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The Random Rambling Blog of author Alannah Foley - aka The Pyjama Writer
  • Alannah Foley

The BURNOUT Chronicles - Part 2: Getting my Mojo Back

Updated: Oct 6

In Part 1, I told you the story of how my dream of becoming a self-published author who earns a living off her work went somewhat awry. If you missed it, click here to read it.


QUICK SUMMARY of the story so far…


I'd written three books in my mystery series, but they weren't exactly flying off the shelves - certainly, they weren't selling in the numbers I needed to achieve my dream of earning a living writing. And I'd heard this inner voice telling me to just stop all the clamouring to achieve that. After doing a reader survey, I was shocked to find that the larger portion of readers on my mailing list just wasn't engaged.


So what did I do next and how did I get my writing mojo back?


For a start off, I culled my mailing list in an attempt to get rid of disengaged freebie seekers.


Then I took some time out from writing my mystery series. I needed to stop all the trying, and I had to stop all this avid marketing and get back into play mode with my writing again instead of worrying about outlines and where I'd fit my red herrings in.


So for a good few months there, I just pottered with my writing and took the pressure off.


TRAVEL MOJO


Cover: Up a Creek Down Under

Later in the year, I made a return visit to my Australian birthplace with my partner Steve, and I took along my notebook. I had no plans whatsoever to write about the trip, but somehow en route, my writing mojo unexpectedly came back with a vengeance. And after my return to England, I wrote a humorous account called Up a Creek Down Under, based on my book of scribbled notes, which I published at the start of 2019. I also entered the book in an international writing competition and reached the semi-finals.


YAY!


NEW APPROACH


Importantly after my spot of burnout, I made a decision. I was never going to get burnout again, and I was going to work at a more realistic, sane pace. So when I wrote Up a Creek Down Under, I got rid of my old word count targets. Those just stressed me out. With my eye continually on the numbers and the clock, I didn't enjoy my writing nearly as much.


In addition, I put my highest focus on publishing a quality book and stopped worrying about how quickly I got the next book out.


In any case, since Up a Creek Down Under, I've written a few short stories and worked on a series of fairy tale-inspired adventures. And I'm pleased to say I've published three books this year (2021), the last in August.


REASSESSING THIS YEAR (2021)


I was planning to release my next book in November. But a few things happened to make me take stock once again…


Firstly, as I worked on my old draft, the book grew much longer than anticipated. So it became obvious that my deadline was unrealistic if I wanted to write at that relaxed & sane pace I alluded to.


Secondly, with three books out now, it was time to add some new tasks to my 'to do' list. I needed to find readers who would like and buy what I was writing, so I took a Bookbub ads course and started working on advertising graphics, etc. This took a fair bit of time out of my week, and there's more still to do.


Thirdly, my chap Steve took a couple of weeks off work in September, and since I was slap-bang in the middle of my book (plus working part time and trying to learn advertising!), I felt I couldn't take the time off to spend it with him.


All of this happening at once was a mini wake-up call. I couldn't fit everything in, which meant something had to give. So I took a step back, reflected on my aims, and reviewed my schedule.


I've since decided to put off the release date for my next book until the new year and give myself time to market the books that are already out.


The situation has also made me realise I need to allow myself some time out to recharge my own batteries - to pursue other interests that tickle my fancy and focus on my fitness.


So at the end of the day, the news is all good…


But sorry, readers, you will have to wait a little longer for that next book! I'll keep you posted and let you know when the end is in sight and we approach a launch date. (And for those of you who aren't sure what the book is, it's Wolf at the Door.)

Covers for my Fairy Tale Fiction series

Well, there you have it. Thus endeth The Burnout Chronicles.


When I need a break from my other priorities, I plan to slot in the odd blog post. Otherwise, posts will be infrequent - on an 'as and when basis'.


If you'd like to be the first to hear what's going on in my writing world, why not join my VIP Readers Group? (I don't current have a subscribe option for my blog - I'm keeping it low maintenance. Removing subscriptions and commenting means one less thing for me to keep an eye on!)

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This blog gives me a space to ramble on about stuff that doesn't fit in anywhere else. Might be about my author journey, might be some other random topic that's caught my attention or popped into my head. More posts to come, but I'll basically slip them in when I need a break from my main priorities. I hope you'll find something useful or enjoyable in here.

Meanwhile, to find out what works are on my shelf right now, visit the Pyjama Writer website.