The Truth About Burnout, Steps to Rejuvenation, and A Cup of Candor

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 11.07.11 AMI know this post is coming sooner than you or I expected it to come, so let me explain.

Earlier this week, I experienced something unfamiliar. It came out of nowhere and yet came from everywhere. I imagined myself in the image of an old wind-up toy that had hit a wall; I was marching along, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was swimming in “noise,” as we communication folks like to call it. It was filling up my head and causing me not to think clearly.

Some people might call it burnout.

Burn•out (noun) /ˈbərnˌout/  def. physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. “high levels of professionalism that may result in burnout”

It was an emotional reaction that, quite frankly, had my friend Elizabeth puzzled when we talked on Tuesday.

“What happened?” she asked. “What happened after our lovely visit to Oxford?”

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 1.19.54 PMShe had sweetly volunteered to come with me and my daughter to the Plein Air event in Oxford where I was signing my latest book, Inn Significant, at the bookstore, Mystery Loves Company. I had been excited to go for weeks as my novel happens to be set in that sweet, picturesque and welcoming town.

“Nothing happened because of Oxford,” I told her. “It just happened after Oxford. I woke up in the morning the next day and didn’t know if I could write one more post about the book. I was becoming exhausted by the idea of book promotion.”

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When I told her more about it, she completely understood. So let me try to articulate it here. Forgive me if I don’t do it perfectly, but here are my thoughts on last Monday’s meltdown.

If you are not an independent author or an author with a small press, you may not understand fully the trials and tribulations of book promotion, but I know that these folks will get it — completely — so here’s the way it goes. Every morning you wake up with the thought, “How can I sell some books today?” For the last six years, that has been my relentless task, in addition to being a full-time professor, wife, mother, writer, blogger, and member of society who also likes to spend time with family and friends. That one, singular thought became an obsession for me, and here’s why: we care about our work, the stories we are producing as authors, but what good are they if no one reads them? The only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to chip away at book promotion little by little, day after day. We write press releases. We enter book contests. We attend book talks, festivals, and signings. We are omnipresent on social media. We take photographs and come up with tidbits about our books to share on social media sites. We check our blog stats and our Amazon and Barnes & Noble pages to see how many books we have sold daily. We follow other people who are doing the same and see if we can learn from them. We see where we need to improve. We examine peak points on social media and try to post at those times that yield the biggest results. Then, we wake up each day and start over. And over. And over.

We drink a helluva lot of coffee.

And then we hit a wall.

Just like that.

Boom.

And the worst part is, I LOVE creativity. I love it so much, you guys. I love to talk about it, research it, read books about it, and just be creative through my writing and blogging and teaching, and yet, guess what was being zapped?

My friggin’ creativity.

Sucked away like Potter’s Dementors.

And so I had a knee-jerk reaction.

Stop writing. Stop blogging. Stop book promotion.

The problem came two days later when I realized that I didn’t want to stop blogging or writing, I just needed a sabbatical from book promotion.

I also realized that I needed to change my blog. It has been on my mind for a couple of years to rebrand it a bit, while still keeping the Steph’s Scribe flavor. As anyone in business knows, things can’t always stay the same, and change is good.  I’m one of the top Entertainment bloggers on Paperblog, and I have over 10,000 blog followers, so the last thing I wanted to do was start over.

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So you can see I’ve compromised. It’s got a new title, with Steph’s Scribe as a subtitle so I don’t lose my followers; it has topics that I would like to cover regularly; and my goal is for it to have a little more spirit and candor.

Not everything in life is roses and caviar, and I believe I didn’t always allow myself to be as candid as I would like. So, we’ve got a new approach and a new focus.

And now to you, my dear readers: I would love to hear from you about what you would like to see in the new revamping of the blog. I need some input. Creativity takes brainstorming and often can’t be done alone, so if you have some ideas for me, I am open and in need of them.

