The alarm clock rings in the morning but you dread getting up to do art? you don’t have any motivation to get up and do what you love and had a passion for ever since you were a child? are you too tired and wondering what’s the point?
Well, you might have been art burnt my friend, in case you are not familiar with the term in this article I will tell you all about it buckle up and let’s start.
What is a Creative Burnout?
Creative Burnout or Artn Burnout is the term used when an artist finds himself exhausted from doing art and doesn’t find any motivation or purpose to continue doing so.
Creative Burnouts start slow they kind of creep up on you slowly without you noticing them and before you know it you start wondering what has happened and how did you get there?
It’s very specific for artists because being an artist is a passion, ask all artists how did they start? most stories begin with “I started drawing ever since I was 4” or “Art was my hobby I loved doing it” It’s very emotionally related and attached to each person this is why the impact is huge and mind troubling.
Most artists probably had discussions with their parents about them majoring in art and friends maybe didn’t take them seriously for it but they proved themselves through hard work and passion, and then this comes?!! it’s a mental hit that some just dismiss until they hit rock bottom.
Causes of Creative Burnout
First let’s start with what causes a creative burnout, keep in mind not everyone has it some artists just go through their entire lives without having any creative burnout and that’s normal.
- Excessive working (overtime, long freelance overs)
- Big expectations
- Failures one after the other
- Spreading yourself thin
whether you are employed or a freelancer this is a trap almost everyone is vulnerable to falling for it. Employees are always susceptible to what we call in our industry “Crunch Time” a nicer word for overtime which is taboo and involves reimbursements, crunch time is normalizing the fact that artists would need to stay overtime to finish work or to meet a deadline.
Some studios have it really bad and others happen periodically, but keep in mind regular crunch time leads to creative burnouts as a human and an artist you should have mind rest, you know what people call a “life” where you do other things than art and sitting on a chair for 8 hours.
Freelancers have it even harder, fear drives them to work 10 to 13 hours a day because they are worried they might go dry for a couple of months and they need to sustain themselves and their families.
Remind me of this course on Skillshare that tackles burnout for freelancers who work from home check It out if you want – Link Here
The work/home separation is destroyed when you are a freelancer from home unless you put some hard rules right at the beginning and abide by them.
Going out in nature, praying, sitting with family, laughing etc… those are essential elements for your creativity, in other words, creativity is not an endless fountain where you keep taking from it, no you need to fill it up as well otherwise it will be drained and filling it up again is very hard.
Remember when they told you “Dream Big” they were absolutely right about it, we all should but at the same time, we should be prepared for life with all of its shortfalls. Humans by nature want things fast, they want them now and can’t wait to have them, please do not mix this with your big dreams, those need time and effort, and perseverance.
Always keep your expectations in check, because frustrations will start building up and then resentment and it’s a place no one wants to be. Try to be fluid and susceptible to chance because the most constant thing we have in life is change itself.
Be ready to change your plans, be ready to lower your expectations at times, be ready to settle for a while, and accept and move on its not a weakness its maturity and protection for your own self.
Failures one after the other
No one likes to fail, everyone likes success but the surprise is, failure is part of success, it’s built-in it, which means in order to be successful you have to fail maybe once maybe several times.
Failure has a lot of similarities to success I will put them in a table to better understand.
|The same path you take to reach |
to reach success
|The same path you take |
to reach Success
|You learn a lot||You learn a lot|
|You learn what not to do and|
what to do next
|You only learn what to do|
|Shows you who you true friends |
|Generate lots of fake friends|
and lots of enemies.
Spreading yourself thin
Accept that you cannot do everything, for example, you are a freelancer you’re working on a big project that fills 6 hours of your day, so you have 2 hours more, and another project comes in and needs 5 hours of your day with good money.
If you accept you would be spreading yourself thin, guess what your first project there will be days that you would work instead of 6, 8 hours add to that the 5 new hours (if not more) that’s 13 hours in that day for what? more money?
Btw I have an article on passive income for artists that could help you out financially in your journey check it out if you’re interested.
Imagine your creativity is a jar filled with water, if you keep taking out water from it at a fast pace the jar will be drained very quickly, you need to be aware of the amount of water in that jar and at certain times fill it with more water so that it can sustain you more.
Art Block vs Creative Burnout
lots of people mix an Art Block with Creative Burnout these two terms are very different. It’s very dangerous if you dismiss creative burnout for a periodic art block as things will go downhill pretty fast.
I will compare those in the following table.
|Art Block||Creative Burnout|
|Specific toward a single topic||Specific toward a single topic|
|Long-term (days, weeks, months |
and maybe years)
|Mental tiredness towards everything|
|Specific towards a single topic||General towards everything you do|
Preventing Creative Burnout
The most important thing in preventing something is knowing that it exists, imagine there is a new virus spreading and you don’t know anything about it, you would act normal and not wear a mask, etc… then you will be more susceptible to contracting it.
on the other hand, if you knew, first you would bring your mask and be aware of others and wash your hands more often, etc… awareness just made you more protected towards it.
Now that you know about Creative Burnout and what causes it, you can be sensitive to it and its causes and with the first early signs of it, you hit the break and re-evaluate your conditions and take precautions.
Overcoming Creative Burnout
If you have been “burnt” relax, it’s not the end of the world actually it’s awesome that you know about it because then you can take actionable steps towards recovery.
Here are some of the successful techniques to help you recover:
- Long Vacation (1 to 6 months) – Depends on how bad you had it but I have known people who took 1 year to rediscover themselves and reconnect with their passion.
- Periodic Career Change – During burnouts, we lose the sense of what got us here in the first place, and one method of rediscovering why is to try something completely different for a while.
- Going Minimalist – getting rid of things and toxic people has a tremendous relief effect on the human soul, we carry too much and that spans from things to responsibilities or toxic people, etc…
- Seeking Professional Help – If none of the above worked then it’s time to seek professional help, starting with career specialists, and psychologists.
Rediscovering Your Creative Passion
Creative burnout is losing the path back to where it all started, and a very good thing to do is to rediscover that path back home, where it began, back to where when you drew something time stopped for hours, back to when the process made you happy back to where the passion started.
If there is something I can tell you for sure, it is still within you, it never went away, you just strayed too far, and rediscovering your creative passion is just walking that same path backwards to where it all started.
Creative burnout is an increasing phenomenon happening among artists, shying away from it won’t solve it, we need to speak more about it so we can minimize it’s spreading further.
I hope this article today gave you some insights about art burnout so you can protect yourself from it, and please make sure to share it with your artist friends so we can all be more aware of it.