There are few things more frustrating in an artist’s life than creative burnout. Symptoms include the conviction your career is over because you can’t come up with the perfect opening sequence, or that you’ll never work again if you don’t finish that one song. Ultimately, it is the fear that you and your work will slowly slide into obscurity with no new content. Truth be told, even the most productive creatives need a break sometimes. We live in the age of the chronically wired, both literally and figuratively. Sometimes our elusive creative genius gets bored and takes a vacation, waiting for us at some far-off destination in our minds.
Until you book that ticket to your inner sea of creativity, we’re here to help. Here are our top tips on how to fix creative burnout.
Truth be told, even the most productive creatives need a break sometimes.
Disconnect from your screen
Have you ever wondered why you don’t have as many followers are Generic_Yoga_Mom69 on Instagram? Why is Boring_GraphicDesigner_Dude living his best life while you’re stuck your desk trying to finish a project? The amount of time we spend looking at social media in general is anxiety-inducing, particularly if we are constantly comparing ourselves to a well-crafted internet persona that’s far from reality. Do yourself a favor. Unplug. Even if it’s for one hour, one day, one week, I guarantee you’re brain will start feeling those creative waves again.
Do yourself a favor. Unplug.
Take yourself on an artist date
Julia Cameron’s wildly successful self-help book The Artist’s Way is full of great advice on how to get in touch with your inner artist. One of her most popular methods is the artist date, which entails you, the artist, to take yourself on a date. Not just any date, a date that nurtures your creativity. Art galleries, music concerts, a film, it can be anything! Just think of it as artistic “me time.” Check out our article on 10 Essential Books for Filmmakers for some other great reads to curb creative burnout.
Take yourself on a date! Art galleries, music concerts, a film, it can be anything! Just think of it as artistic “me time.”
We’ve dedicated an entire blog post to podcasts designed to help you get inspired. One of our favorites is Creative Pep Talk, founded by Andy J. Pizza. He’s like a modern-day guru for the digital era. If podcasts aren’t your thing, there’s always the self-help book route. We highly recommend War Of Art by Steven Pressfield, based on his emphasis on doing the work and seeing an idea through, even if it isn’t a very good one.
If you find your mind is too full of clutter, just let it be still.
There is a Taoist quote that goes: “muddy water, let stand will clear.” It’s pretty self-explanatory and super applicable to creative burnout. If you find your mind is too full of clutter, just let it be still. There are plenty of self-guided meditation apps out there that will aid you on your journey to enlightenment, or at least five minutes of mental freedom. Try Headspace, Buddhify or Calm to start.
Take your inner monologue and make it a dialogue between you and the page. Get the mental clutter out. Try stream-of-consciousness writing or even a detailed account of your current mental state. Even if the page is filled with gibberish, it will help clear the pathways for your next big idea and keep creative burnout at bay!
Write. Even if the page is filled with gibberish, it will help clear the pathways for your next big idea and keep creative burnout at bay!
Look, we all get it. To borrow a phrase, the creative process can be one of interminable blank space punctuated by moments of pure inspiration. Harnessing those moments is critical, but learning to ride out and manage the the blank space is perhaps even more critical to maintain creative output. Hopefully this practical steps help mitigate the burnout! Now get back to work and quit reading articles.