Five Ways to Overcome Musical Burnout

January 30, 2018

Hi everybody! Thanks for stopping by!

Like me, I'm sure there are times when you daydream about how awesome it would be to spend 24 hours a day, every day, writing, recording and producing music. Someone else would cook your meals, do your laundry, feed your goldfish, and all that other stuff. Sounds pretty good, right? Yes, but there's always a catch. You can bet that at some point in this musical utopia you'll find that you've run smack into a Brick Wall. (Just like this one.)

Not a question of if, but when. Yikes.

 

Even if you're not living in a musical utopia, you're still likely to hit a snag in your creative flow at least once in a while. There are two kinds of brick walls that can shut down your creativity: the first one is burnout, and the other is what I call composer's block (the musical equivalent of writer's block). In this post, I'd like to share my thoughts with you about burnout. I'll save composer's block for my next post.

 

So, what exactly is burnout and what can you do about it? Simply put, burnout happens when your ears and brain are so fatigued that the last thing you want to do is slap on your headphones or crank up your speakers and work on a musical project. To quote Jeebs in Men In Black II, "Your brain needs to reboot". I've found that this occurs more frequently than composer's block, and often happens after I've been working intensely on one single project. What can you do about it? Here are 5 techniques I've tried that seem to do the trick.

 

1 - Focus on other parts of your life. Pay your bills, call your mom, get a haircut, clean your room...you get the idea. Give your full attention to something that's not at all connected to your musical projects.

2 - Listen to music (not yours) purely for pleasure. Reconnect with your musical soul and don't think too much about what you're listening to, just feel it.

3 - Go on vacation and leave your equipment at home. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate or expensive - you could just spend a weekend with your BFF. But don't take your laptop with you!

4 - Do those administrative chores you've been putting off. I often find that doing something mindless like reorganizing my music files is just what the doctor ordered to cure burnout.

5 - Focus on other aspects of your music career. Send out that newsletter, retweet your friend's latest track, write that blog post (ha!). Do some of the stuff that normally gets in the way of actually making music.

 

Burnout is usually a short-term bump on the road to maximum creativity, but it can take a while to overcome in some cases. Fighting it isn't the best way to go, in my experience. It's kind of like being sore after a workout - it's your body trying to tell you to stop doing what you've been doing. At least for a little while. So give these suggestions a try, be patient with yourself, and I have no doubt that you'll be back on track (bad pun there) in no time!

 

 

 

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