I felt like I was burning out, but over this Thanksgiving vacation I have allowed myself a chance to completely take a break from work and life--and it has felt amazing!

As I've taken this break, I've given myself the freedom to not have to do anything. I've spent some awesome quality time with my extended family, eaten a ton of great food, watched a lot of TV, and... spent hours playing video games!

It has been years since I have spent any serious time playing video games, and the break from reality and all of it's demands was seriously welcome!  I found that after a day or two of destressing and unwinding I was already prepared to jump back into doing homework and some writing. I've been able to turn out about 3-5 blog posts and rough out an essay for my grammar class over the most recent two days.

See: there is something to be said for resting and re-energizing. Just today I read an article on The Resurgence  emphasizing the importance of scriptural rest. I know this command and know why it's true, but as I look back over the past few months, I've realized that I really haven't ever taken a full day off and just relaxed. I always seem to cram something into my free time. If I'm not working my day job, in class, or doing homework, I try to do some blogging. I'm constantly squeezing in some first draft writing, editing, polishing, publicizing, et. all.

From here on out, I'm going to try to consciously take one day per week to de-stress, relax, and refuel for the coming week. By doing so, I anticipate that my overall productivity will increase: a win-win!
I just had a guest blog post go live on Singletracks.com entitled "Mountain Biking Through History." Sometimes a mountain bike ride is more than simply pedaling through the woods. Sometimes it's a journey through history!

My brother and I are currently working together to launch what will hopefully be an amazingly insightful and useful blog project.  Naturally, I want to continually increase the quality of my writing and blogging, and as such I decided to make the design for this new blog the best one I've put together yet.

At first, that sounded like a great idea.  Obviously, I'd purchase a unique domain name, but I decided to also hire a designer to create a custom logo specifically for the new website so that we could brand it well. Just getting that ball rolling was a difficult task in its own right.

I jumped into my day today with the intension of figuring out what template I was going to use for the blog.... and it has been quite an undertaking which is nowhere near finished.  I stumbled across a website offering high-quality blogger templates for sale, which in my experience is pretty rare. (Everyone is so Wordpress-centric.) I sifted through the available templates, selected four I liked, contacted my brother, took his input, bought a template, and started to install it.  Simply installing the template was a feat, and now getting it to work correctly is turning into a much more challenging task than I had anticipated.  With this template I was hoping for a little more plug-and-play attitude coupled with ample customizability, (Is that not a word? It should be.) but that turned out to not exactly be the case.

Hopefully with enough tweaking/wrenching everything will work out properly, but the fact of the matter is that to be a writer one has to be good at a whole lot more than just writing. As you can see from my experiences today, blogging definitely requires the writer to develop an arsenal of skills that he may never have known he'd need. I'm sure this is true for many other types of writing as well. Useful skills that easily come to mind include marketing, networking, budgeting, graphic/visual design, business management, accounting/finance... the list could go on and on.

It would be impossible to do all of those tasks with true excellence, which is why at times the successful writer needs to hire other people.  I hired a graphic designer for my new website logo, because I know that I'm really a hack when compared to someone with true Photoshop talent.

As a writer, know that you're going to need to do way more than just write.  And know that it is O.K. to get other people to help you out!
Burnout. Photo from here.
I want to write, I really do... It's just that I can't seem to put anything down with any meaning.  I'm getting sick of it--sick of writing.  Maybe I can't be a writer after all.

AH, who knows? The question of vocation is incredibly overwhelming!  Why can't it just be easy: "I'm good at this, I could do this all day long so this is what I'll do"? But it's not like that.

What I love about writing is the inherent creativity, the sculpting of something special that people will read and enjoy.

What I hate about writing is the inherent creativity, and the days when it feels like the creative drive just isn't there.

Perhaps I am just burning myself out.  I tend to load myself down with expectations: school, work, staying physically fit by getting enough time on my mountain bike, volunteering with the youth, and the constant strain of writing blog post after blog post.  Not only am I striving to keep up my main blog, but I'm trying to develop this career-focused blog and another brand-new blog project on top of that.

There is a ton of pressure when you write.  There's pressure to consistently turn out creative content, and to have that content be highly polished, entertaining and informative, and thereby being engaging.  What happens when the quality slips? What happens when a post or an article just isn't as awesome as what I regularly write? Will my small piece of the internet come crashing down around me?

Burn out.  Not enough sleep... and that's my fault. Relaxing and rejuvenating is not my strong point. Every since I was a kid, I would push myself endlessly until finally I'd just break down and have to spend 3-4 days doing nothing to recuperate.  That is not a healthy cycle, and I need to break it... but breaking a habit is so hard!

I'm burning out... so this blog is going live without anything but a spell check.

Or maybe I just need more caffeine in the mornings....
On this blog I will be writing about writing. Specifically, I will be documenting here the progression of my career as a professional writer. I will detail my achievements, my struggles, my failures, and my thoughts on the written word.

For now, I invite you to check out what is currently my main writing project.  It is an informational and educational mountain biking blog located at www.GregRidesTrails.com. Founded in February of '10, Greg Rides Trails currently receives about 3,000 visits per month resulting in close to 7,200 monthly page views.

This recent blog post, "Go Rock Climbing and Take a Mental Break from Mountain Biking" is a pretty fair example of a post that I've put a reasonable amount of time into crafting. I wouldn't say that this is necessarily the best piece I've ever written, but it should give you a great idea of what I'm all about!

Thanks for checking out GregHeil.com.  I've only just begun...