The power of noise-canceling headphones cannot be underestimated when dealing with children and trying to get creative work done! (I mean, as long as the children are self-sufficient—better yet, age-appropriate. My kids aren't very self-sufficient. Lazy, yes. Self-sufficient, nope!)

Expand full comment

Interacting with other people is the best treatment for creative burnout i have found so far. Writing is so isolating /solitary by nature that it’s easy to get lost in the vortex of negative self talk. As for productivity as a parent, I’ve only been a parent for 9 weeks so i guess ill let you know!

Expand full comment

I'm not a parent, but I get burnt out just like everyone else, except for Stephen King, who seems to be on those candles that burns brighter and longer than all the other candles. Anyway, here's what I do when I get burnt out.

1. I take a break from the project. Note this is only doable when I'm not on deadline, meaning I don't owe work to someone who has promised to pay me. But I thought I'd mention it here because a lot of writer on Substack feel like they can't take a break because they have paying subscribers. That's mindset is a recipe for disaster. I tell my readers when I'm taking a break, they understand that I'm human and need a break, and believe it or not, absence does make the heart grow fonder, at least when it comes to newsletters.

2. I try to get lunch, or coffee, or something with a creative friend. Over the years, I've learned that some of my creative friends leave me feeling drained, but others actually pump me up. It's an energy thing. For some reason, chatting with those friends makes me feel like I could take on the world. So I try to reach out to them when I'm feeling burnt out. Note: that kind of help is a two-way street, so I also make myself available to those friends when they're feeling burnt out.

3. I read nonfiction. Don't get me wrong, I love reading fiction and I write it too. But there's something about digging into good nonfiction that recharges me creatively. Maybe it's the fact that I'm engaging in a story without feeling the need to pick apart what works and what doesn't while also comparing my own work to whatever I'm reading. Sounds strange, but give me a true crime story or a dense history book and I'm a new human.

4. I take a social media break. Maybe this is specific to me, but I doubt it. Social media has its moments, but can also drain the life out of me. If I'm feeling burnt out, I take time off from social media and see how I feel. Usually, I feel better.

5. Outside time. I learned this about myself during the pandemic. I live in Los Angeles, so it's easy to take good weather for granted. But during the first year of the pandemic I stayed inside way too much and it really got me down, mentally and creatively. Getting outside helped a lot, and it wasn't like I went deep into the woods, or something. Just a walk in a nearby park helped me sort stuff out.

Hope that helps! Sorry about your Amazon options.

Expand full comment

I'm thinking about changing careers from struggling investigative journalist ... to struggling stand-up comedian. My wife thinks I'm joking, but I'll still be trying to "save the world."


Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Julie Vick

I am a crazy introvert who loves AWP! Sorry I missed you in Seattle!

Expand full comment