Ask Lisa - dealing with creative burnout

Lisa Lehmann

Posted on August 02 2012

Overwhelmed. Stuck in rut. Exhausted. Irritable. Passion sucked out. THIS is the onset of creative-burnout. As a design professional, it's something I fear. It's something I know intimately. It's something that is always one "bad day" away.

Creative-Burnout - It's something that is always one "bad day" away.

facing creative-burnout
So when Cait D. asked me if I ever experience creative-burnout I smiled...a little. Then when she followed it up with "you always seem so upbeat and positive" I outright giggled. Thank you Cait for a reality check, and a call to be honest.
It is very hard to be on your "A" game all the time. And burnout is very real. Creative energy is so rich and fulfilling, but it is also draining. When you own your own creative business you are constantly tapping into the creative juices, and often not replenishing the depleting well. And suddenly it's empty, and you're dry.
When I do enter the "desert", when the dryness is so apparent I can feel it in the very core of my being, strangely enough there is still no a lack of creativity. I always have designs spinning in my head. However, it manifests itself in a "I don't want to do it today" kind of way. Then it becomes a mental battle, knowing I HAVE to do the work, because no one else will.
I'm fairly sure I'm my own worst enemy.
I play the comparison game a lot. {drain}
I'm a genius at beating myself up. {suck}
Suddenly I find myself swirling to the bottom of the well...struggling to find the energy to even call for help. It's not pretty is it?
What do you do? What do I do?
Honestly, I am not very good at asking for help. Ok, understatement. I just don't. {character flaw #526}
But...I am good at looking outside of myself.
I visit my favorite people / blogs that inspire me.
And then I do a reality check.
  • Am I spending enough time with my family?
  • Am I exercising?
  • Have I indulged myself lately? Shoes? Chocolate? :) you get the idea.
  • Am I getting to bed on time?
  • Have I taken any decent girl friend time?
  • Am I remembering to have my "quiet time" in the morning?
  • Have I "given myself a break" and forgiven myself for not meeting my own unreasonable standards?
These are just a few ways I begin to crawl out of the well. It is not an instant fix. But it is a positive start.
And then I go to Facebook and post something about what I'm working on, or a fashion tip I can't wait to share, or just my silly thought for the day...and YOU respond. YOU. YOU are such a big part of filling my "creative well". It is YOUR comments, YOUR encouragement, YOUR responses that continually make my day...AND...remind me why I'm in this creative business in the first place. I LOVE creating things that make you smile.
So, thank you Cait for causing me to be slightly introspective. I hope I didn't scare you too much. Remember, artists are a bit strange...well, at least this artist is :)
Love you all to pieces!
xoxoxoxo
lisa

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