Sometimes a blank page can be downright cruel.
A flashing cursor staring back at you, mocking you with its readiness to execute your next brilliant idea….
When you work in a creative industry as a copywriter or graphic designer, for example, your ideas are your bread and butter. You must come up with the goods every damned day and while some ideas come quickly with a flash of inspiration, many are much harder to produce.
There comes a time when you’ve reached your working limits and you’re simply not inspired to carry on. This is especially the case when you’ve got a lot of work on.
Your brain feels overworked and wrung out. It might be after a day of intense work or in the middle of a particularly big project. You feel like you just can’t go on, but you must.
Prevention is the best cure and I think the best way to overcome creative burnout is avoid it.
Easier said than done, I know. But if you’re writing all the time you need to protect your ability to generate new ideas and write well.
Understand when your creative hours are
It might be first thing in the morning or late at night. You might write best after you’ve sorted out some of that pesky admin or you might need to get straight into it.
When you know the times of the day when your creative brain is freshest you can plan your work accordingly and neatly sidestep that creative burnout.
For me, any writing must write first thing in the morning. I can’t let myself be distracted by emails as before I know it, it’s lunchtime and my lovely fresh brain is a little worn out.
Give yourself enough time
Inspiration usually strikes when you’re doing something entirely unrelated so it’s important to make time to let your brain breathe.
It can be hard to do when you’ve got deadlines to meet but I find that if I’m not rushing to get everything done, my creative brain can mull an idea over and let inspiration bubble to the surface.
This is especially important for big projects when, halfway through, I feel like I’m running out of inspiration and energy. Rather than push on and deliver something under par, I move onto other projects to get your mojo back.
Break your task down
Sometimes creative burnout can strike when you’re simply overwhelmed by the work ahead. By breaking your writing task down into smaller chunks and starting with the easier stuff you can ease into the right creative space.
Step away from your desk
Your desk represents a hive of productivity, but it can also saddle you with all the other things you need to do to keep your business moving. Emails. Accounts. Proposals. Social media. They all cry out for your attention and that can steal away your creative energy.
Make time out to do something else in your day: go for a walk, read a book, or sit and enjoy a cup of tea without thinking about work for a while. When you do this, you’re also feeding your brain with inspiration from the world around you.
So, there are my tips. Now, it’s over to you.
Have you experienced creative burnout? How do you overcome it once it’s set in or do you try to avoid it altogether?