Rules for Creatives to Avoid Burnout

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If there’s one thing I know about as a professional writer for the past decade, it’s that creative burnout is real.

"How can you be burnt out on something you love?!"

I've noticed it mostly happens when you get off track from the reason you first started. Or maybe you just work too damn hard and enjoy nothing else in life. I'll dive into a few reasons and give tips for avoiding them.

Avoid projects you don’t enjoy

The biggest reason for my burnout has to do with doing projects I don’t enjoy. Writing copy for products I don’t believe in, working with clients who are draining, or just not being passionate about any work for long stretches of time is what seems to send me into burnout the fastest.

Look, I totally understand needing to take on some projects because you have bills to pay. I’m not above that at that point in my career. However, that leads me to my next point.

Always keep working on your own projects

THIS is the biggest mistake I wish I could scream from the rooftops to every single creative out there.

YOU MUST PROTECT YOUR CREATIVE WORK TIME AT ALL COSTS

Only this year did I finally start blocking out my first few hours of my day to work on my creative projects. See, when it comes to doing what you love, as a creative you'll often take on client work to make money with your art. Writers write for companies, videographers make videos for companies, graphic designers make designs for companies... you get the idea.

I am slowly making the switch from copywriting to blogging and screenwriting. However, if I'm not careful, client work will take over my life. It has been a struggle to work on my own stuff when I'm always thinking about client work. However, I know that working on my own projects will get my career where I want it, not the other way around.

Develop a schedule

Look, I know how creatives are. Sometimes we get in creative moods at the most random times and you just want to run with an idea. If you've read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, however, you know that a professional has a schedule. They show up every day at the same time. (By the way, "professional" doesn't necessarily mean it's your full-time work. It just means you take your craft seriously.)

Take time off

Little breaks here and there will do wonders for your stress. I love working and in the beginning all I did was work on my writing. However, it came at the sacrifice of spending time with friends and family. 

 

Overall, just make sure you are making time for what matters most to you. Not your client projects, not your day job, not anything else. YOUR top priority. Period.