It’s good to know your weaknesses but if you don’t do anything about them that knowledge is kinda pointless.
I’m bad at taking time off and always have been. I know that and yet…
Last week I burned out in what initially appeared to be a flu bug thing (body aches, feeling yucky and the like), but was actually just me being extremely tired.
When I was making visual and performance art, which were unpaid positions, I worked at a hotel and eventually my first ever office job. Days off and vacations were referred to as “studio days,” as in if you need me, I’ll be making art.
Not a bad workflow and it allowed me to cover all my overhead and make stuff.
Making stuff makes me happy. Writing, designing sound, editing video, shooting, hanging out on Twitter and a long list of other things some refer to as work, I genuinely enjoy.
Other than grants, which I received a few, the work I made in the 90’s was not the kind of work that “generates revenue.” The job I didn’t love that paid created the time to work the job I did love that most of the time didn’t pay.
When the question “So, you make any money doing that?” was posed, I knew I was talking to someone who didn’t get what I was doing and probably never would. A valuable lesson.
I feel like the support I receive from the audience makes me want to work harder because I’ve never been in this position before. I’ve never had a group of people from all over the world, most of whom I have never met, like my work and help me create more.
After a 46 day campaign, which was 12-18 hours a day non-stop, plus a few weeks of the same getting Vampire Mob set up on IndieGoGo, I took two days off and dove back in.
That was a mistake because two more weeks of non-stop work on figuring out campaign logistics and launching a new project resulted in the flu bug thing referenced above and I crashed. Lost a few days of productivity and still feel a little run down, but a whole lot better!
I’m hard on myself because I feel like I’m the engine that’s gotta run a little hotter for a few more years before anything like a vacation can happen. That’s been happening for decades and that “few more years” has resulted in me missing out on some stuff. It’s part of the price one pays to tell stories indie and the balance between life and work is always hard.
The other factor is fun. I’m really having fun working my ass off. I’d rather spend a day shooting a short film than sitting on the beach, thinking about shooting a short film.
Taking time off is one thing I need to improve on, that I know. But I’m having so much fun it’s hard to know when, which is why I burnout.