How to Recover & Recharge from Creative Burnout – Alexia Petrakos

4 11 2007

Creative types sometimes go through dry spells, times where nothing they create works, if they even can bring themselves to create. Whether you call them dry spells, burnout, or just plain old fatigue and boredom, they’re not pleasant and creatives can find themselves depressed and unmotivated if they’re not aware of what’s happening.

Creativity comes in cycles. One month you’re churning out piece after piece, everything you put your hand to comes out fabulous. It seems like it’ll go on forever. You are the Productivity Queen! Next month you crash and burn. You can’t even bear to look at your studio, let alone make something. This is when you need to recognize the signs your body is sending. After a time of great creative work, your brain, spirit and body need a break. You’ve spent your creative energies and your well is dry. It’s time to recharge.

Here are a few ways to recharge your creative batteries:

* Dump it all out. Vent. Write in your journal. Cry on a friend’s shoulder. Just let it all out. There’s something in crying and letting your emotions have a voice that helps.

* Escape for a while. Leave your studio as it is, messes & all. Go to your favorite museum, go see an art film or watch a play. Or go further. Take a vacation – grab your closest friends and go on a road trip. See if you can pick out things on your trip that interest you, things that may fill your creative well.

* Read a book. Make sure it’s something you enjoy, and not a self-help book. Fiction works nicely in times like these. Try Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” or Isaac Asimov’s “Robots of the Dawn” or even some encouraging memoirs and biographies like Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”. Fantasy, fiction, and memoirs of creative folks can breathe life into your breathless creative soul.

* Take a walk outside. Exercise clears the mind as well as helps the blood flow. Try to make this a part of your everyday routine. Fresh air and nature can refill your well.

* Sleep! A long period of productivity takes a great deal of energy. Adequate sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. Indulge in naps. As SARK says “We all need more naps!”

Don’t take too long recharging. Sometimes too much rest can lead to laziness. Ease back into your creative endeavors by tackling small pieces of projects, one earring of a pair, a small corner of canvas, one paragraph of your book. Don’t dive back in, but go slowly and build back up as you regain your energy. After all that recharging, your creative well should be more full than it was and it’ll come pouring out again.

Burnout or creative fatigue is just part of life’s roller-coaster. Don’t be too discouraged if you’re faced with burnout, just know this will pass. And in the meantime, treat yourself to some fun.





6 responses

4 11 2007

I find reading all sorts of blogs I’m interested in, and doing activities I enjoy recharges me and fills me with new ideas. Thanks for this very helpful post.

I also heard something just yesterday which I thought was helpful. Living in the Muslim world, someone told me just yesterday that a Sufi commentator once said that all of life is like breathing. Creative periods are like breaths in, and stagnant periods are like breaths out. Both are necessary to life. I thought if more people thought of it like that, fewer people might become depressed. I know that hearing this helped me to think more positively.

Madame Monet
Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

4 11 2007

What a timely article! Thanks for the insight.

5 11 2007
Art of the Firebird » Blog Archive » Best of the Week

[…] Collective Creatives — How to Recover & Recharge from Creative Burnout […]

9 11 2007

You’re welcome ladies! 🙂 thanks for the comments.

12 11 2007
65 Things You Should Do Right Now To Avoid Burnout | So You Want To Teach?

[…] Collective Creatives shows us How to Recover & Recharge from Creative Burnout. […]

21 07 2009

I like this! 🙂

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