Jamaica ranks 72nd in the world for global creativity and 42nd for creative output sub-index, as outlined in the Mapping of Jamaica’s Cultural and Creative Industries publication released by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the British Council in 2021. The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) represent the pulse and life of our island Jamaica. Also referred to as the Orange Economy, the CCIs are not only a vibrant feature of our country but also have the capacity to revolutionise the Jamaican economy and improve employment opportunities.
An often-overlooked aspect of the sector’s development is the mental and physical health of the players. This blog post will cover the reality of creative burnout and will provide insight that should help in your ability to continue to produce quality work. Burnout is a reality for everyone but creatives are greatly affected by this as it directly impacts the work they produce and so here are some pointers to recognise, avoid it as well as fix it.
Bursts of Spontaneity
Monotony can become the archnemesis of creativity and so it is important to switch up routines and insert random bursts of spontaneity throughout your schedule. Creatives tend to be free-spirited people and while structure is important, spontaneity also causes the brain to move its focus from a particular project to something new and engaging. These bursts can help the creative individual not grow easily bored and subsequently burned out.
Brian Honigman, leading marketing consultant in the US noted “A John Hopkins study found that when jazz musicians improvise, the region of their brain known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex begins to slow down in activity. This area of the brain is linked to highly planned actions and self-censoring, like choosing what to say on a first date or a job interview. Their research suggests that this cerebral deceleration can lower a person’s inhibitions and allow for more creativity and free flowing thoughts.”
The Art of Slowing Down
Creative environments can be fast-paced, depending on the industry you’re in, and so for creatives that are in these high intensity environments, it can become easy for burn out to be their reality. Sometimes it is important to step away, and take it slowly. These environments can rob the creative process as it requires the quick production of creativity, while many crafts are slow and detailed processes. This rushed environment can reduce the quality of work and also lead to exhaustion and frustration.
Vasily Voropaev, CEO and founder of Smartbrain.io, says sometimes it is best to just do nothing. He noted “If you don’t know what to do, do nothing. But really, nothing — do not deceive yourself. Don’t scroll the Instagram feed, don’t watch popcorn serials on Netflix, do absolutely nothing at all. Lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling. Don’t try to think about something or go through dialogues in your head. You are only allowed to look at different objects in the room (without thinking about them) and change the position to make yourself more comfortable.”
Mental and Creative Blocks are Real
Within the creative process, there are blocks and pauses that creative people encounter. Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to continue the creative flow, acknowledge these blocks are part of the process which don’t at all make you less artistic or innovative. The blocks can be seen as a signal to restimulate your mind. Take a break and do what usually causes your creative juices to flow again. Acknowledging that this is within the creative process causes less frustration, as the individual can take the necessary pause rather than forcing creativity which can ultimately lead to burnout.
The JBDC and CCI
There is a myriad of considerations within the very promising and flourishing Cultural and Creative Industries here in Jamaica. The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the British Council saw the need to assess the nation’s cultural and creative industries, identifying opportunities and challenges and provide a foundation for analysing its economic and social contribution. The historic Mapping of Jamaica’s Cultural and Creative Industries provides key statistics and data about the industries. The report is rather comprehensive and the full document can be read on the JBDC website https://www.jbdc.net/.
To keep your creativity from being burned out, you have to become practical with yourself. Insert bursts of spontaneity within your day, slow down and remove yourself from high energy environments that may be stifling your creativity and be empathetic with yourself when you meet upon creative blocks- acknowledge that they are part of the process and your body’s signal for restimulation.