Burnout and new beginnings

Do you know what it feels like to slowly and painfully lose your mojo? To stand helplessly by as your all consuming passion slips away from your grasp?

Boy, do I know how that feels. It happened to me over a number of years. I can’t even pinpoint exactly when it started happening. All I know is that I felt helpless and hopeless. I wondered what was wrong with me.

It’s now a few years since I stopped painting. It’s not to say that I stopped being creative in that time – actually (and you might go ‘wha?’ when you hear this), I suddenly got the urge to cook; not just cook, but take photos of what I cooked and blog about it (if you’d like to take a peek, click here). Talk about a complete 180! I’d virtually never baked in my life and suddenly it became my obsession. I learned how to use a DSLR, cook and bake, and blog. Pretty creative, if you ask me!

But, still… there was always a sense of ‘what the hell happened?’. How could my life-long love of painting desert me so easily? Well, it took a while to figure it out, but I think I have… Want to know why?

Well… in hindsight, I reckon it was because of my need to please; to gain approval. I’d actually done pretty well in the art field – I had various galleries representing my work, I had lots of exhibitions, and I was making a nice income from sales. Life was good.

But, somewhere along the way, I allowed myself to have my art and my practice reframed. Whether it was direction from well-meaning tutors or requests from galleries, I started losing the inbuilt connection I had to my art. The ‘soul’ went out of it for me and, with it, my passion.

It’s only now… years later… that I recognise what I allowed to happen. And, consequently, what I must do to resurrect my passion. Yes, I believe it can come back. But, it requires gentle coaxing as if it were a child. And, I need to give myself permission to start afresh; to connect with my creativity from within rather than being led by others’ expectations. Doable? You betcha!

I hope you’ll join me as I embark on this journey.

PS: If you have experienced burnout, or a good dose of creative block, I’d love to hear about your experience.


“Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.”
Nick Hornby