To those of you who wrote to me, people like Danielle, Jack F. and Jack G., Deborah, Elizabeth, Whitney, Heather, Linda, Leeanne, Chip, Laurie, and so many others, your words made me examine this much more quickly than I thought was possible. So thank you. Thank you so very much.

And while the “noise” may not be completely cleared and sent to Mars, it’s getting better. And while I cannot fully stop book promotion if I want my books to be read, I can still take a breather from it and perhaps manage the chaos in a different way. And while I may not be ready to write another novel, at some point, I will probably do it again.

And if I love blogging, well then, damn it, I’m just going to keep on blogging.

Was this candid enough for you? If so, I look forward to a cup of candor each week with you as we progress.

Love to you all.  Have a wonderful weekend…

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Wednesday Wardrobe: Keeping Cool Summer Style

Second Installment: Wednesday Wardrobe | Summer Feature

Honestly, I love summer until the humidity cranks up and my hair gets all frizzy and I perspire and stick to chairs. I remember loving the lack of humidity in California and wishing we had less of it on the East Coast. When I plan outfits, I have to consider how I might perspire and what might keep me cool.

Picking what to wear based on the weather is a must for me. I always do it. Whether I choose sleeveless, strapless, dresses, skirts, or light pants or shorts, I’m always concerned about the heat, and so I have to purchase clothes that work accordingly.

Today’s outfits are based on just that—keeping cool. What do you wear during the summer months to stay cool? How do you pick outfits to reflect the heat of the summer?

Remember: I’m a real girl with a real budget for clothing…so here are some of my picks.

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Dress from a boutique in Ellicott City. Love the fringe. Bag from Savvy Consignment. Shoes Nine West.
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Liza Byrd Dress, Franco Sarto sandals. Bandana from Target.
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Dress from The Cottage in Severna Park.
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Rainy day look…Don’t count Charming Charlie’s out for clothes and rainboots!
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White pants from White House/Black Market; top from Ann Taylor Loft; bag from Lulu’s.

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Let the air flow through this dress…from Target. Shoes by Nine West.

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Romper by Pink Rose; shoes by Audrey Brooke.

 

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Celebrating 6 Years of Blogging with “The Best of” Steph’s Scribe

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We all say it.

Time flies.

Before you know it, my kids will be done with high school and college and I’ll be retired, sitting alongside my husband on a beach somewhere sipping something with an umbrella in it and attempting to play golf.

Well, that’s the dream, at least.

Yesterday marked six (6) years of blogging. Six years. It kind of blew me away this morning, but it reminds us what a love for something and a little discipline can do for us. At the minimum, I blog one day a week; most weeks, I blog twice. It’s not always easy coming up with things to write about, but the bottom line is, we do. As bloggers, we always have something in mind that makes us think or that we want to share with others.

As such, to commemorate these past six years, I decided to pull together the posts that get the most hits as sort of a “Best Of” celebration.

Thank you for following, commenting, and sharing Steph’s Scribe with others. I can’t wait to see what the next six years have in store.

BLOGGING has become part of who I am. I cannot imagine my life without it now.

Best of Steph’s Scribe

Birth – The Very First Post on Steph’s Scribe

A Little Game of No Repeat Fashion

Most Attractive Names

How Pinterest Helped with Our Home Renovation

Inn Significant Released

Beneath the Mimosa Tree Wins Readers’ Favorite Award

Instructions for Writing a Love Letter

Lessons from “The Holiday” and James Cameron

Political Opinion Posts and Friends

You Can’t Get There From Here

Learning from Conflict and Experiences & Oprah

Don’t Bring Negativity to My Doorstep

Baseball

Travel

Storytelling

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of the newly released Inn SignificantBaseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree.  Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.  To visit Stephanie’s Amazon Author page and see her books, click here.

 

 

Coming in February: Inn Significant, A Novel

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INN SIGNIFICANT by Stephanie Verni…Coming in January.

