Breadcrumbs from the Void # 36 Give Me A Break – Avoiding Burnout | Alex Schumacher | Weekly Column

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May 31, 2017

Summer looms just around the bend as 2017 continues at its breakneck speed and shows absolutely no signs of relenting. Thus I have found myself on another precipice of another deadline with another Bread Crumbs from the Void to deliver. Days, weeks, and months flip me the bird as they careen past on the byways of this agonizing existence. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I, like the vast majority of you, must juggle my creative endeavors with the responsibilities of adulthood. In between a despicable day job, household upkeep, feeding oneself, catching a wink or two, and carving out a splinter of time for the loved ones there is not typically an overabundance of time remaining to plug away on the old word processing device. It is no small wonder that you would use what precious few minutes which remain to erotically massage and caress your latest manuscript, poetry chapbook, play, dirty limerick collection, etc. in hopes of brilliant percolation.

As you may well know if you have frequented the many installations of this here feature, Bread Crumbs from the Void is not exactly a touchy-feely exercise in coddling. The barbed text presented is designed to prod and invigorate, breaking you free from the stifling granite encasing of your fucking ineptitude and otiosity. That said, I do not wish to be associated with a contingent of disenfranchised scribblers who push themselves over the edge, go postal, and wreak havoc on the local Boston Market either. This is not the publicity your humble columnist craves.

While I do wholeheartedly endorse inexorableness when it comes to affairs of your art, a respite is certainly encouraged from time to time.

Diversify

If you happen to be toiling away on a weighty tome of fiction, try your hand at creative non-fiction or op-ed. Make the attempt to adopt a markedly different tone or style in your work. Experimentation is not only fun when dabbling in narcotics or psychedelics, kids. You can also learn to circumvent the tedium of your current undertaking by prospecting various alternate forms. The worst that may happen is you will discover an aversion to all other conventions and be revitalized to return to your shitty post-apocalyptic, spectral, romance freak show of a project. I, for one, can hardly contain my anticipation for the unveiling of your Twilight/50 Shades of Grey/Hunger Games rip-off.

Disconnect From the Matrix

In these current uncertain times the twenty-four hour news cycle of doom can whittle away at whatever semblance of emotional wellbeing you may maintain. The daily avalanche of stupidity and intolerance is enough to coerce the Care Bears into pissing themselves with despair. In addition to the relentless trumpeting of our impending demise, cascades of accolades and accomplishments from your peers and colleagues dominate social media as well suffusing you with the odoriferous hallmark of failure. This distinct perfume may also be the byproduct of too many hours/days spent scrolling through feeds of inconsequential horseshit. Either way, you should sign off and power down for an extended period of time in order to facilitate the mental and emotional colonic you so richly deserve. Your success is not delineated by the achievements of your contemporaries nor defined by how many “likes” one of your pithy quotes may garner.

Change of Scenery

At times the simple act of relocating can rupture the levy, triggering your creative gag reflex, and usher in a projectile stream of imagination.  Such migration can materialize in a broad gamut of manifestations from merely changing rooms in your house or apartment to an exodus with the intended destination being your favorite bar or brothel. It is a matter of personal preference as well as a question of whether or not you wish to don pants in your crusade for literary enlightenment. I tend to find the less layers of attire burdening your existence the less constricted your imagination. Shed those societal norms of shrouding your birthday suit, and maybe just make sure to draw the blinds. Your neighbor’s eyesight need not be a causality in your pursuit of creativity.

Take a Night Off

Fairly self-explanatory, but an indispensable practice nonetheless.

I tend to champion the application of utilizing every single available nanosecond when in pursuit of such a lofty dream as writing, or the arts in any capacity. Gang-banging your overall quality of life into submission is certainly not conducive to persevering either. I will state this once, and once only so lend me your full attention: it is in fact acceptable to savor the occasional night off. Take in a sporting or live music event with your siblings. Accompany your friends to endure the latest vapid, two-hour long, computer generated dumpster fire produced by mainstream Hollywood. Schedule some quality time (i.e., fuck the shit out of) your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/gender-neutral life partner. As long as you allow yourself to fully bask in the quiescence it does not matter which activity is ultimately chosen.

Crass and abrasive as I may be at times, in this day and age self-care is tantamount to caring for your fellow humans. Be excellent to one another and do not let the bastards grind you down.

As always, if you would like to hear me elaborate a bit more on my own process, you can find links to a couple of interviews conducted recently with me on my website at: https://alexschumacherart.com/about/. Drop me a line from the contact page if you have any other questions, complaints, insults, or declarations of lust.

Bread Crumbs from the Void will return in two weeks with another thrilling edition of hard-nosed reality for you big-talkers and wannabes. Until next time, keep scribbling you freaks.