For a long time, I bought totally into the hustle harder mentality. I burned my candle at both ends and got a lot done, but, to be honest, most of it was crap. I spent my time just running in a hamster wheel of things that weren't best for me, didn't get me where I wanted to be, and mainly didn't amount to much at all. I burnt out hardcore.
What I'm having to learn is that rest has to be a part of the process not an afterthought when I collapse from exhaustion. For a lot of creatives, there's a lot on your plate to begin with. Most of us work full time day jobs to pay the bills and we work hard on our passion projects in the evening, during our lunch break, well into the night and every weekend. We operate at 100 miles per hour all the time. There is no halfway, it's all or nothing.
And much of the culture encourages it, the 'drink coffee, do everything' shining image that social media presents. There's a glamorizing of working late into the night, sacrifcing sleep, food, health to get the work done. And sometimes that is the nature of the creative life. Deadlines hit, life happens, but it can't last forever. Eventually the gas runs out and the burn out hits hard.
So for the holidays I'm taking a delibrate break. Rather than trying to write another novel, or jumping on another big project. For the first time since I committed to a creative life, I'm taking a freakin' break.
So far it's been awesome. I've gotten the chance to read so many books; I've gone ice skating and on some amazing adventures. I'm refilling that well and I'm already feeling the energy and life flowing back into my black little heart. It's amazing.
So, listen to your limits and try to remember that rest is a neccessary and not a sign of weakness. Resting, having experiences, enjoying life keep your creativity not just surviving but thriving. It is a part of what keeps your creativity a live and well, new ideas come in the moments of recovery. Need I mention that the idea for the smash-hit amazing Hamilton came to Lin Manual Miranda during a vacation?
View it as part of your process, not an enemy or a hinderence but something to enjoy, plan for and enjoy in the parts of a healthy creative life.