Art Takes Time and So Should You
A discussion on priority, scheduling, and burnout
By: Akira B.
Hello fellow artist, writer, musician, cosplayer, photographer - all of you creatives out there. When was the last time you had a moment to yourself - to really sit and enjoy your own peace? I’ll do you one better; when was the last time you created something for yourself?
If these questions were hard to answer then you’ve come to the right place because you’re not alone in that feeling. And while there are a slew of worldly problems that have created/stoked this feeling, sometimes we have to focus on the things we can control - to our own personal extent of course. Being in such a creative industry we learn some really good habits and then some really bad ones. It’s time to shed some light on one of the worst habits and the one that causes burnout the most: Not Resting. Or the mentality of only “resting when you’re dead”.
As creators, we tend to do our best work when we are in a healthy place, receiving proper treatment, and not being self destructive with ourselves- despite what social media or other outside factors may lead you to believe. And while it may be hard to get certain specific treatments, prioritizing your own rest amongst your life is something you can manage, no matter what life you lead. The most important thing to remember is that if you don’t rest your body will force you. That’s where burnout comes from aka a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.
A well rested brain is a healthy and more creative one.
Plus, you’ve only got one body so you might as well treat it with some care. And here’s two practical and tangible tips to stave off burnout:
What gets your attention first and foremost? Is it your portfolio, is it a specific social media account, is it a paid subscription service like Patreon or Ko-Fi? While not having all of your eggs in one basket can be helpful, it’s helpful to know which basket you should be focusing on first. Maybe for a month you’re only focusing on the subscription site, where your money is generated. All of your creative output can live in this basket before moving to the next. Whether it be a month, two weeks, or day by day, planning out where your priorities lie will stave off a lot of frantic “creating for an algorithm”.
And say you’ve planned it out but the idea of actually posting is still incredibly daunting. That’s where your next tip comes in.
After you plan what days are for posting and where and more importantly what days are for resting, your next focus is to build up your creative reserves. Create all of that stuff you wanted to because the following week, month, day, etc you can spend time scheduling for whatever you're prioritizing. Places like Tumblr and Instagram have built in scheduling systems that make it perfect for scheduling. And Instagram - through Facebook (yes, I know) has a thing called Meta Planner where you can schedule from there. And while this isn’t a step by step guide on how to schedule your posts, it is friendly advice telling you that scheduling a post for every day - even every other day - will quickly throw you back into burnout.
The point of making a schedule is to avoid rushing against self made deadlines. If you run out a month’s worth of buffer in the matter of a week you’re only continuing that cycle of stress. You’re not a machine. You need time even if it feels like you don’t have enough of it. Instead of trying to swim against the current, it’s important to find methods that work with you and help you in your creative journey. No one process is the same because no one person is the same. If you have to plan your rest days in order to actually rest, then maybe that’s what you gotta do.
And remember, be proud of what you have done and not upset about the things you haven’t. You’ll get there at your own pace.
~ Akira B.
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