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How to Overcome Creative Fatigue

Creativity coach Danielle Langin provides top tips on the creative life.

Eric Maisel
Creativity Coaches on Creativity
Source: Eric Maisel

Fatigue is a real problem. Physical fatigue, mental fatigue, and emotional fatigue are plaguing just about everyone. This is especially true for creatives, who may work a day job, have all sorts of other duties and responsibilities as well, and then are supposed to find “more energy” for their creative efforts. How hard this is! In today’s post, creativity coach Danielle Langin explores this theme.

Danielle explained:

If you’ve experienced creative fatigue (or burnout) before, you’ve likely found yourself staring blankly at your computer, notebook, or art canvas waiting for something magical to swoop in and give you the boost you need to keep going. This fatigue saps all of our motivation, inspiration, and energy, making it difficult to start new projects, finish old projects, or come up with new ideas to create in the future.

So, how can you overcome this fatigue when it appears so that you can bring new creations to life again? Below are some of my favorite ways to overcome creative fatigue in my writing practice, plus a few questions you can reflect or journal on.

Take the time to rest

Creativity requires fuel and rejuvenation to keep going. Rest is pivotal in the process of creation, and fatigue is a sign from our internal compass to take a beat and slow down. Next time you are feeling fatigued in your creative process, take the time to rest in whatever way feels good to you. Examples of true rest can be getting extra sleep, meditating or focusing on your breath, going for a mindful walk outside, or unwinding in a warm bath.

Get out in nature

Not only can spending time in nature give us a boost of energy when we're feeling fatigued, it can also give us inspiration in our creative process. What’s more refreshing and inspiring than creation itself? When you are feeling burnout, take a walk outside and breathe in the air. Notice the flowers blooming. Take in your surroundings. What colors do you see? What feelings do you feel? Observe the way the branches of trees sway. Allow yourself to become refueled by the immersive creativity of nature and bring this energy back to your art when you are ready.

Create something outside of your normal medium

As a writer, I find my brain doesn’t like staring at a computer screen for hours at a time or days in a row. But still, I love to write. So, when creative fatigue sets in, and I’ve already done the tips above, I practice the art of creating outside of my medium and comfort zone. Because I’m a writer, this often looks like picking up a paint brush, or singing in my mirror, or trying out a new dance video on YouTube. It’s not my creative zone of genius, but it’s creative nonetheless, and I find that it just about always lights a spark in me that inspires me to pick up a pen and write again. Give this a try in your own practice next time you feel creative fatigue set in, and allow your creativity to come to life in ways you are not used to.

Questions to reflect or journal on:

  • What is your fatigue trying to tell you?
  • What does true rest and rejuvenation look like to you, and how can you make it a priority?
  • How can you nurture your creativity?
  • How can you slow down and find the inspiration that is all around you?
  • What would fill you with energy, creative or otherwise, at this moment?
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