Why It’s Important To Take a Creative Break From The Work You Love
The blog is back! After a creative break this summer, I’m so excited to go back to blogging at least once a week, and I have SO many posts planned to help you shine brighter, put yourself out in the world as you are and thrive wholeheartedly in a world that sometimes feels like it’s falling apart!
Today I want to talk about taking creative breaks, because as I’ve realised over the summer, they’re pretty fucking important.
And because of how important they are, this is going to be the first of a four-part series about creative breaks because I really want to take you behind the scenes, help you to plan your own break and add some much needed sustainability to the online world. So in this series, I’m also going to be sharing the Behind The Scenes of My Creative Break, The 10 Things I Learned About Creative Breaks That Are Helpful For Any Creative and How To Take Your Own Creative Break.
For today I want to share why a break is SO important for both our creative souls and the soul of our creative work.
I don’t know about you, but as creatives and multi-passionates who do our work both online and offline, it can be pretty easy to buy into the myth that you need to be creative machine:
You need to be producing amazing work constantly, effortlessly and tirelessly. You then need to spend a good chunk of time getting that work seen and marketing yourself to the point of sometimes feeling sleazy. You can’t stop because the people you look up to and compare yourself to aren’t stopping. You need to create and repeat without the thought of a break, knowing the minute you step away people will forget about you, you’ll get creatively blocked and it will all be for nothing.
Well that’s just bullshit.
BREATHE, my friend, because it just isn’t true.
The people who are touting that? Chances are they also glorify burnout as a badge of honour, and think that making yourself physically ill is just part of the course. (Which it isn’t and doesn’t have to be).
And those people? Well, they’re not our people.
If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know that around this part of town, it’s about being aligned with your values, shining brightly in the world while keeping your own light lit and putting yourself out into the world in a way that feels good.
It’s about not burning out, and doing the work that only we can do in a way that works for us.
It’s about working in a sustainable way and knowing that looking after yourself isn’t selfish but essential.
It’s about doing things differently.
Because here’s the thing.
Your creativity can’t exist in that vacuum or that machine. First of all, the pressure will kill any creative ideas you have. Secondly and more importantly, forcing yourself to work like a machine isn’t great for your mind or your body, and I’m pretty sure you know this already from experience (I know I do).
If you value your creativity - and if you’re reading this, I’m betting you do - then you need to take care of it. Ergo, you need to take care of yourself.
It’s about protecting the work you love so that it can continue to bring you joy, bring your gifts to the world and so it doesn’t become the work you hate.
But more than that, it’s about looking after you.
You need to give yourself space, time and energy to re-inspire yourself, feed your soul and be you.
You are so much more than the work you do, the gifts you give the world and the things you put out there.
I know what you’re thinking: that sounds great and all, but I haven’t got the time. It might be great for other people, but for not me.
Repeat after me: taking a break isn’t a luxury or a grand idea.
It’s pretty fucking essential, and it doesn’t have to cost you the world.
It doesn’t have to be some five-star experience that only the super wealthy and super privileged can do. It doesn’t have to be something you can only do when you’ve hit a certain level of success.
If you feel like in order to have to be rolling in it or have complete freedom to have a creative break, let’s break this apart a bit and get thinking outside the box (which is what we do, right?)
Everyone has a different set of circumstances and different levels of availability, flexibility and time, and I believe that everyone can take a some sort of creative break. (I’m going into much more detail in future posts).
Let’s bust some myths about what a creative break looks like:
You don’t have to have three weeks or three months. Instead, you could try to have better boundaries around your time on a day-to-day basis. Maybe you stop working at a certain time and get stricter about what work (if any) you do on the weekend. You could plan a one day retreat for yourself every month.
You don’t have to do something tremendously exciting and impressive sounding. You could curl up with your favourite film or your favourite film and be reminded why you do what you do in the first place.
In the name of putting everything out there and being really honest about my own circumstances, I can tell you that during my creative break, I was living with Mr. Meg’s family, without the pressure of having to pay a huge amount of rent or bills. During my creative break I took on some big graphic design projects. (I’m going to be posting a behind-the-scenes look at my creative break soon, so you can find out more about how I used the break!)
You might have more flexibility and time, you might have a whole lot less, but you can take a creative break.It’s time to do what you do best - get creative!
And really, here’s what it all comes down to:
Taking a creative break from the work you love is how you sustain doing the work you love
It’s all about taking care of the work you love.
And sustainability has to be a big part of the conversation if you want to keep going.
(If you're interested in sustainability and playing the long game, you'll love this Couragemakers episode I recorded with Mary Ann Clements.)
You can’t live from passion alone - at some point you need to take responsibility of your gifts and give them what they need to grow. Sometimes that’s time and space. Sometimes that’s adding different flavours of creativity to your life, and sometimes that’s carving out a set amount of time to feed your soul.
You have so much to give the world, and the world needs what only you can do.
But it’s not just about that. It’s not just about looking after yourself and your creativity so you can do more and you can be more.
It’s about realising that taking a break is good for your soul, so you can feel more you, you can evaluate/reflect and work to create a life you love, and so that you can be your wonderful, authentic self.
If you want to take a creative break this month, I'm a part the Jijaze Virtual Replenishment Away Day on 20th September where we're going to be talking about replenishment and self-care and why they are a key part of our work to make a difference in the world. Join the Away Day here!