Creative burnout, more commonly known as ‘art block’, is a struggle that pretty much every artist has to face at some point in their artistic journey. It can be extremely frustrating and inconvenient, especially for those who are trying to make art for a living. The following three ‘symptoms’ are the most obvious signs that you might want to take a step back and let yourself recover creatively.
1. Art feels like a chore
This is the most obvious symptom of creative burnout. You simply aren’t taking pleasure in creating anymore. You might even hate it right now. When you’re making art, it feels forced and mechanical; the only reason you might be doing it in the first place is to get paid or to avoid getting punished by the Instagram algorithm for your inactivity, or other similar reasons that have nothing to do with the desire to express yourself. The ‘spark’ you used to feel is gone.
2. You’re too hard on yourself
When you look at your works, all you see are flaws and imperfections. You beat yourself up when you look at other people’s art, telling yourself that you’ll never reach their level of skill. Looking at your own works inspires feelings of disappointment, frustration, and embarrassment, and you might be tempted to feel like a failure. Usually, this happens because your perception of what good art looks like and your ability to judge art have evolved past your current skill – and, as a result, what you once considered impressive and of good quality
3. You’re experiencing stress
Stress can be both a cause and a symptom of creative burnout. You might feel irritable, moody, worn out, or experiencing brain fog, among others. This stress might even manifest on a physical level, through symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems, or muscle pain – at this point, the creative burnout you’re experiencing might be a sign from your body that you’re overworking yourself and that you need to take a break for your own sake. If you don’t let yourself take a day off every now and then, your body will force you to take one.