My Writing Journey – Avoiding Burnout


Kathy Mann joined our Writers Write – How to write a book course in 2015. She is launching her book in November. This is her story of her writing journey.

How I Became A Writer

For as long as I can remember, I dreamt of writing a book. One day. But I regarded writing as something luxurious, not something very practical that would help me to pay the bills. I chose the corporate path and pursued a career as an IT professional.

In 2008, I had a baby and my values changed. I finally agreed to join the family business, but it wasn’t the right role and environment for me. In fact, the work required the opposite of my strengths and the culture was toxic. I spent five years there and experienced great stress, so much so that I had a catastrophic burnout.

Burnout

It wasn’t dramatic and interesting: there were no straitjackets or frontal lobotomies. I was simply too exhausted to function as a normal person does.

I had two children who depended on me and yet I couldn’t even pick mulberry leaves for their silkworms, let alone bath them and play with them. My husband had to cook and take them to birthday parties while I slept at home. It put great strain on our family, my friendships, and our finances.

Most people will tell you that it takes between two and five years to recover fully from burnout. I read many books on positive psychology, or the science of happiness, to figure out how to build a happy life.

I learnt that it’s very important to find flow, the experience of being completely absorbed in an activity where time either stands still or flies. It took me some time but eventually I realised that I experience flow from writing.

Writing

I started a blog (Finding Your Life Passion) in February 2015. I wanted to write about my journey of recovery and finding my passion. I knew if I loved my work and I found happiness, that success would follow. I used writing to process emotions and to unpack my experience of becoming so ill from stress. I wrote about my life and what had brought me to this point.

I realised that I’d love to write a book so that others could learn about burnout. But I didn’t feel like a legitimate writer. I hadn’t yet given myself permission to use the job title of writer.

Writers Write

I attended the Writers Write course in September 2015 and it stretched me. I was still struggling with inadequate energy levels, but I so enjoyed the learning. I was challenged by writing in genres that I’m not familiar with and the group of people were wonderfully supportive.

At the end of the course, I gained the confidence to call myself a writer and to complete my book.

On the Writers Write course in September 2015. Kathy is second from the right. Mia Botha, the facilitator, is on the right.

I submitted my manuscript to various publishers, not expecting to be accepted by traditional publishers as an unknown non-fiction writer. As expected, I received a few rejections and some simply ignored my submission.

Publishing

I then submitted my manuscript to a few self-publishing organisations. I sent several enquiries out and obtained three quotes. It was scary to take the leap but I eventually decided to publish through Reach, who did a great job of the layout and printing. My book, Avoiding Burnout, is now out into the world and I’m overjoyed.

My book launch will take place in November at Skoobs in Montecasino. I’m working on a deck of cards as an accompaniment to my book and I have some ideas for my next book. I’m even making use of the skills and knowledge gained in my business to market and sell my book.

 by Kathy Mann.

Kathy Mann is a champion for living with passion. She has written numerous articles, both on her experiences in business and software, as well as in the wellness arena. She also enjoys public speaking and conducting workshops around the concepts in her book. Follow her on Facebook