Getting Back into Reading & Writing After College Burnout

What Harry Potter did for me in my youth, Outlander did for me after graduating with four years of compounded college burnout. I left my alma mater with a nice English degree, but I lost my mental capacity to read and write fiction for fun. All the residual brain ink I had dried up, my figurative writer’s pen stilled, and I became an aimless reader.

It wasn’t until two years later that I picked up Outlander, the first adult book I truly loved. If you ask my long distance book club friends, I loved it to the point of obsession. I couldn’t stop gushing over the story and its characters because of the complete and utter joy they brought me.

Two years is a long time to read aimlessly and without a book to cherish with all my heart. Sure, I enjoyed reading some of the other adult fiction I encountered, but they never glued my eyes to their pages. I could too easily put those books down. But I didn’t have a choice with Outlander. I couldn’t savor it. I had to devour as much of it as I could in every spare moment I had. I NEEDED to know what happened next.  And I stayed up much later than I should have to to find out.

Outlander was everything I wanted and needed in a book — an enchanting story with magic, mystery, legendary romance, a bad ass heroine, swoon-worthy and sometimes sobering character dialogue, deep character interactions, and James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser. The Laird of Broch Tuarach. The King of Emotional Intelligence, Muscles and Kilts. Total Smoke Show…pretty much the perfect man.

But above all, Outlander gave me back something I thought I’d lost. A favorite book. And the excitement and inspiration to resume writing my own fiction. Although it took me two years to finish my first post-college fiction piece, I finally got my mojo back. It’s not a true Desiree-original either, but…MOJO. BACK.

In case you’re wondering, I wrote a steamy Game of Thrones fan fic that was a little (A LOT) inspired by Outlander. And no, I won’t post it here. Sorry.

I will say this though: Yes, it’s published online. Yes, it’s free. Yes, it’s on Archives of Our Own. Yes, you can find it and read it. No, I won’t tell you under what name. BUT. If this post gets 50 visitors, I’ll give you a hint to help narrow the search. 100 visitors and I’ll give you another hint. And so on and so forth.

Happy hunting 😉

P.S. Brief backtrack to Outlander.

If you’ve read Outlander or have seen the show, you’ll know that it wasn’t without it’s dark moments, and I understand if it’s not your thing. For those who haven’t read or seen it, there’s an extremely traumatic event that the main protagonists survive at the end.  Despite its dark ending, Outlander didn’t get me down, because the last scene in the book closed in a place of thoughtfulness, deep connection, and healing for the two main characters. BUT, if you want to read it but are worried about the traumatic event, and would like a trigger warning, don’t hesitate to reach out. Same if you read it and need to unload.