There was no blog post last week. It was an intentional, yet difficult decision to take a vacation from the blogging business. Writing, like everything thing else that isn’t rest, can feel like work. I spent a week not working on Loud Coffee Press and it was the first week I've ever done so since this business began. (Okay, that’s mostly true - I made an Instagram reel, but let’s not count it.)
Wednesday - blog day - rolled around, and the "work" part of me wanted to write a blog post that said, “there’d be no blog post this week, and it’s intentional! We didn’t forget!” Then I realized how defeatist that was. The only person I was hurting in that scenario was myself.
Sometimes, I work so hard that I forget to rest. I can’t be the only one. In fact, I know I’m not. In a recent chat with a friend, we briefly discussed how it’s always, “finish one project to move onto the next,” because, “there’s only so much time to fit in everything you want to accomplish in this life.”
I’ve been in this space before. It’s not a great place to be. Do you know this space? It’s often referred to as burnout. While I’m not burned out, so to speak, I’m feeling a little incendiary around work, so I’m getting ahead of things and cooling myself before I spark.
Burnout is a form of exhaustion that results from constantly feeling overwhelmed. It tends to happen as the result of prolonged physical, mental, or emotional stress, and is often related to one’s work environment. Some common signs include self-doubt, feeling helpless or detached, loss of motivation, cynicism, and more.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed. For the sake of the obligational disclaimer, I have to say this blog certainly isn't to be taken as medical advice. However, here's a self-assessment that I've found helpful to help you figure out where you might land on the burnout spectrum.
The Maslach Burnout Inventory, or MBI has been viewed as a leading measure of burnout since its initial publication almost four decades ago. (Here's a link to a free version.)The MBI has subsets for different groups of people; for example there's the MBI-HSS (MP) that can help assess measures of burnout in medical personnel. The MBI-ES is for use in educators. Then, there's MBI-GS for general use. If you dig into one of the scales, say, the MBI-GS, for example, you'll find that it breaks down into three components; to look deeper at burnout, it will assess exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy. All of these components contribute to burnout, and affect different areas that interplay with burnout.
Any-who, back to the main topic: me. Just kidding (sort of). I got tired last week and took a week off from this blog. It was an actual, legitimate vacation. There's a Loud Coffee Press magazine coming due soon, but it will be delayed by two weeks from what would be its typical release date. That's okay, because our efforts recently went to Flower-Shaped Bullet, the new anthology chapbook that recently went live, and our seemingly never-ending work to get Eight Bells Bluff going on Kickstarter. At our core and in our hearts, we are a literary magazine, and we're not willing to compromise quality to put out a less-than version of the magazine. If it must wait two extra weeks, then so be it.
Maybe that's a long-winded way of saying it's okay to be human. Maybe this blog post is a little rambly, because I'm a little rambly right now. I'll get back to top form in no time - I'm not worried, I'm not scared, and I don't even feel like taking a burnout inventory because I don't think there's any real risk here. I'm half of a team of two, and we're like everyone else trying to make our way in the creative world - one art at a time, doing our best.
Feeling a little hot around the edges? Hit that heart in a show of solidarity. "Vent" about it below. And I can't think of a pun for this last one, but feel free to...