Stop Doing Too Much
Are you a creative person with mulitple interests? Do you have a history of diving into too many projects at once and burning out? I do.
In How To Deal With Multipotentialite Burnout, Emilie Wapnick has a great description of a too-typical creative cycle that leads to burnout, from the initial impulse through the point of effortless creative momentum into pushing too hard, taking on too many new things, and into the panic of discovering one is over-committed and crashing.
Emilie argues that to avoid falling into burnout, we need to notice the shift from following the creative momentum into pushing too hard and to stop and reevaluate our priorities as soon as we notice.
It has taken me decades to start catching myself in that place. And I noticed the symptoms this week. Yesterday, for the first time since starting my new morning routine, I had trouble writing because all of my writing projects were clamouring for my attention and I found myself unable to say ‘no’ to any of them, thereby ensuring I said ‘yes’ to none of them.
All of the fabulous creative breakthroughs that have been hitting me with regard to my novel have inspired me to push forward in that direction. But, I still have many other responsibilities. I must not pursue the novel to the exclusion of those.
If I am to make room in my schedule for more time writing my novel now that my muse is shouting at me, I need to let something go. I am taking the time to figure out what.
So, I am revisiting some of my commitments. I am questioning my desire to continue blogging daily here. I am questioning the approach I want to take to a blogging challenge I have been planning to participate in during April. And there are other, less public, commitments that I am also looking at.
This re-visioning of my projects is crucial to avoiding burnout while honouring my internal drive to pursue many paths at once.
If you struggle with the cycle from motivation through overcommitment to burnout, Douglas Eby presents a collection of reflections and links to excellent articles addressing the danger of burnout faced by “multipotential” individuals in his article, Multiple Talents, Multiple Passions, Burnout.
Taking care of ourselves is crucial. The key is noticing when we start pushing ourselves too hard.
What do you notice that tells you it is time to step back and revisit your priorities?