Everyone is burned out these days. But authors tend to be especially busy people, even in non-crisis times. But now, we’ve had two years of pandemic on top of everything else.
Are you burned out? I’m burned out.
And yet. The platforming machine demands to be fed.
The Pressure to Platform
Let’s be honest: For authors, platforming comes with a lot of pressure. We get a lot of pressure to build a platform in the first place, and then, no matter how much we do, it always seems someone else is doing more, growing faster, and has way more followers. It’s an effort that has no bottom.
Speaking for myself, no matter how much I accomplish, I’m in a constant guilt cycle over whatever it is I’m not doing. Can’t I muster one more tweet? Can’t I pitch just one more guest blog? Can’t I just buckle down and just post a new video once a day until I finally figure out TikTok?
And sure, I could do any of these things. But I can’t do all the things. Neither can you! Trying to—and being hard on yourself when you can’t sustain it—is a fast track to burnout all on its own.
Preventing Platforming Burnout
The best way to avoid getting burned out is not to get burnout in the first place. And with something like author platforming, which can feel so bottomless, the best thing you can do is to set parameters for what you will commit to.
- 3 Instagram posts a week
- 1 newsletter a month
- An in-person even once a quarter
Your platform could consist of any of these goals, or all of them, or completely different ones altogether. You might set a goal of posting on Twitter once a week or three times a day. What’s important is that you set a goal that will help you build a platform, but also is manageable for you. Because setting a goal such as this also sets a boundary: Once you’ve checked the box of your goal for your set time period, you’re done—this approach takes the bottomlessness out of platforming.
And hey, if you find it’s not manageable…change it. You’re the boss here; you get to decide what’s right. Much like the writing process, yours might look different from the author next to you. It might be faster or slower, and this is all fine.
The most important thing to do with platforming is to keep building.
When You’re Already Burned Out
It happens to the best of us—all of us, judging by recent new trends. Sometimes you just can’t prevent burnout from striking. Sometimes it’s not even triggered by your author life, but trickles over and impacts it anyway.
This is okay! As I am constantly reminding myself, you are allowed to be human. You’re not a machine, and it’s not reasonable to expect yourself to crank out content like one.
If you find yourself thinking you’d rather slam your hand in a car door than write one more Facebook post, listen to that feeling. Take a pause. Consider:
- What’s blocking you from doing more?
- What do you need to recover?
- What’s possible for you now?
- Where do your efforts matter most? What can slide for a while?
Bouncing Back from Burnout
If you’re feeling burned out, listen to those signals—it’s time to take a break or dial back! Most of all, be kind to yourself. You’re not going to force yourself past burnout by pushing harder. Rather, you’ll make the problem even worse. Platforming isn’t a race, and readers will always be out there eager to discover new books.
Tell us in the comments: Have you ever felt burned out with platform or some other part of your author life? How did you cope?
By day, E. J. Wenstrom is a digital strategy pro with over 10 years at communications firms. By early-early morning, she’s an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author of the Chronicles of the Third Realm War novels, starting with Mud. She believes in complicated characters, terrifying monsters, and purple hair dye.