Burnout and other hobbies

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So I’m currently in my “music can wait, I wanna do something else for a bit” stage, and it’s something that happens quite commonly to me whenever I’ve poured a lot of time into music I’ve made recently.

I’ve dabbled with writing some simple stories, a few neat lyrics I thought up, and even recorded some quick notes for ideas on my voice recorder. So I’m keeping in somewhat with the creative process.

But since lockdown I’ve not really spent any other time doing other things, it’s been music music music.. and I could do with a break and I’m taking it dammit! Part of me wants to carry on, but I’m not in the right frame of mind.

Sometimes it’s good to do other stuff away from music - like meet friends, since now here in the UK some lifting has been done. Cafes restaraunts and pubs are back in business, so I’m seeing friends again, I do have pangs of guilt for being away from creating, but this is my body and how it works - I can’t create constantly. Partly because of tiredness, I have insomnia regularily, so I’d rather sleep In some days than do anything at all other than quick dopamine fixes.

What stuff do you guys get up to when this happens? I’m toying with starting another hobby unrelated to music, getting some fitness goals in place, or maybe nothing at all but seeing where my mind takes me - I’m quite fluid sometimes!

Do you know any cool or interesting things I can learn about/to do/think on? Like I say I’d like to work on my fitness, as ya gotta have the rockstar body to get the rockstar look right ?? Wink Or am I reaching a mid-midlife crisis??? :P

I’ll be looking at some of the great music that has been uploaded in my absence of course! Always nice to hear new stuff when I am in the mood for a listen Biggrin

(Writing this while insomnia is visiting. A 3am surf of the web while uncomfortable in bed, wide awake from too much diet soda.)

Definitely don't let music be your everything. That way lies madness. Hang out with friends, take up cycling or hiking, etc etc... but yeah, don't let music overwhelm you. As much as it is hard to believe, I tend to spend no more than 2 hours a day most days writing/creating music.

For me creativity comes in frantic waves and surges (hoping this current wave holds through the superskirmish) followed by longer lull periods. When songwriting stops being fun I set it aside, for an hour, a day, a week or even sometimes longer if that is what it takes. Making sure the necessities get done, having other interests, spending time with my wife, exercise, and just spending time outside are all important too and I do that throughout. I also strive to balance songwriting with life because life is where I get songwriting ideas and meaning.

dzd's picture

I tend to work on a lot of random building projects, even if they aren't music related(most of them tend to be, just the way I'm wired, but it helps when feeling burnt out) like @AndyGetch said as soon as it isn't fun, I put it away. Been doing a ton of gardening this spring/summer, not something I've ever enjoyed, and still don't, so yeah looking for something else to bide my locked up time as well Smile Puzzles are out..........started one of those, I threw it on the floor Smile I'm more the 200 pieces type of puzzle builder hah the 1200 pieces was sitting my aspirations a little high! Didn't have a big enough table either Wink A few things are open here too, but I've never been a huge social butterfly anyway....its more the lack of steady work that has me cranky still Smile

You sound like you're beating yourself up a lot and made this post as a way to convince yourself it's okay. It is okay! I'm the opposite of you... I haven't been spending much time on writing music since February (been doing a lot of other stuff with music, just not writing new stuff) and so I'm really happy to be in "go, go, go" mode now. But if I had been writing a lot before, I would probably be burnt out too! And even though you can write about meaningless topics, I find it's hard to get emotionally inspired to be creative if you're not having life experiences (which we've all struggled with having these past few months to be fair).

Anyway aside from actually getting out in the world, I think some ways to get new experiences/novelty into your life is cooking new recipes, watching and reading new stuff (in addition to music of course), also picking up random new skills from the internet that you've always wanted to or figuring out how to complete personal projects you've been putting off (big or small)... Also if you decide you want to work on music but are having trouble being creative, you can always focus on improving your musicianship like by looking at YouTube lessons on techniques you didn't know before, or learning a new instrument. Learning a new type of game or puzzle you've always been interested in is good for the days when you don't have a lot of energy - I recently learned how to play Tetris properly for example, and been working on my crossword skills. And as far as fitness goes, I do free body combat workouts on YouTube now which I love! Check out Popsugar's channel, they have my favorite one and every kind of workout on there.

