I’m doing a series of creative burnout. Part 1 is here.
There is one very simple thing that I know helps me tremendously when I am feeling creatively dry and friable.
It’s simple but not easy because our brains do not want to do it, so as I tell you about this very simple thing, notice if you think, “As if!” or “Tried that already!”
Keep an open mind, okay?
Cause this really works.
The very simple thing is…
Stop distracting yourself
Follow what interests you
When you are writing or art journaling or gardening or coding, whatever your creative medium, and you hit a glitch, a moment when you don’t know what to do next, and you quickly jump to do something else to comfort yourself…
…like checking your email or social media or texting your friend who is having a hard time…
You rob yourself of the very thing you crave and need to heal your creative burnout
Deep concentration without interruptions
Close attention to what interests you – no matter how small or weird
These may be the last things you want or feel you can do when you’re creatively fried.
You may have gotten into the habit of having your phone nearby because somebody may need you or allowing news alerts across your computer screen or simply never going into your creative cave because it doesn’t feel safe.
During this horrible pandemic time, it’s often felt safer to scan for threats or stay on the surface than sink into creative concentration.
Deep concentration and paying close attention have been in short supply for a lot of us lately – especially if you’ve been schooling from home, worried about people you love, or having to adjust your work.
Yet, without periods of uninterrupted time to wander and wonder, even if that’s just for 20 minutes, we grow weary and parched.
You are an artist. You need this for your soul to survive.
Turn off the alerts.
Put your phone out of your creative cave space.
Choose one tiny thing that interests you – a word, a color, a stitch, an image, anything.
Forget product, forget about audiences, sales, readers, anything but this moment.
Immerse yourself moment by moment.
If you hit an I-don’t -know-place, instead of distracting yourself, remember:
You are basically okay
You are not your work
You need not produce anything
Ask yourself “If I was 8, what would I try next?”
Perhaps introduce a random element like open a book, find 5 words from that page, and use them in your work, or choose a color with your eyes closed and use that next.
Honor your creative life with attention without interruptions.
See if that doesn’t feel good.