Addressing the reality of creative burnout

How the pressure of a creative career can lead to the feeling of fatigue

Anna Malesiewski, Features Editor

I sat and stared at the same blank Google doc for an hour before I wrote this.

It’s my week to write a Perspectives column (obviously), and as I sat here thinking and racking my brain about what to write, I began to feel exhausted.

My head started to hurt, my vision started to become blurry and my focus was slowly starting to dwindle. All telltale signs that my brain is starting to shut off for the day.

However, I needed to get this done today. So it became apparent to me what I was going to write about.

Whether this idea came about as an attempt to address a larger problem or the sheer need to vent, I don’t know. But alas, here we are. It’s really hard being a creative.

It’s really hard when your profession relies on the ability to come up with creative and insightful ideas. Creative burnout is real.

As a writer, I’m faced with constant pressure to pump out engaging content.

I’m constantly thinking deeply. I see everything as a potential story.

Maybe that makes me a good journalist, or maybe it makes me insane. Maybe being a good journalist requires you to be a little bit insane.

I love what I do. I love journalism with all of my being.

I throw myself into it, into every story I write, every interview I conduct and every page I edit. I know this is what will make me successful in my future career.

But I am so very tired. The line between work and life is blurred. Because as a creative, I take inspiration for my work from my life.

Everything in my life can be inspiration. Everything in my life is an opportunity. But at the same time, everything in my life is an opportunity. And this can be exhausting.

As a creative, there is no experiencing the world for the sake of experiencing it.

There is experiencing the world with the underlying thought that this might make a good story. Or this could be a good photo. Or I could write a poem about this.

I don’t know how to experience anything anymore without feeling that it requires an insightful, thought-provoking, beautiful reaction.

The sunset outside my window is a photo op and the person I met in Starbucks today might be worthy of a profile and the issues that frustrate me might be worth a column.

I’m going to start working on being more present with how I feel and the way I experience things without the presumption that I should use this for my art.

But here I am, writing my column for the week. Doing the same thing I complain about in it. Maybe this is just what being a writer is.

I’m going to bed.



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