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They're calling me the "B" word!

The shock, the horror, the sheer indignation!  You will never guess what they are calling me!  I think I know what you are thinking and trust me, its much, much worse!  They are saying I'm BURNT OUT!

In truth, I've had a really hard time since returning from Surtex.  I had spent so many months working with only one goal in mind, to get to that show.  I'm not sure I had even given a second thought to how I was even getting home.  I drove home that night getting in at 3am, did some mockups for a manufacturer I met who had an am meeting, asleep by 5am, and was back to my day job by 9am.  It almost was as if Surtex hadn't even happened.  I would have never been able to predict just how hard it would be to return to work after glimpsing the career I had only been dreaming about prior. 

Since this was my first show, I was naive about the amount of energy and time I would need AFTER the show.  I kept saying "after Surtex" or "I just need to get through May" to my friends and family anytime they asked me something.  I said no to so many events and activities I'm surprised anyone was even talking to me.  I had put so many parts of my life on hold to do what I did in the time I did it and now I was home with a new list of obligations and there they all were waiting for me to address them, and soon!  So what did I do?  Well, when I feel like I am short on money I quite literally won't spend anything, and in this case I saw I was short on time, so I just stopped.  Logically I know this is not how I should have handled things and normally it really isn't how I would.  I just couldn't prioritize what needed my attention the most.  Was it spending time with family, getting on top of the housework, following up on leads?  All of which needed to happen outside the hours of 9-5.

I was frozen.  I'd sit down every night and go back and forth trying to pick a direction, any direction, get discouraged or overwhelmed and finally too tired to work.  When I started asking for help or advice, I was met by the same phrases over and over again.  "You're burnt out" or "you can't work like that forever" almost like I had used up all my creativity and energy.  So what did that mean?  I just had to wait for it to come back?  It felt like an "I told you so" and I didn't want to hear it.  But I listened, I went to bed early, watched tv at night, took a break.  Nothing happened.  I stopped emailing, facebooking, tweeting, possibly more to do with feeling a bit down about it all, and nothing happened. 

Part of me thinks it had to do with my fear of the next step.  Even though the show had gone so well, I was afraid I wouldn't live up to the expectations of the companies I had met.  I had created collection after collection for months on end and yet I was unsure if I'd be able to create more art just as well.  I recently was reminded of Newton's Law, a body in motion stays in motion, and I have seen this in myself in the past.  I tend to feed off my own productivity, it's exciting to move from idea to sketch to painting and then on to forming collections.  I don't think I burnt out, I think I stopped.  So to remedy the situation what to do? 

I just need to start, somewhere, something.  I need to stop feeling guilty about not doing the follow up in the time I wanted, stop being fearful to send in the sketches for new art requested, I need to choose new goals, create new lists, figure out what this new stage is.  I need to start taking those baby steps again and to realize that all these things I'm nervous to begin are allowed to be steps or starting points.  Nothing has to be perfect right out of the gate.  I am still beginning, still learning.  Meantally I feel myself reving up again, I just need to get back to normal operations.

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Reader Comments (1)

Hi Nicole!
I totally understand the 'b word' - all too well.
Whenever I do a big fair (my biggest one is in December) I end up hibernating for a couple months afterwards. It lets me rest and lets my brain quiet down and it's GOOD. The only time this doesn't happen is when I have something else already lined up on the horizon. For the winter fair it's usually the last thing on my list for the year so January and February I am completely absent from all the 'optional' parts of life. Those recuperative months end up feeling just like the months running up to the event (no social invites accepted, no fun outings) BUT there's no work to do so it's a good restful time.

But when it's time to get back to work, it's hard to remember how! I've taken all of 2012 off from doing fairs. (I'm still doing some art shows but that doesn't feel like work!) But with the holidays coming up I need to get to work on some other things so that I can keep selling even if I'm not doing it in person. With such a relaxing no-fair summer it's been hard for me to remember how to make a good list and actually check things off. I'm just starting to get back into it and it feels good to accomplish things and GET STUFF DONE.

I think your brain and muse and creative muscles will know when you've had enough rest and will get back to work when they're ready. If you want to force them make a short, doable list and get all that stuff done. Easy small things. You'll remember how in no time! Your work is so great, I'm sure you'll get back into the swing of things in no time. :)

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah C

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