Hibernating and Creative Breaks

Hello everybody,

shortly before Christmas I decided to take a little “creative break” and I think it could help many of you to read what I have learned from it. A creative talking about creative breaks for creatives in a not so creative way...so to speak.

Everyone needs breaks. Period. Now, I'm not so good at taking breaks. I'm restless. I'm in the "let's-get-stuff-done" mode most of the time. But when a creative can't be creative anymore - TAKE A BREAK. Recharge your batteries. Not only is it good for your body and mind, it is necessary for your creativity and therefor for your business. Just because you are passionate about your job, about your photography does not mean you never need a break. I love what I’m doing professionally and, yes, it is a passion, a hobby. If the main foundation of your business is your creativity, then learn fast how to take breaks.

Many people think that our creative jobs are fun, a pure pleasure, we want to do it, we are passionate about the work we create, we cannot live without camera in hand. All true. But the same people think that for these same reasons breaks are just not all that necessary for us. Wrong. Very wrong.

Why are creative breaks for creatives so important?

Well, first I dare remind us that we are HUMAN and not machines.
Breaks are simply necessary to recharge our batteries. For a creative, however, it is equally important to feed ones mind, to seek new input, to find sources of inspiration.

Creative battery drainage happens to almost all of us, especially when you are fairly new to the business. It starts out with a single day when everything that you normally like to do feels like a chore – cleaning the camera, setting up shoots, working on sets, contacting clients, responding to emails, editing photos, keywording photos, organizing and filing photos, fulfilling print orders, coming up with advertising ideas, submitting to your agencies…. Oh, and don’t forget! Apart from all this you also have to be creative non-stop.

One drab day turns into two. Then you start living for the weekend. You go somewhere on the weekend and contemplate for an hour whether or not to bring your camera. You want to have time off but you NEED to stay creative. You need to fulfill the cliché of being passionate about what you are doing and showing it to the world (and above all to yourself) all day, every day. You don’t bring your camera, you feel guilty. You bring your camera, you feel tired and a constant need to be creative. But you are not and this makes you feel even guiltier. And before you know it your creativity, your drive, your hunger are gone. Out the window. You will not see the fun stuff anymore but only a big pile of chores. You can't focus anymore, you run out of ideas quicker than you run out of milk. You don't feel like building up your network anymore. Worst of all, you don't want to learn anymore.

It’s Monday again and you think doing a 9 to 5 would help. Because you can simply turn of your wanting-to-be-creative-mind after 5. But you can’t. It doesn’t work. It drains you even more. You start putting yourself under pressure. Next thing you know, you start making mistakes. You are simply not focused anymore.

TIME FOR A BREAK.

Finish everything that is urgent, clean your glass, pack away your equipment, turn off your computer, and solemnly swear to yourself that the coming days are a work/creativity/pressure free zone.

First, you’re going to get stuff done in and around the house, then you start being lazy. And after the lazy phase something happens! You start doing fun stuff. Stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with what you are usually doing. It doesn’t matter what it is. Read, walk, exercise, shop, watch movies, craft, decorate, try out something new, make day trips (without your camera!), pamper yourself, go to a spa, cook, try a new recipe, go have a couple of drinks with friends, meditate, try a new restaurant, learn how to play tennis........whatever. Anything that has NOTHING to do with what you normally do.

After a while you will find yourself soaking up new input like a sponge. You will see inspiration where you have stopped seeing it. You will start to feel more fulfilled and gradually you will come back to your routine refreshed. You are motivated again, you have ideas again, you are open again, you really like it. Again. And then, when it’s five o’clock or whenever you can call it a day, you will get back to your creative break mode and keep doing the things you learned during your break. And this gives you energy for the next day. To be able to live your passion.

So, creatives out there, take your deserved breaks. Just because you are passionate about what you are doing doesn’t mean you don’t need time away from it. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? ;)

♥ Sabine

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