Tire Squeal, Mind Crash

Question From the Readers:

Mike, how do you keep producing content? I know when I try to work on stuff for a few weeks I get burned out eventually, but then I see that you have a web comic that'd been going on since forever, and a blog, and a game company, so I want to know:

How do you fight burnout?

Honestly, I don't. I suffer from burnout just as hard as you do, probably. I will fully admit that, at times, I've gotten good at finding ways to motivate myself but I still struggle with burnout and, sometimes, it's really bad.

I'm actually fighting a pretty bad wave of burnout right now, in fact. For the last year I haven't been able to sit down and work on any games for my company, Dodeca System Games. I need to work on some stuff, honestly. I know I should be doing stuff, should try to get this game started or finish off another project in the pipeline. Every time I sit down to work, though, I just can't do it. My mind refuses to focus on the task at hand and I end up getting distracted by some other shiny.

This is actually why I run so many projects at once -- my web comic (CVRPG), my Castlevania site (The Inverted Dungeon), this site, plus I'm tinkering with my eventual slasher movie site I want to write. And that doesn't even count the notes for about a dozen games I'll eventually make for my company once my burnout wears off. I will get hyper-focused and devote myself to a project non-stop, which is great when I need to get something done. However, that comes at a cost, and eventually I get sick of whatever I'm doing and have to go do something else. Thus I run a lot of projects so I always stay busy.

This is why you'll see that some of my projects will sit dormant from time to time. The Inverted Dungeon suffers from this pretty publicly since I can go months (and once, years) before I can bring myself to come back and do more with it. CVRPG will suffer from it, too, but in the case of the comic I tend to produce more strips than I need, day-to-day, so by the time burnout sets in, I can relax easy with the knowledge that my backlog will take care of me for a few weeks.

Even then, all my tricks to fight burnout don't always work. There are days, weeks where I have time to work on some project or another and I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't write, I can't draw, I can't even focus long enough to do anything other than pop on some YouTube and chill. And when that happens I just have to go with it. If I try to force myself to work during an ultra-burnout session, more often than not the stuff I produce is pretty terrible, plus I'm then bitter about it. It's not a good time.

So, in short, if you're working on something and suffering from burnout, maybe it's time to work on a related project, or something different. Maybe you just need a day or two of nothingness to ease your mind. Don't get on yourself because you aren't producing every day -- everyone needs time off once in a while. Just take the time, refocus, and come back when your brain isn't so locked up.