Writer Wednesday: New Year, Same Burnout
Hello and good morning authors! We are still in the fresh first month of the New Year and today we are going to be discussing Authors, New Year's Resolutions, and Burnout. This is the time of year where the freight train of burn out can hit hardest, doubly so because we trick ourselves into the belief that the New Year means a new leaf, the ability to leave the previous year's problems behind, when in reality that belief quickly sours and doubles down into self resentment when we cannot magically reach the new goals we set for ourselves.
New Year, Same Burnout
If you're a creative in the present climate, it's high chances you've dragged yourself over the finish line the past year or two. (Or three, but who's counting?) Burnout is a very real mental state for many people, juggling the quadrupled stressors of our current state of affairs. Creatives have managed to navigate these waters with mixed success. Some have found great escape and an up shoot while others have struggled to juggled and often find their energy and motivation crunched beneath too many demands.
This is a topic I've covered before and, for good reason, it's one I like to revisit. If you've stumbled on a post like this before I might sound like a broken record when I stress now, more than ever, is a time to be kind to yourself.
Creative Burnout is something we all struggle with from time to time and going into the New Year with all those resolutions and goals feels like a sledgehammer to your self confidence. In truth, it's important to remember when setting those goals that a month does not equate a year. If you find yourself struggling to get going in January, that does not mean you have failed 2023. A lot happens in 12 months and your first true act might be allowing yourself to heal from the burnout you carried with you into the New Year.
Self Care looks different for everyone. The act of self care and nurturing your creativity back to fighting weight might look like taking a break from writing and diving into farming sim games. It might be reading twenty five books or watching all those shows you've been meaning to catch up on. Refilling your well might mean starting a new creative hobby altogether, whether that is drawing, crocheting, or making narrative dioramas out of scavenged natural materials, the idea is creation fuels creativity.
Give yourself over to decluttering projects. Tackle that hoarding problem in your closet. Organize your bookshelves. Do things that let your mind wander in a relaxed state.
If you absolutely need to write for commitments, schedule time for it. Schedule back up time for it.
Most importantly, don't try to put a time limit on recovery. Rekindling a spark or passion takes work and you might hit a few false starts before that flame catches again. We often get frustrated with ourselves when we can't seem to dig ourselves out of a rut but often it's because we've mentally set a goal post to meet. Just as we fall into the trap of unrealistic expectations for hopping on those New Year's Resolutions, we trip over our own internalized expectations for overcoming burn out. Everyone's pace of recovery is different, and when the world is in the state it is in, we might face burnout more than once a year.
At the end of the day, it is important to be kind to yourself, not only in the area of self care, but self expectations. The turn over of the new year is not a magical cure all or a clean slate, but a journey over the course of a year allows for healing, recovery, and rekindling.
Resources & Further Reading