It’s something every content creator will suffer – but few people seem to talk about: Burnout. Those moments where you’re stuck, staring into a monitor (or maybe at your ceiling), feeling like you just can’t possibly input one more keystroke. Sometimes you just get stuck trying to think of what to write about (or videotape, or record or… well, you get the picture). Other times, you’ve simply drained all your creativity and feel like a bit of a zombie.
How can you avoid finding yourself in this place again? Here are 6 tips to help you avoid frustration.
1. Ideate in Advance
One of the most frustrating parts of the content creation process is trying to come up with great ideas to create content about. I recently wrote a quick little guide to content ideation that might come in handy. The key is to spend a lot of creative energy at the beginning of the process, brainstorming ideas that will last you months down the road. That way, coming up with a topic will be as simple as choosing from a list, instead of staring into a keypad and wishing you were at Disneyland or on a beach somewhere.
2. Repurpose Content Whenever You Can
Wouldn’t it be great if just one idea could last you multiple pieces of content, without getting stagnant or old? That’s the whole idea behind repurposing. I also wrote about this a short while ago; but the key tenets:
- Work around one big idea that will make sense in a lot of different formats (it can be broad or specific).
- Be deliberate, intense and organized with your research, as this will be the core of your pieces
- Start by creating one big resource (a “cornerstone” that your other content will point to. Usually a guide, eBook or whitepaper).
- Create smaller pieces across multiple formats (video, blog posts, images, social shares, whitepapers, slide decks, etc.) that capture the core message but in a different way or with a slightly different angle.
If you can turn your one big piece of content into many little ones, you’ll save time, money and creative energy while still producing things worth reading.
3. Set Reasonable Quotas
If you can’t devote the time and energy to publishing weekly, don’t give yourself a weekly quota. There’s no sense in trying to commit to a certain volume just for the sake of it; pick something your business can handle without stressing out or creating content at the eleventh hour.
4. Give Yourself Healthy Deadlines
Like the above point, give yourself the time and space to create. There will be days and hours you feel good, and days and hours you feel as creative as a slug. Don’t commit to any deadlines that will demand you squeeze in content creation or force it.
5. Remind Yourself of Successes
In those moments you feel low and burned out, go back to successful pieces and… well, be a little vain. Celebrate the successes, read the positive comments, dig up positive tweets. Remind yourself that you’re good at this, that people like what you create and that you’re capable of doing a great job. Sometimes, you need a little reminder that the world is pulling for you.
6. Take Breaks When You Need Them
Don’t feel it? Don’t force it. It’s really that simple. Get up and go for a walk, take a few days off, read some books, spend time with friends and do things that you love to do. Get away from the monitor and change your environment; nothing good is ever created when you’re chained to a desk and feeling like you HAVE to.
If you’re feeling burned out, tired and worn through, know that a healthy dose of process and setting more realistic expectations can help you escape the place you’re in now. It’s really about knowing your limits –we all have them – and then having the decency to cut yourself some slack and give yourself the space and time you need.
You can do it!