Have you ever tried to avoid a train wreck — not literally, but personally?
My body has been sending several unhappy messages these past few months and it’s time for me to acknowledge them. I am mentally exhausted; sleep isn’t what it used to be and there I days I wake up not wanting to do anything. I dread opening my email or trying to think of something creative to write for a blog post. These signs indicate that all is not well.
Instead of waiting for a train wreck to happen, which would force me to stop, I have decided that it is time for me to take a sabbatical. My tank is empty, and it needs to be re-charged. Writing, producing, printing, marketing and distributing my book I Just Want to Paint: Mixing the Colors You Want! has drained my reserves. I entered this book publishing journey not knowing the extent of the time, energy and money commitment required nor that it is like an elderly uncle who won’t leave.
The amount of information and experience I have taken in during the past two and half years has been like a graduate doctoral crash course. Not only do I need to take a step back to re-fuel, I think I would benefit from assessing everything that I have learned and accomplished.
Interestingly, about the time I started to think about taking a sabbatical, the World Health Organization stated that Burnout is Officially a Workplace Crisis. Its handbook International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems lists burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is characterized by three key factors: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” This announcement didn’t surprise me .
When I began taking stock of my emotional and physical state, I started journaling and asking myself some challenging questions, such as:
- How did I get here?
- How do I want to live the rest of my life (I am 68)?
- What does joy mean to me? What brings me joy? Etc.
These questions lead me to several insights, the one that stood out the most is:
I was an artist who wrote, who became an author who paints. Ah! Time to switch back to the former.
No regrets as I love the quality and content of I Just Want to Paint! It is doing exactly what I intended it to do as stated by the many testimonials I have received such as this one from Ruth Jansson:
Carol McIntyre has done an extraordinary job taking a very complex subject and breaking it down to its simplest form, unravelling the mysteries of color mixing along the way. Not only is this book very attractive, it is easy to follow and understand and is written in a wonderful conversational style rich with colorful graphics and photographs.
Whether you are a seasoned painter or a beginner, if you want a clear, concise, easy-to-understand explanation of how to mix the colors you want, this book belongs next to your palette.
Best of all, I found a renewed enthusiasm for painting.
I love knowing that my book is helping to unleash the creative spirit.
Another positive aspect of I Just Want to Paint’s is that its evergreen content, which means I do not need to be the hare anymore. One of the challenges with taking a sabbatical will be to see if and how I will shut my book marketing engine down. As a person known for her persistence and high expectations, I suspect that throwing the throttle back might take some time. It will also require learning how to let go, even though it is temporary.
The good news is that I have lots of paint, yummy art materials and blank canvases to distract and re-direct me. Soon, I depart for my annual month-long stay at our remote mountain cabin, which is my sacred place.
Fortunately, I Just Want to Paint! sales are going well. Most importantly, I have a fulfillment company that can take care of any sales that come in while I take a break.
I won’t be disappearing completely, though my appearance in your email box and online will be sporadic announcement of events and blogs as my muse moves me. At the time of this writing, I plan to take a two-month sabbatical, but is could be longer.
I do need to return to marketing my book, teaching and coaching, as I have over 1,000 books to get out into the world! Your assistance is welcome.
How might you help?
- Continue to spread the word and tell your artists friends about I Just Want to Paint!
- Ask your library to carry it.
- Write an Amazon Review. Currently I have about ten and I need 25 or more to motivate the Amazon algorithm to give I Just Want to Paint! attention to people browsing the site. Please go to: https://amzn.to/2F4FWZ1 and scroll down a bit. On the left you can write, after you have logged in, how my book has impacted your painting and/or solved your color mixing problems.
- Consider having me speak or teach at your art society or art center in 2020-21.
- Jot down ideas for appropriate podcasts and other events and send them along to me.
Have you ever experienced burnout? What did you do? How did you recover?
With deep gratitude and appreciation, your support and understanding are cherished.