more in the Arb before I have to leave for class. Because that’s a way I relax and you know what? I deserve it (and you do too).

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

*The wonderful and talented Joan He and Ava Jae have made awesome reaction posts/videos with some of their own tips. Check Joan’s post out here and Ava’s here.

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Ch1Con Blog Tour: Interview with Ava Jae!

It’s finally my turn to host a tour stop for the 2015 Chapter One Young writers Conference blog tour!

For anyone who doesn’t know, Ch1Con is a writing conference both for and by teens and young adults. Our 2015 event will take place Saturday, August 8th in Arlington Heights, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago. 2015 registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers from a middle school to undergraduate level and at an early bird discount price of $39.99. Our speakers will include YA author Kat Zhang (The Hybrid Chronicles, HarperCollins), renowned freelance editor Taryn Albright of The Girl with the Green Pen, and YA/NA author Ava Jae (Beyond the Red, Sky Pony Press).

Instead of me spending my tour stop rambling endlessly about the conference (because let’s face it, I do that enough anyway), I figured you might appreciate learning about one of our speakers instead. So, say hello to the one and only Ava Jae!

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetAva Jae is a YA and NA writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel.
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    Your debut novel, BEYOND THE RED, comes out with Sky Pony Press in spring, 2016. What was the process like for getting your publishing deal?
    Oh boy. I’ll give you the super abbreviated version: I wrote nine books, queried four of them (one of them twice, several years apart), put them away, wrote a tenth book which ended up being BEYOND THE RED, swapped with critique partners, revised, revised, revised, started querying again, entered a randomly-chosen blog contest, won runner-up in said blog contest which led to a request from my awesome agent, signed with her, revised tons more (and more, and more), went on submission…and finally announced the publishing deal October 2014. 🙂
      When did you start writing? Was it with the goal of someday publishing a novel, or just for fun?
      I kind of started twice? The first time I was eleven and wrote I think maybe fifty pages before I lost interest and forgot about it. Second time I was thirteen, and it evolved from “I’m going to write this story that popped in my head” to “I’m going to write this book” to “I’m going to get this published.” By the time I’d finished that book, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be an author. And so began many years of writing and querying…
        Besides being an up-and-coming author, you’re also currently a college student, assistant editor for Entangled Publishing, and prolific blogger and vlogger. How do you balance all of that? What does your average day look like?
        I mean, my day kind of varies depending on my school schedule. Some consistent things: I get up between 5:00-5:30 AM every day, get as much writing/blogging/homework/editing things done as I can before class, go to class, and try to relax after class if I can (because usually I’m too tired to do anything else).
          The only way to do it, really, is to have a set schedule. On days I have not as much class, I focus on getting as much homework and writing/blogging stuff as I can. I write posts every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, edit and schedule posts every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, film vlogs every Saturday or Sunday, edit vlogs every Friday-Monday, and catch up on whatever I need to over the weekend on Wednesdays. When I get an editing deadline for work, I make sure to be honest with my boss about when I can realistically get things done (so important!). I schedule things out way ahead of time, divide work up throughout the week, and keep a to-do list that I check off every day.
            Over the summer it’s much easier without classes to worry about. *sigh*
              What are some of your interests outside of the publishing world?
              Movies! I love movies. Fun fact: I actually have an Associates in Film/Digital Media and went to a fancy art school for a year to pursue a degree in Visual Effects (like, all that CGI stuff). I also really love drawing and digital art—I used to do a ton of digital paintings on Photoshop, and while I haven’t had time lately, I’m hoping to pick that up again over the summer. I’m pretty artsy I guess. 🙂
                If you could change or improve one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be?
                I mean, I guess I wish it was easier to make a living with your writing? Because it’s super super super difficult. But it’s pretty well known that you don’t go into the publishing industry to make tons of money—it’s a labor of love. And ramen.
                  Your writing is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. What’s your favorite part of working with your literary agent?
                  Revisions! (I’m probably going to regret saying this—hi, Louise!) But seriously, I really do love revising even when I’m banging my head against the keyboard trying to figure out how to fix a plot hole. And Team Fury is ridiculously awesome when it comes to getting great revision suggestions. Also, Louise’s enthusiasm for every book is pretty awesome. It’s kind of impossible for me to have a conversation with her that doesn’t make me really excited and happy, which is pretty much the best thing. 🙂
                    If you could give one piece of advice to young writers, what would it be?
                    Don’t set a deadline for yourself. For years I was determined to get published before Christopher Paolini (I’m competitive, okay?), and that didn’t happen, and it was pretty hard to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be a published (or agented) teenager.
                      Don’t do that to yourself. Take time to hone your craft, to write the most amazing books possible, to learn how to become a better writer, and develop a thick skin, and get to really know the publishing industry. You already have the advantage of starting early in life—now use the extra time you have to become the best possible and don’t worry about getting published before you turn twenty. I promise you’ll be just as happy at twenty-five or thirty or whenever it happens for you.
                        And lastly: Where can people find you online?
                        Everywhere! I’m on Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, YouTubePinterest and Goodreads. I am the social media.
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                          Thanks for letting me interview you, Ava! I’m so excited to hear you speak at the conference.
                            Ava has very kindly offered to give away a query and first five page critique as part of the tour stop. Check it out at the link below!

                              AWESOME CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY RIGHT OVER HERE!

                              If you’re a writer from middle school to undergraduate age (approximately twelve to twenty-two) and are interested in attending and/or learning more about the conference, you can check us out at the links below. Early bird registration ends May 31st!

                              Website: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
                              Twitter: @Ch1Con
                              Tumblr: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
                              YouTube: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
                              Pinterest: Chapter One YW Conference
                              Facebook: Chapter One Young Writers Conference

                              The Chapter One Young Writers Conference.
                              Every story needs a beginning. This is ours.

                              ~Julia