Burnout: there are no creative juices flowing

19 days since my last post… I’m sorry I am a trash person who can’t follow a schedule. I’ll do better my fellow readers…I know you are all on the edge of your seats in anticipation of what the great Mercedes Oliver will say next.


WELL, DO I HAVE THE WORD FOR YOU.


BURNOUT.


Creative burnout is that crippling feeling that happens to you when you can’t seem to come up with any good concepts. For a matter of fact you don’t even enjoy your craft anymore. This is what is happening to me currently, so this is what we will be discussing today. 

Let me tell you what creative burnout looks like for me. I don’t want to create anything. I don’t want anyone to look at me. I eat everything in sight because I spend 99% of my existence creating that I don’t know what I’m suppose to do with my hands, so I do what anyone else would do eat a bunch of biscuits (the flaky honey butter biscuits at Walmart are my recommendation, trust me you need them in your life). Also, the words adobe creative cloud will bring me so much panic that I will enter a perpetual hole of nothingness and barf there. Okay, that was dramatic but that is how I feel. I truly don’t believe that creative burnout is discussed enough in the industry. I work hundreds of hours and use so much brain power that I am LITERALLY creating things that do not exist and only exist because I have an overactive mind that allows me to vividly see random shit, mixed in with a severe case of high anxiety and low self-esteem and that concoction of absurdness allows me to put beautiful things on blank canvases.


Talk about a shit show.

I’m very honest and as you can tell I’m very dramatic.

That’s my husband’s favorite trait about me……(LOL!)


Lets get serious though. My fellow creatives I worry about us. Extremely long hours, staring at a computer screen, having to stay on top of trends, having to deal with rude clients who think they are the next Picasso but want Comic Sans for their font, having to carry the burden of always being a creative person because every industry, even our friends and family need our services because someone has to design the placemats, becky, never getting to bed on time, getting to bed on time but trying to conceptualize the design in your head so falling asleep takes 4 hours, and then having to wake up to do it all again and then the deadline gets changed on you last minute, and then Photoshop crashes and your whole project is gone so you have to start over. Like I said, I worry about us. We are so valuable to whatever place we are in but often times we aren’t seen as valuable and nobody knows what we do all day. Trust me when I say it’s very defeating to have that said to you when you put your all into your work. 

I see you my creative family and I am here to say I VALUE YOU, APPRECIATE YOU, AND I LOVE YOU. 

Burnout is extremely hard to work through. I wish I could tell you the remedy for creative burnout and how to overcome it before it arises but that’s just the thing, I never know when it’s coming. It’s a ghost, one second I’m in love with my concepts that next, I can’t believe I ever thought I could do this. It sneaks up on you and one day you just hate being a creative. I had creative burnout so bad once that I didn’t make anything for over a year. I removed myself from the creative world, I was fresh out of college and I worked a terrible job at a funeral home. That was the break I needed cause as you could imagine working at a funeral home will surely make you miss your craft. My husband who was a cherished friend at the time, did a lot to help me out of that spell more than he realized. We had this little neat thing we did, he would give me character of his choosing to draw. It was the subtle idea that he presented that really impacted me, just create for fun. Creating just to create for no real purpose is okay. It didn’t matter how bad it was or how great it was, the fact of the matter is, I created something because it’s what I enjoy doing. Shout out to hubby for being a better person than me at the time and guiding me through a creative burnout he didn’t even know I had. I don’t know if you realized but that was tip number one to navigate through creative burnout - create just to create, make something for yourself, anything, can be as simple as a stick figure - or just words written on a paper. Create at your own pace, create because when we were younger it was the thing we went to when we felt most alone in the world or when we just wanted to escape whatever hard time we were going through.  We are too caught up in creating for our financial stability, we lose sight of why we choose this path in the first place.

Now, that I have challenged you to create something for yourself, I’m going to challenge you to do something that doesn’t involve any creation. In my experience sometimes the more that I forced myself to create something, the more intense my burnout came to be and to be honest the more my mental health declined. Oh yes, I said it, creative burnout is a weight on your mental health, we will definitely dive into this problem more. The misconception people have about creative people is that we can generate profound ideas in less than five minutes. That’s not how it works. If that’s how it worked do you think I would be ready to throw my computer every single day? Creative people NEED TIME TO CREATE!!!! The more time we have the better the product, it’s very simple honestly. So as I am challenging you to not create something, I am challenging you to find something you enjoy that has nothing to do with drawing, adobe, or computers. A few things I like to do; pray, go for runs, play video games, SLEEP, Facetime with friends, eat brunch, read random articles about whatever weird thought pops in my head, bother my husband, and my favorite thing to do is binge watch anime. What I’m trying to say reconnect with the parts of yourself you usually are too busy to make time for. It’s a nice refresher and is something you can implement at least one day a week.