I feel your pain, I have been doing music non-stop during lockdown and I am thinking probably should give a break but I keep getting drawn to my guitar. I have just completed last of us 2 (which was awesome btw) which was a bit of a break. I am also finding it hard to come up with stuff that I am happy with now, I am thinking about not getting to obsessed with getting tonnes of songs done and focusing on 1 a week that way I can fit other stuff I want to do around it and maybe help fuel my creativity. In terms of fitness, I've tried all that going to the gym, running, weights and stuff and I usually give up very quickly. The only thing I have found that actually worked for me (although I am out of the habit now) was going for long walks.

IA's picture

Some 50/90s are active for me. Others, not so much. This one seems to be active.

Writing is fun. So is art. Maybe pick up programming (e.g. a bit of python). 3D modelling?

No guilt is allowed. Things go how they go. Just go with the flow and look at the landscapes from the window.

I run. My friends also bike. There is a fleet feet group in my town so I run with them 2 or 3 times a week. But there's also a couple of biking groups and I probably should join one of those. I recommend biking (it's easier on the knees and I'm getting to the age where my body is letting me down so joint pain is a thing.) I used to do Tae Kwon Do and I highly recommend martial arts, but 1) it can be extremely expensive and 2) it can be extremely time intensive. Sometimes you can find an MMA gym to join which is a little bit less expensive and can teach you a wide range of skills, but it's geared toward sparring which isn't everyone's cup of tea. At any rate, I recommend something athletic/physical fitness realm. The advantages to my songwriting are fairly subtle but very real.

Biggest benefit to physical activity as regarding music: stamina. Whether breath support for singing, the ability to play music longer, etc... when you're in better physical shape it's easier to do music longer.

Hard to argue, @metalfoot, but since I like to argue, I'd say that the mental clarity and peace of mind that comes from (fairly) strenuous activity is the biggest benefit for me. But then, I've had a couple of compliments on my singing since I returned to running so you may be correct.

Life is so short that there is not anything close to enough time to do everything worth doing, but it's worth trying to anyway.

I've been "burnt out" before on music and other things, there's nothing wrong with stepping away for awhile. Life's journey usually leads you where you need to go. I agree that some sort of physical fitness activity can do wonders for a person's state of mind. I walk/jog with my dog daily and also have been getting back into bicycling regularly. I also think that it's never too late to start any new activity or hobby. I finally released my first album in May, about the time I turned 60. I've done a couple livestream concerts as well recently. I have to constantly battle that part of me that tells me I'm too old to do these new things. But I've decided I'm gonna do them anyway.

Interesting to read... for me, it's all interrelated. So, I don't think I ever felt burn out as commented. I think I got concerned it could all go away and I'd be "normal" like the rest of the world. Man, don't want that... [shutter] ... no, don't want that.

Since last December my creativity has gone into slogging at best. Thanks to a few microbursts and putting my butt in chair I eeked out some FAWM songs. I have been writing a few quick poems this April. Otherwise I'm feeling uninspired.

@AndyGetch I've been finding the same. I am doing others things as well with my life this time round, so that could be why for me. However for the first time in about 12 years I've been practicing (??? :o)

This past FAWM was the first one where I *didn't* get burnt out! Hoping I can do the same for 50/90. I don't normally write songs... Still in the skill-improving phase rather than songwriting. But music is a constant part of my life right now.

fawm was a burnout for me, around early to mid Feb then I ended up making again at the end of the month.

However this 5090 prequel (fb) was easy going compared now, looking back at it all - it's like the concentration just on making music helped me, rather than taking part in all sorts of activites related to improvement on the music. i just spent about 2-3 days practicing some things and got on with it

now i look forward to the real deal.... Biggrin

also it may be helping me knowing that i can go and play darts, pool, walking to town etc so i can burn off some excess energy whenever