Writing is a Joy
Writing has been such an intricate part of my life it is hard for me to remember the days when I was not a writer. With that being said writing is something I love to do not just a task to make money. The creative process is a joy. Coming up with topics to write. Stringing interesting words and phrases to make sentences worthy of reading is exciting. Researching fascinating topics for a blog or an article thrill me. But I noticed a shift recently. It was not glaring directly in my face like a deer in headlights. Rather it was more subtle and quiet.
It all started around the Christmas holidays. My mother came to visit me and boy what a treat. For her short visit I set up a firestick so we could lounge on the sofa and watch TV and movies. This is what we typically do when I am home. We did that and had a wonderful time. But after she left I kept lolling on that sofa. It was hard to get up and get going. I would tell myself, one more movie and then I will get to writing only to look up and the whole day was gone. This strange and weird pattern stretched over several days and then weeks. I began to wonder if something was wrong with me. This behavior was not my style.
Showing Signs of Creative Burnout
I did a self-check in and noticed my love for writing was not gone. I was just not in the mood. I was just not motivated.
After reading all the new year articles about setting goals and intentions I stumbled across some talking about creative burnout. As I continued to read and research I discovered this was me. Like being diagnosed with a disease, I was displaying the signs and symptoms. I became my own doctor and started to work on a cure. Or at least a way to reduce the symptoms so I could get back on track. As of this writing I am in a better place but don’t feel completely recovered. I don’t feel that I have fully gotten my writing mojo back. Rather I am managing my creative burnout and here’s how.
Need to Chill Out
AS they say in the Alcoholic Anonymous meetings you have to admit there is a problem. You can’t be in denial and expect to get better. As I said earlier, I knew something was wrong. Or at least something was off. But I had to go a little deeper. I looked at my personality. I am one of those Type A people most people love to hate. I am on time every time. I am meticulous about keeping things organized. I keep a running list of things to do and don’t handle it well when I can’t scratch items off my list daily. So, you get the idea of the kind of person I am. In a lot of places my type works very well yet in other places people want me to chill. I have worked on relaxing and cooling out over the years. Which leads to my creative burnout.
Since I know who and what I am, it began to dawn on me this period in my life was probably a needed respite. Instead of getting stressed out, worrying or even ramping up my work, I needed to stop and listen. To take a chill pill as they use to say. To slow down and be quiet.
I Am Not Alone
The next thing I realized is that I was not alone. While sitting on my sofa mindlessly watching movies I felt a little isolated. Like I was the only one or one in a few dealing with this issue. But that is not true. People who are creatives can experience burnout. That is people who are writers, artists, social media experts, musicians, influencers, podcasters, etc. People who have to crank out content constantly for the man. You know who I’m talking about. It is a continuous grind to come up with creative ideas to write about, to blog about and on and on. After a while you get tired because you are not a machine but a human being.
As creatives, yes, we take breaks. Yes, we do all the selfcare stuff. But we can still get burned out. Because we are on someone’s schedule and the work has got to be excellent. The heat and pressure is on.
Switch Writing Gears
So, what to do? I have switched gears up a bit. I have worked on writing projects that don’t demand all of that from me. Projects where I can use the other side of my brain. This way I can give myself some needed rest while still doing what I love.
Not Demanding Perfection
I am also not demanding perfection from myself as much. I realized the huge amount of stress I was placing on myself. Not that I won’t produce excellent work. Or be open to correction and criticism to improve. That is not what I am talking about. I am referring to the fact that I am not perfect. That I tend to be nitpicky when it comes to my work. I know as long as I do my very best that is good enough. I just have to keep telling myself that until it sticks like old chewing gum on the bottom of my shoe.
Making Peace and Not Afraid
I have also made peace with this place in my life. I am not fighting where I am. Everything has a purpose. This transition or phase or whatever you want to call it is happening right now for a reason. I am learning how to lean into the moment and experience the ride. I don’t have to be in control of everything all the time. And actually, it feels pretty good to pump the breaks.
Lastly, with this new resolve I am not afraid of totally losing my mojo. AS a matter of fact, it is slowly coming back. Not in a big title wave like I had originally expected but more like drips from a leaky faucet. I can live with this fact because writing is my joy.
Talk to me. Are you a creative? Have you experience burnout? If so, what things did you do to manage it? How did you get your mojo back?