What if three weeks after suffering a miscarriage, you faint and find yourself on the floor of your own home’s cold foyer, and as you regain consciousness, you have to acknowledge the horrible news that was relayed to you moments ago by two police officers: that your husband of ten years—the love of your life—was tragically killed by a tractor-trailer on the slick, rainy interstate?

Two years after receiving the horrifying news of her husband Gil’s death, Milly Foster continues to struggle to find her way out of a state of depression. As a last-ditch effort and means of intervention, Milly’s parents convince her to run their successful inn during their absence as they help a friend establish a new bed and breakfast in Ireland. Milly reluctantly agrees; when she arrives at the picturesque, waterfront Inn Significant, her colleague, John, discovers a journal written by her deceased grandmother that contains a secret her grandmother kept from the family. Reading her grandmother’s words, and being able to identify with her Nana’s own feelings of loss, sparks the beginning of Milly’s climb out of the darkness and back to the land of the living.

DSC_0142Set in Oxford on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, readers will experience Milly’s return to life through vivid description, lively characters and dialogue, and glimpses into the Depression-era as Milly learns more about her grandmother’s past…and that she, too, is capable of moving beyond tragedy.

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This is the premise of my new novel, Inn Significant, which will be released in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to sharing this story with you, and hope you will enjoy reading it.

As always, I thank you immensely for your support of my writing and creative endeavors. I will let you know when it launches and is available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Thanks, all! Wishing you a very happy holiday season filled with blessings.

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the upcoming novel Inn Significant. She is also a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

What I Wore This Week | #FROCKTOBER Week 4

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Some people my find this whole FROCKTOBER thing a little silly; after all, it is a bit materialistic and about clothing and what we wear; it’s not about saving the world or doing some good for others. However, that said, I do believe how we feel about ourselves reflects on the rest of the world and people in our lives. When we feel good about ourselves, it comes from the inside; the clothing is just a mere reflection of ourselves, our personalities, and our own personal taste. When we’re happy with ourselves, that happiness helps us in all aspects of our lives.

We all have different taste in clothing–and that’s why, luckily for us all–there are all different types of styles available to us. I classify myself as a romantic, classic dresser with a dash of trendiness and Boho thrown in for fun. I like clothes that make me feel like a lady: feminine and pretty. Others may prefer more preppy, classic clothing, while others may have a full-on Boho style, among many others. We see some trends we like, we wear some trends, and we leave some trends behind because we know they don’t work for us.

We’re meant to have fun with clothes, look professional in clothes, work in clothes, go out in clothes, exercise in clothes, and hang around the house in clothes. We have clothing that suits all our different settings — and the best part is, we get to choose those pieces that work especially for each of us.

Here’s what I wore this week:

