It happens to everyone. For some, the creative fires burn long and motivation seems to flow like a never ending stream. But one day, everything dries up and you’re left scratching your head and wondering where the magic has gone. This painful affliction haunts us all – much like the common cold, everyone ends up getting it in some form or another. But how do you avoid it from happening?
Prevention is part of the cure. It may not be the silver bullet, but it can sure help you avoid the common traps we lay to sabotage ourselves and create doubt in our abilities, despair about the level of success, and depression about the lack of attention and wealth we’re receiving.
One of the tell-tale signs that burnout is imminent is an obvious decrease in mental energy levels. You may not realize it, but when your mind is suffering, your creativity suffers. If you feel lousy, the last thing you want to do is slog it out at a desk for 8 hours to come up with creative, brilliant solutions. If this extends over a period of time, you’ll have ZERO motivation to finish any of your projects.
When you’re feeling lousy, try and shake things up a little. A change of scenery, a good night’s rest, an activity that doesn’t rely on using your grey matter. Things that are completely unrelated to your (comic) task at hand may help your regain your focus and plow through those ‘low’ moments when you’re not feeling 100%. The last thing you want to be worrying about is getting a comic out on time. Worry more about caring for your state of mind and you will have the endurance to get you out of any low motivation dips.
Another way to rebuild your motivation is to delegate some of your tasks to a trusted friend. By reducing your work load, you’ll have less to worry about and free yourself up to do more creative things, rather than worrying about the mundane daily aspects of your comic hobby/business. People are paying/visting you for your work, not how you handle the business side of your work. You need to bring your A-game, every game. The best way to do that is to keep focused on your specialty, and that is drawing/writing your comics.
The final tip I’ll leave you with is a little thing I like to call ‘pouring salt on the leeches.’When you pour salt on a leech, it shrivels up and releases itself. You want to do this to all of the things that suck time, motivation and energy from your project. If you are truly committed and focused on creating the best strip or story that you possibly can, you need to remove all of the outside influences that distract and siphon away your precious time to do things.
Certain things can’t be helped, obviously – if you have a job, family commitments, etc. But there are times where you SHOULD be focusing on your work, instead of spending 3 hours surfing the TV/Netflix for something to watch. Cancel the accounts, unplug the TV and place it in a spot that will make it difficult to physically go and reconnect it when those urges arrive. You’ll be quick to snap out of your dream-state, regain your focus and become more productive.
There you have it kids. A few ways to side-step burnout. Now quit wasting time reading this article and go do something productive!
Andrés ‘ Drezz ‘ Rodriguez is the new guy here at Webcomic Alliance and is the author of the modern noir Online Graphic Novel entitled El Cuervo. In his spare time he works as a stunt man on MTV’s Jackass and as a punching bag for UFC Fighter Georges St. Pierre. If you have any suggestions for upcoming tutorials, feel free to connect with him on Google+ or you can follow him on Twitter at @ElCuervoComic