Today’s question is about burnouts. Asked by @adam.wesley during my masterclass in Boston last October. As usual, send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org :)
I always imagined creativity as water in a well. If you take too much every day, it will dry up with time. If you take too little, the water becomes swampy. I think that the trick is to define, as a creative, what’s too much and what’s too little.
For example, I like to do some visual research daily, take walks, exercise, and meet new people. When I am busy with a big project, those are behaviors that I will neglect first, and that’s ok. But when I start neglecting them, I am aware that I will take more from the well and be replaced. Do it too long, and you will have a burnout. A good strategy would be having a few relaxing days watching movies, chilling with friends, and just noticing the world around.
On the other hand, if you find that your skills reached a plateau — either because you do only commercial work or because you are not creative for other reasons you will have the well go swampy and you will feel bored doing the same familiar work every day —again you will have a burnout. It’s time to review your priorities and start pushing yourself in the right direction. Take an inspiring masterclass, travel, a master new skill — remind yourself of the pleasure of being surprised by your own work.
Finally, remember that burnout is a bit like the flu — it’s never as bad as it feels and won’t last forever. The best medicine here is to be kind to yourself.