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SUNDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 16 l #Sunday’s #ootd and a little over the halfway mark (thank goodness!) in this transitional fall look … #americanrag top from #macys; #anntaylorloft leggings; #charlesdavid boots; #bigbudda bag.
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MONDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 17 | It’s back to the classroom in this #ootd–navy blue dress with white piping from #boden; these navy shoes have quickly become one of my favorite pairs by #vincecamuto; bag by #merona. Hope today is a good start to the week for you!
TUESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 18 | Today's #ootd on this very warm #October day featured this red and black top by #daytripclothing; black ruffle skirt by #whitehouseblackmarket; ankle strap pointed toe heels by #samandlibby; bag from #kennethcole.
TUESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 18 | Today’s #ootd on this very warm #October day featured this red and black top by #daytripclothing; black ruffle skirt by #whitehouseblackmarket; ankle strap pointed toe heels by #samandlibby; bag from #kennethcole.
WEDNESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 19 | Today's #ootd ... classics with flair from #anthropologie. #moulinettesoeurs polka dot dress with lace trim; #cidra jacket; #apt9 shoes.
WEDNESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 19 | Today’s #ootd … classics with flair from #anthropologie. #moulinettesoeurs polka dot dress with lace trim; #cidra jacket; #apt9 shoes.
THURSDAY | #FROCTOBER Day 20 | Ready to say hello to our alums at tonight's Affinity Reunion in this #ootd. #anntaylor red skirt; #frenchconnection top; #ninewestboots.
THURSDAY | #FROCTOBER Day 20 | Ready to say hello to our alums at tonight’s Affinity Reunion in this #ootd. #anntaylor red skirt; #frenchconnection top; #ninewestboots.
FRIDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 21 #currentmood - All in black in this #ootd. #whitehouseblackmarket pants; #laurenconrad bow top and long sweater with lace detail. Fringe booties by #sodashoes. #kennethcole bag.
FRIDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 21 #currentmood – All in black in this #ootd. #whitehouseblackmarket pants; #laurenconrad bow top and long sweater with lace detail. Fringe booties by #sodashoes. #kennethcole bag.
SATURDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 22 Spending the day with family, catching up on grading papers, and being a chauffeur to my children in this comfy #ootd. Top from #charmingcharlie; stretch leggings #verawang; cranberry boots by #francosarto. An old leopard bag for fun and shades on my head from #anntaylor.
SATURDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 22 Spending the day with family, catching up on grading papers, and being a chauffeur to my children in this comfy #ootd. Top from #charmingcharlie; stretch leggings #verawang; cranberry boots by #francosarto. An old leopard bag for fun and shades on my head from #anntaylor.

xx |

signatureStephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

Everyone Deserves A Best Moment

first-best-moment-award-winner11I would like to thank Deborah at The Container Chronicals (http://myriad234.wordpress.com/) for bestowing this lovely blogger award upon Steph’s Scribe! I am very happy to accept. And now, as these awards go, I must disclose seven things about myself, and then pass along nominations. It’s a “Pay-It-Forward” kind of thing, and it allows us to share with our readers bloggers that we enjoy reading and following. Thanks again, Deborah.

 

Seven Random Things About Myself

  1. I have a cameo appearance in the film “Major League II.” The movie was filmed at Camden Yards in Baltimore when I worked for the Orioles. My father has a cameo in James Bond’s “Goldfinger” – it was filmed in Fort Knox, Kentucky, when he was in the army.
  2. One of my dreams would be to speak Italian fluently, but they say to speak it fluently, you have to live there. I recently had my palm read and was told I will spend time overseas. Let’s hope it’s in that Villa in Tuscany I’ve been dreaming about for years…
  3. I have a very serious boot addiction that I must get under control.
  4. I’ve been writing poetry since I was about 12 or 13 years old. I still have some copies of those early poems. I want to vomit when I read them.
  5. My children are my loves. I love them more than words can say.
  6. I’m thankful for our immediate families. Though we are small in number, we are mighty. Never underestimate the power of a good hug, from either side of our loving family.
  7. It took me a long time to stand up for myself with regard to supposed friendships. I’m a solid, loving, and inclusive friend, yet if I don’t receive the same treatment in return, the likelihood of us remaining friends is nil. And although it’s given me brilliant material to write about, in real life, I’m just too old for that kind of garbage now.

And now I nominate the following blogs:

http://jackflacco.com/

http://thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com/

http://angloswiss-chronicles.com/

http://laekanzeakemp.wordpress.com/

http://mandyevebarnett.com/

 

Sharing (Beneath the Mimosa Tree) Is Caring

BENEATH THE MIMOSA TREE as it sits among other works at Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

I wanted to take a moment to thank one of my supporters, Alli, who took and shared this gorgeous photograph yesterday at Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland. It warmed my heart that she cared enough for me to take this picture of my book on the shelves. I am so used to seeing the novel in the boxes from Create Space, that seeing it on a shelf is very exciting!

Thanks, Alli, and thanks to all of you who have read and supported me in this endeavor of both writing and publishing “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.”