Skip to main content

Following this creativity cycle could save you from burnout

Do-nothing days sound great to us (click the icon in the top-right to enlarge this image)

There's a commonly held belief among imaginative types that creativity is like a muscle: to build up its strength, you need to exercise your creativity regularly. But, similarly, you need to go easy and let it recover from time to time.

The balancing act between creative action and recovery is best thought of as a cycle, according to illustrator and comic artist Emily Cheeseman (opens in new tab). To get the message across, Cheeseman drew the different phases of creative momentum in the chart above.

With 'action' including output and high energy production, and 'recovery' covering research, rest and idea generation, this cycle is a valuable reminder that creativity isn't a constant state of work and results.

"Let your brain rest! Obviously creators don't always have the luxury of waiting for inspiration before working, but if you learn to recognize when your brain is in Production Mode you can take advantage while it lasts," Cheeseman wrote on Twitter (opens in new tab).

Click the expand icon on the image of the cycle above to see it full size, and remember to keep the two states in balance to avoid creative burnout.

Related articles:

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Dom Carter
Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.