Six strategies for battling burnout

How to cope with creative burnout?

Last week on a Monday night, I was alone in the thick of lettering, painting out the logo and menu items for a mural at Tony’s at Brentwood, my father’s pizzeria, when I got a message from Haylee Anne that immediately sucked me in to problem solving mode. Her message read, “Asking for someone else: what have you done when you’ve had a really long period of creative burnout?“ She was asking for a friend, and she “wanted to give him more than "‘well my friendship with Angela saved me.’“ Which, on a side note: I feel the same that our art friendship was / is love at first sight / art opening.

After a bit of advice, Haylee wrote an email and sent me a copy of what she complied together that I immediately thought, this should be a public, on the internet thing. Here’s what she wrote.

 A photograph I took of Haylee Anne post collaboration on her part of a joint project Into the Wilderness, which really became an incredible body of work for her & I’m putting it out there, she needs to make it into a solo show.

A photograph I took of Haylee Anne post collaboration on her part of a joint project Into the Wilderness, which really became an incredible body of work for her & I’m putting it out there, she needs to make it into a solo show.

Branch out of your niche

1. The best thing I have done for my creative life is go out of my way to make friends in different creative fields that are outside my normal circle of friends. This has obviously become living melody collective. It is invaluable, and it is hard to do. I think every creative needs a core team of people to bounce ideas off of and just talk about art with. Even if you're not working on anything, it still keeps your head running, and there is the added bonus of inspiration from your peers.

Collaborate with others

2. Following this, I cannot stress enough: collaboration. Collaboration has helped me immensely in restarting my creative drive. When you are working on something just for fun with someone you enjoy, there are so many avenues this can take. It can lead to something big, something for the community, something for yourself, a personal project. It helps that its not just YOUR project, or your idea, its something you believe in and you're making the choice to work with someone else. It is hard to work with other people, and that is why it's so rewarding. I should mention - this only works well IMO when working with artists whose work you actually like, or appreciate, etc.

Start a dialogue with peers

3. Following the first two: don't be afraid to just ask artists you appreciate to coffee or a video chat. Even if its one conversation, it's something, everyone always has other ideas and resources. In the same vein, create a dialogue with someone you look up to, if you can. I've sent many emails to artists I enjoy and usually they don't respond, but some have, and their words have created several sparks for me.

Look for the exciting moments

4. All of the above to say: do something that is fun, but outside of your norm. Something you can find yourself looking forward to even if it is work. This is much easier said than done, I know.

Find resources in books about creativity

5. Check out this book, it is recommended by both me and Bortone. It has a 12 part plan to combatting burnout that I think may help: The Artist’s Way

[Angela here: I’d also like to add a podcast resource on this subject of burnout, The Creative Pep Talk]

Go back the old favorites

6. And finally, don't be afraid to refill your well with the ultra basic and original things that inspire you. Like, the kind of things that you loved when you were a kid. Angela says: for me, dancing is really restorative, rereading my favorite book, cooking is an important rhythm for me; these are things that help refill my sense of myselfness. For me, Hay, it's really allowing myself to read whenever I want, going to the gym, taking time every week to look at calls for art, forcing myself to listen to podcasts for joy and not work.


 I was in the middle of this mural when Haylee messaged me

I was in the middle of this mural when Haylee messaged me

Isn’t this list of things Haylee put together really good? These are all strategies I’ve tried and have worked for me. Let me know if they help you.

Regards,

Angela