It’s Totally Normal To Feel Burnout Right Now

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a global pandemic

I didn’t send any pitches this week. Truth be told I’ve been feeling a little burnt out — every time I tick something off my ‘to-do’ list I end up adding three more ‘life admin’ tasks to the list. The result is a constant low-level anxiety that there’s so much to do and not enough hours in the day. It’s frustrating because I have lots of cool ideas-things I want to write, projects I want to run to help young journalists-but I know I’m already spinning a lot of plates and there’s a risk that everything could come crashing down if I try and do too much.

That’s also one of the perils of running a business (The Indiependent) around a full-time job in marketing. I gave two free talks this week about how to set up your own publication (one with News Associates, another with UEA’s Concrete), and I hope my passion for running a platform for young journalists came across. But it would also be disingenuous of me to say that running a website is easy. Or that every time I sit down to edit I am having fun. Sometimes, I just really can’t be arsed with all the emails. And that’s OK!

The situation I’ve found myself in this past week is that I have ideas, I just don’t have the energy to pitch them. This week I had to remind myself that we are in the middle of a ~Pamela Anderson~ [read: devastating global pandemic] and it’s totally OK to have a bad week, fortnight or even month. If you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to pitch at the moment, don’t beat yourself up.

Perhaps you’re in the opposite boat-you are eager to pitch but you’re drawing blanks when it comes to ideas. The ideas will come, eventually-just keep reading. If, like me, you sit down to read but end up scrolling aimlessly on Twitter, curl up with a physical book or magazine and put your phone in a different room.

I’ve been struck by the honesty of other journalists I admire talking about their relationship with burnout-I love Anna Codrea-Rado’s newsletter and for the past two weeks she’s been honest about her struggles. I shared ‘ This year I finally learned that work alone is not enough to sustain me’ by Elle Hunt in the ‘Recommended Reading’ section of this newsletter a few weeks ago, but it’s stayed with me ever since: “It certainly struck me as faintly ludicrous that I could burn out at home while in complete control of my schedule and doing highly non-essential work.”

I am, at the best of times, a bit of a workaholic and a perfectionist. I am very goal-oriented, and as soon as I finish working on something I find it difficult to just relax. I am constantly asking myself ‘What can I do next?’. But this week, I am putting my foot down. I didn’t send any pitches this week. I might not send any next week. And that’s totally OK.

My week

… in editing

Always a pleasure to edit, I enjoyed Kat Smith’s ‘ Introducing ‘ piece on Australian artist Elle Músa.

Love learning stuff when editing, so I’m a big fan of Martha Lily Dean’s ‘ 10 LGBTQ+ Classical Composers You Should Listen To ‘.

Always a proud moment when famous people acknowledge The Indiependent as it’s a testament to how far the site has come in the past 7 years-this week we got some love from Francis Lee ( God’s Own Country, Ammonite)!

… in writing

Pitches: 0

Commissions: 0

Not only did I get 0 commissions this week, I also got a rejection for my novel from a literary agency. They said it was “engaging, original and well-written”, though-so even though it was a rejection I’m gonna bank that as a win!

Articles written: 1

Articles published: 1

I self-published an incredibly personal piece that I felt compelled to write after reading FKA twigs’ devastating interview with ELLE: ‘ FKA twigs is right — anyone can be the victim of abuse ‘.

… in listening/watching

I finished watching It’s A Sin with my parents on Friday, and simply was not READY. It is so sad, but so beautifully done. Definitely watch it if you haven’t yet got round to it.

Also, I re-watched Starter For 10 last weekend, which is a great film. Big fan of University Challenge. Even if my biggest contribution to any quiz team I’ve ever been on was acting as scribe…

… in reading

Originally published at

The Indiependent Founder, NCTJ qualified journalist, Oxford University grad. Interested in tech, political communication & data ethics. Tweets: @BettyKirkers

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