This isn’t a usual post, I know. But I wanted to talk about it, because I feel everyone has suffered from this at some point. All of us are creatives, though it doesn’t mean we have to be artists or dancers or singers. We create our lives with every choice we make, and we create in our workspaces. Anyway, all of us are creating something, and all of us have had creative burnout at some point, so I thought this might be a helpful surprise on the blog.
This also explains why I haven’t been blogging so much. I haven’t been having any sort of creative drive. I have been having, so to speak, creative burnout. So, here’s how you (and how I did) can get out of it:
This is the question for you in your burnout, “Do I need to create, or do I need to rest?” It really depends on the type of burnout you’re having, as well as your personality. Sometimes burnout is a sign that you need to rest, that you need to stop creating like cra-cra and actually rest. It is a signal your body is giving you that you need to take care of yourself, that you need to take more bubble baths, get more massages, and meditate. Whatever really relaxes you, do that.
But other times you don’t have the drive to create because of lack of inspiration or just the blank-page syndrome, and that’s okay. Everyone has that, so don’t feel bad about it. Creating in these moments can be good for this, because you are stretching those creative muscles, even if nothing of too much value comes out. Even if you feel like crud while creating, do it anyway. Eventually, as you do this more often, you may begin to grow out of this burnout.
For me, it was both of these together that got me out of it. I created just a little through haikus, and I rested a lot. I spent some good time inside my heart with the Prince of Peace, and I just rested from work. I received a lot, and what came out was little but it pushed me into a place where work became actually fun and nice again. I started writing more often, and I kicked off a few more projects that erupted out of my heart once I stepped out of burnout.
Take Care of Yo-Self (Prevention is Key)
For me, burnout was a loud signal that I needed self-care, and a whole LOT of it. And by the way, taking care of yourself is NOT selfish. It is good for you to take care of yourself, even holy. Jesus did this. He knew that if He didn’t take care of Himself, even while crowds of people were asking for Him, He wouldn’t be so full of love that it could wondrously overflow into other people. Remember, you cannot serve on an empty cup. You need to refill every so often in order to overflow into other people’s lives. If you want to do something meaningful with your life, something that will change other people’s lives, you first have to start with yourself.
I had been burned out for months with endless work and school and even when the workload started to slow down, because I never gave myself the self-care I needed, I kept getting more and more stressed, and then more and more burned out. So my advice to you would be, don’t wait. If you think you need to have some me-time, you take it. Even as preventative care. Don’t wait until everything, even the littlest things are overwhelming to you, start at the beginning. Trust me, your body and mind will thank you in the end. So will your heart.
Take Time To Be Inspired
Sometimes burnout is because of lack of inspiration. And while, no, we all can’t take a private plane to Paris, we do all have access like never before to inspiration. I’m a visual person, so I love to get inspired on Pinterest. There are so many great resources on Pinterest. There’s also Unsplash, which is great if you get inspired by photography, and it is totally free to use (I happen to use it for this blog, a lot of the photos you see here are from that website, thanks Unsplash). There is also Behance and DeviantArt, which is especially good if you are looking for visuals for a story. Also, even if you are not an artist, I think the book How To Make Art by Mel Elliott is a good one just for inspo (it has definitely been a beauty to read for me), because she has a lot of universal tips and tricks.
So there are a lot of resources out there, especially if you have a blank page in front of you and nowhere to go with it. Go to the library or your local bookstore and see if you can find some resources in your specific trade. Just find a lot of inspo. Then you are ready to create. And that can start by imitation if you feel you don’t have much to start with. Just start, and use that inspo to catapult you forward.
Think Outside of The Box
This may sound really generic, but if you’re doing the same thing all the time, your mind might begin to get bored. So this is where you need to step outside of your creative comfort zone. A few months ago, I started a blog called Human. As for now, it is just me. But I hope to make it into a collective, which is why I love using ‘we’, because I feel like at Human even the reader is a part of the collective community. Anyway, when I started it I was really inspired, which is usually how I start things.
You see, I’m a start-up kind of gal. I love to start things, I love to get new ideas and projects and just get right into them. But I am not so good at sustaining them. With Human, that was the case. I started it, formed a book club, and about a week later realized, “Wait a minute-I’m running two blogs, I have immense school work, I have a chapter to read of a book each week, and I need to write like four times a week-this is too much.” I love to get all into things right away, not really realizing what the implications might be. I am a spontaneous creative.
So I didn’t write on it for months, and I questioned whether or not I should take it down. I didn’t, which is great. Because as I was talking to God a few weeks ago, He talked to me about Human, this beautiful community that I had been dreaming about for years and hadn’t even realized it, and I decided to start it up again. So I started a series (much easier than a book club), and I have been writing every week since. The thing is, I didn’t give up on Human because it was outside of the box. This is sort of a personal blog, so a lot of normal things happen here. I talk a lot about my life, and everything seems pretty normal.
But at Human, I started a community that was based on raw human acceptance, love, and genuine belonging. I started a community that is hard to find in the world, that I desperately wanted to find myself. And people were actually beginning to become a part of that. It was amazing, and I realized that I still wanted that. Sometimes thinking outside of the box can be scary, especially since I know that people may not receive this community well, and there may be some people out there who just won’t have it.
It is a risk, and it is scary. But it is worth it. What in your life have you given up because you thought you couldn’t handle it, and then heard it calling back to you? What in your life can you rethink and go outside of your comfort zone to do? This may have the power to change your creative process completely. For me, Human was just the inspiration and creative pursuit I needed to get me out of creative burnout. I wonder, what is that for you?
Have Good Voices In Your Life (Besides Jesus)
This is really important. If you are being dragged down by negative voices in your life, then it can be a challenge to create when you have doubts in your mind telling you that you can’t. One of the most important books I think anyone could ever read, especially during a season of burnout, is The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus. It has changed my life, my perspective, and especially my creative process. I think I may do a post on it later, but it is amazing so go and check it out now (like NOW, I will not be offended).
I have to say, I am a creative junkie. I loved Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, but The Artisan Soul has been the most profound thing I have ever read. He talks about the creative process, what an artisan looks like, and so much more that is so valuable to everyone, creative genius or not. Erwin McManus is the lead pastor at a church called Mosaic, which I am currently obsessed with. I love their community, their message, and especially their music. Their voice is unique, and it is especially wonderful to have them as a prime voice in my life. Their sermons are so inspiring, and they push me to be the me that God has created me to be, to create a good future for humanity, and to create in general. Just this week they released a podcast (#1 on the list) that was so inspiring, here’s the link to it if you would like to hear (it has really changed the way I live): https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mosaic-video-podcast/id142417894. They also have an app which you can use to get the podcast.
Other good voices in my life are Christa Black Gifford, So Worth Loving, Morgan Day Cecil, Beauty Beyond Bones, Amy Davis (her relationship with God is so inspiring), Stephanie M Moors, and Mosaic MSC. When you have a lot of good voices speaking into your life, you have a lot of reasons to create, rather than a lot of reasons not to. Even though there may still be voices in your head telling you to doubt yourself, you can always have a list of resources telling you to believe in yourself. This will propel you forward into a new way of creating.
I hope these tips helped you all, especially for those dealing with burnout. If you have any tips for avoiding or dealing with burnout, be sure to tell me in the comments. I hope you have a great day and don’t get burned out anytime soon. Thanks for reading!