As someone involved in a creative field it can become inevitable that you eventually face ‘burnout’. You know, that feeling that you just can’t do anymore no matter how hard you try. You could stare at your screen for hours and only get (what seems like) 20 minutes worth of actual work done.

This lapse in productivity and creativity can be due to a lot of things, such as saying yes too often, not being able to commit to an idea, delving into a concept before you have thought out other (possibly stronger) alternatives, or partying too hard. As a designer (someone who has to create every day) it’s really important you find a balance between all of these things.

When someone asks you to design them a poster or make them a logo simply refer to this chart.

If you accidentally say yes to someone and can’t do it call them and tell them you can’t. It’s better to be honest about it than to waste your time creating mediocre things that you don’t have time for and under deliver.

Make sure when you have an idea and you have that gut feeling it’s good, that you spend more time on that sketch or take a few more notes on that thought.

Avoid jumping too far into an idea, just because you ‘feel’ something is good, or might be good doesn’t mean you should follow it to the grave if it doesn’t turn out to be a golden ticket. Throw some extra time into that sketch, but don’t throw down all your dollars on that pony.

Last (this is really for the students) don’t party to hard, go out once a week or so, have fun. If you make sure you really have good work, you will have more fun. If you go out three or four times a week you will end up broke and with a shitty portfolio. Really try to make balance in your life. (Mostly I’m looking at you freshman&sophomores)

 

One last thing to leave you with,

I know you have all seen this quote before but it can be really difficult to stay inspired when you see other people create kick ass work all around you. Just remember this wise mans words.

 

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.


But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.


It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”


—Ira Glass

1 comment

Add yours
  1. 1
    Rachel (Nicole's friend!)

    Hey Daniel. Great blog post. I definitely benefited from reading the entire thing. I am in school for audiio design technology and often get discouraged and lazy with digital audio technology and allowing for my creativity to properly flow through the equipment the way that I want it to. Truth is. I am inpatient, get discouraged easily, and have VERY high expectations of myself. (all a bad combination!) So anyways- thanks for this 🙂

Leave a Comment