Here’s the interesting thing I’ve learned throughout my experiences with burnout: Often, when you’re struggling with it, it feels impossible to see the way out. Chances are, however, your instincts are telling you exactly what your solution is. And that solution may involve something similar to, yet entirely different from, whatever it was that burned you out in the first place.
That may not have made as much sense as I was hoping. Here’s the longer version of what I’m trying to say, and how I’m hoping it’ll help you.
I talked in my last Writing Update about how I probably burned out in September. One of the biggest signs this was true was an urge to be creative, but in a way that had nothing to do with writing or photography. I struggled with this, because I felt guilty about it. I mean, “Writer and Photographer” is right there in my tagline. They’re both what I love to do. But I just couldn’t do them.
Around the beginning of October, I came up with a solution. I had a set of watercolours I’d barely touched, and some old brushes that I’d used only now and then over the past few years. So I went out and bought myself some proper watercolour paper. And I started playing.
I’m terrible at it. The colours don’t quite do what I want them to, and I can’t get the images to turn out quite right. But you know what? It’s all been a huge help regardless of my skill level. It’s a new creative outlet, it’s relaxing, and it’s helped me start writing again.
So that’s what I was trying to get at in my first, somewhat rambling paragraph: If you’re burned out, or on your way there, listen to your instincts. Even if those instincts are telling you to try something completely outside of your usual playing field.
It may help more than you could imagine.