For my last statement so I don’t bore you all to death. 

Take care of yourself.

Please stop overworking and pushing through when your body is screaming for a break. If you don’t give your body an off day it will choose an off day for you. It’s okay to rest and not want to dive into your craft 24/7. This is a note to self as well because, to be honest, I am a workaholic and will work myself into a state of oblivion and find myself crying into my bowl of Captain Crunch. 


Creatives support your fellow creatives.

Stop being a jerk and not help people when they take an interest in what you make. Get off whatever cracked out high horse you are on and just be a good freaking person!


anyways, I love you all and we will get through these struggles together.


Check out the talk to me link on my page!

Send me any suggestions on how you deal with creative burnout, need someone to vent to I’m all ears, having trouble with a concept maybe a fresh set of eyes can help, or if you want to tell me how those Pillsbury honey butter biscuits changed your life, don’t hesitate to reach out.


I want to support you and talk to you about whatever your beautiful creative heart desires.



Your friendly neighborhood photographer,


Mercedes



MercedesOliver.jpg

I decided to start a blog and you reading this probably want to know why I decided to write a blog. You want to know all things about this random girl named Mercedes Oliver. I’m sure my name being Mercedes captivated you and subconsciously you said at least three car jokes in your head…to clarify, I do not drive a Mercedes, I drive a Nissan, no my parents didn’t name me after the car, they thought Mercedes was a pretty name, and calling me Lexus, Mazada, Porsche, or whatever other car name that comes in your head is in fact not funny. Well it’s a little funny. Now that we have settled that, this is the part where I give you a short introduction of myself so we can be best friends. I live in Birmingham, AL, born and raised in Cleveland, OH. I am a pretty outspoken woman, who can eat a five course meal in less than 5 minutes, I take food very seriously and if you try to take any of it away from me well, I cannot be held responsible for what happens to you, every action has a reaction, just keep that in mind. I spend most of my time playing video games or watching anime. I workout a lot because I enjoy maintaining this sexy figure of mine and looking good for my recently married husband who irritates my life like no other mammal on this planet can. My friends and family mean the world to me, to be honest I do not have many friends but the few I do have are my entire world and I would climb the highest mountain and swim the deepest ocean for them and I can’t swim so that explains my love for them.

My full time occupation and deep passion is what brought me here to all you wonderful people in the first place. I am a creative director at UAB and a part time freelancer, photography is an incredible skill that I have that I just truly love. The industry I have chosen to pursue is in sports, I’m addicted to the adrenaline and like everyone else I love a underdog story. It has been quite the journey for me as I’m only 26 and very young compared to some of my counterparts in the industry. Sports has the ability to bring people together and also apart, it harbors so much emotion and amusement but it also harbors a lot of sadness and pain too. This reason alone is why I have decided to start a blog post about my experience being a sports photographer and just overall give advice, photo tips, and share some amazing stories but also some sad ones. Being a woman in the sports photography industry is very lonely as there aren’t many women and it’s even more rare to see a black female photographer.

I want to shine light on these areas and hopefully encourage some women to pick up their camera and dive into shooting sports. The industry needs your view, your creativity, your spirit, your hope, your love, your energy, we need you, I need you. I ask that you continue to check in and keep reading with me as I take you all on my creative journey and if you’re not a photographer that’s okay. I’m also a videographer, illustrator, and graphic designer. I will share those tips and tricks with you as well. I want to encourage you all to keep going in this creative world even when it’s difficult. 


I will be writing twice a week and sometimes more if the spirit just hits me to talk about something. 


If you ever want to get in contact with me you can click on the “Talk to Me” button on my portfolio that will connect you to me almost instantly and also you can DM me on Instagram @mercedesoliver.jpg. 


Don’t be a stranger.



your friendly neighborhood photographer,


Mercedes

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