The Myth Of Creative Burnout

Creators are supposed to create.

The happiest day of your life, you create.

The saddest day of your life, you create.

Got something to say, you create.

Can’t think of anything to say, you still create.

A few months back, I was listening to an episode on Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast called No Such Thing (As Writer’s Block).

Based on the title, you can tell that the entire episode was spent explaining how writer’s block doesn’t exist.

I categorize writer’s block with “creative burnout” as they are one and the same.

Creative burnout occurs when we simply don’t feel like doing what we are doing anymore.

Dictionary.com defines writer’s block as the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Which could be considered “creator’s block,” as the condition of being unable to think of what to create or how to proceed with creating.

One may argue that creative burnout leads to creator’s block, while others would argue that creator’s block leads to creative burnout.

In the podcast, Godin questions how have writers been able to get away with an excuse for not doing their job?

And this same question can apply for creators…

Imagine a plumber coming to your house to fix a toilet, showing up and saying, “Sorry but today I have plumber’s block and I’m burnt out, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get the job done.”

Imagine if while you’re experiencing a massive toothache, you go to the dentist and he says, “Sorry I have dentist’s block today and I’m extremely burnt out, can’t help you.”

In some instances your life may depend on the work of these professionals…

And never in your worst nightmares would you imagine them to come up with an excuse as to why they can’t do their job in your moment of need.

I ask the same question but in reference to creators in general, since creative burnout (especially amongst YouTubers) has been on the rise lately.

A creator can be anyone, whether you’re a writer, author, YouTuber, Podcaster, etc.

My good friend Andre Chaperon refers to creators as indie writers, authors, (creative) marketers, affiliates, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, bloggers, tech founders (hackers), photographers, programmers; anyone who is drawn to create art for the betterment or enjoyment of others, and does it ahead of profit.

Being a creator is not easy.

Often times, we feel overwhelmed and at a loss for creativity and we believe we are suffering through “burnout”.

But are we really suffering from the symptoms of a “sickness” called creative burnout or is it just an excuse to not have to do the work?

A child in school will fake that he is sick just so that he doesn’t have to go to school.

An employee will do the same so he doesn’t have to go to work.

The quote on quote “sick day” doesn’t exist for creators, at least not for the majority of us, because we are our own boss.

So we’ve created our own “excuse” as to why we can’t do the work.

Because we need a break.

We deserve a break, right?

Now before you brush me off as someone that just doesn’t understand…

Over the past six years I’ve posted over 600 videos on a YouTube channel that has amassed over 144 million views and 1.4 million subscribers.

I don’t say any of this to brag but simply so that you know, I’m not just speaking from the outside looking in but rather the inside looking in.

I’ve posted 2–3 videos every week on my channel and have never missed a week.

Yes, in six years I’ve never missed a week.

Not to mention the hundreds, if not, thousands of videos created for Facebook and Instagram.

So trust me, I understand.

But how have I been able to do this?

Because I view myself as Batman and my audience as Gotham city.

I realize that I have people that I HAVE to serve.

Like the dentist and the plumber, my work helps others improve their current situation.

They depend on me.

So how can I make an excuse for not being able to serve them?

When we stop thinking about creating as a chore and instead look at it as a privilege then it becomes easier and much more fulfilling.

I don’t care if you’re creating for millions of people, one person, or just the hopes of reaching one person.

You have a duty to do.

That next piece you create could be the one that saves somebody’s life.

It could be the one to get them out of a difficult situation.

It could be the one that inspires them to get up and do something.

If you want to be a creator then you have to create.

The average dentist sees 8–12 patients a day.

How many pieces do you have to create?

Maybe 1–3… in a week.

You can do it.

There’s nothing that can stop you.

As Creators, We’ve Chosen This Path

Nobody forced our hand at being creators.

Nobody had a gun to our heads telling us that we had to do this.

But we treat it as if someone had.

When we come from a place of dedication to the people that we serve and realize that what we create isn’t so much about us, as it is the people that we are creating for then things like writer’s block and creative burnout tend to disappear.

Until then though, we’ll continue to feel like hamsters on the wheel.

When You “Think” You Have Creative Burnout — Do This

When a basketball player is in a shooting slump his coaches tell him to keep shooting.

Seth Godin said the best way to get through this self created “writer’s block” is to sit down at a computer and write.

The same goes for creative burnout.

When you feel you just aren’t capable of creating anymore, sit down in a room with no distractions and create.

When you’re at the bar with a friend, I’m sure you never run out of things to talk about, right?

There’s no such thing as “talker’s block” at the bar.

Well creating isn’t much different.

If you’re a writer, sit down and write.

If you’re a video creator, turn on the camera and go.

Even if you don’t feel like it…

Even if you have nothing to talk about.

Remember you have a duty.

If you’re still having trouble…

Sit somewhere quietly, remove distractions, close your eyes and THINK.

Concentrate on what needs to be done.

Remember you have a duty.

And if you still have excuses as to why you can’t do it…

Then maybe you simply shouldn’t.

Just how not everyone can be a superhero, not everyone can be a creator.

This piece wasn’t to discourage you from being a writer or creator though…

It was to empower you.

Your work matters.

Writer’s block and creative burnout can’t stop that work because they don’t really exist.

They are manifestations of your mind, similar to fear.

The more you give into them, the more they take you over.

When you realize that YOU are the one in control and not them, you unlock unlimited amounts of potential.

Final Words Of Encouragement…

I’m far from perfect and often times I have to follow my own advice.

In fact, I followed everything I’m telling you today just to write this article.

I literally had no idea what to write about.

I felt like I just couldn’t create.

This wasn’t a topic I contemplated for weeks, as creators we don’t have that much time.

Our people need us.

We have people to serve.

We have people to save.

I flipped open my laptop and wrote… and wrote… and wrote, until something stuck.

Not every piece we create will be groundbreaking.

In fact, the majority of them will be subpar.

But remember…

It’s the simplest messages that can change somebody’s life.

When you make this simple shift in your viewpoint and see yourself as a superhero (because you are one)…

And you view the work that you create as a means to save the world (because it is) then you’ll no longer fall victim to the myth of creative burnout.

I hope this article was helpful!

I recently wrote a very in-depth article on how we can “Become Limitless” by making a few simple tweaks to our habits.

Although the tweaks are small and simple, the effects can be enormous.

The article is all about becoming the CAUSE of what happens in our lives and not just the effect.

Click here to read more!

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