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. 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.

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:

Dom Carter
Dom Carter is Creative Bloq's staff writer, news finder, and all round design fan. You'll usually find him drooling over screen prints and coveting more notebooks than is practical.