How to Avoid Creative Burnout with Dan D’Lion
Artist Dan D’Lion shares how he presses pause during his creative process.
If you’ve dealt with writer’s block or felt like you exhausted brainstorming efforts on a project that just wasn’t working, you may have suffered from creative burnout. Artists are especially susceptible to this type of breakdown. British producer, singer and songwriter Dan Bartlett, aka Dan D’Lion, has experience in this area. He may be relatively new to the scene as a solo artist, but he’s been working in the music industry behind the scenes for years. Toward the end of last year, Bartlett was named an artist to watch in 2021.With recognition comes a pressure to deliver, but handling pressure is nothing new for Bartlett. He’s learned how to navigate his way through the stress by knowing when to hit pause during his creative process.
Bartlett knows himself well enough now to know when he needs a break, but it took a while to get the hang of it. “After a big project, my mind has the tendency to instantly switch to the next thing,” he says. “However, I’ve learned in recent years to pause for a moment especially after a project that’s used up every last bit of me. I’ve found that it’s as important to take a breather as it is to get stuck in the next big thing.” Even though the next big thing might be calling your name, it’s important to know when to embrace the down time. Reebok shares the same sentiment of taking a step back to regroup in order to protect your creativity. The inspiration behind Reebok’s recently released Club C Legacy sneaker is rooted in this messaging and the brand’s belief that in order to create your legacy, you need to break through the hustle.
Read on to find out how Bartlett finds pockets of time to switch off and how it’s allowed him to build the foundation to his legacy.
He Creates Balance
Bartlett’s daily routine allows him to stretch his creativity so that it can ebb and flow. He nurtures his creative senses and works them out just like you would any part of your body. “I make sure every day before starting up my creative mind, I allow myself to expand the space within it. This is usually getting on the bike early in the morning or playing a game of tennis. I find focusing on something else before letting my mind run wild is a way to keep calm and maintain a consistent creative output for the rest of the day.” If you’re switched on 24/7 there’s no time to reboot and refuel, so Bartlett makes sure to unplug so he can keep up his stamina.
His music is filled with poetic lyrics and is a mix of upbeat electronica and alternative pop sounds. Bartlett has broken through the scene with his unique tracks and uses his music as a megaphone to amplify his noisy life. Each track is a snapshot of a time in his life and the energy he gives off through his music is palpable. For someone whose music is so eclectic, he’s found a way to create balance between his art and how he lives his life.
He Checks in With Himself
If you put your whole heart and soul into projects it’s easy to burn out. Bartlett says the trick is to stay in tune with what your body and emotions are telling you; don’t let things build up. “Self-care to me is constantly checking in. It’s being honest with myself. It’s knowing that it’s ok to feel down sometimes. Self-care is noticing I’m feeling a way, accepting it and finding what lifts me back up.”
When he can’t break through a creative block Bartlett says he has to take a step back because otherwise it becomes wasted energy. You have to think big picture and give yourself space. “I love the energy when something I’m working on takes a hold of me and there’s no stopping it. But equally, I know how important it is to allow the right amount of time for everything to evolve. There’s no point in me hitting a wall and sitting there failing to break through over and over again.” Many of us give so much of ourselves to our passion and work that we don’t take time to look up and realize how far we’ve come or appreciate the results.
For Bartlett, a big reward of what he does is self-discovery and learning new things. “I’ve always dreamt big. I define my creativity by tapping into places I never even thought were in my mind and bringing those to life. I learn so much about my art and myself every time I sit down to create something new. Why would I ever want to stop that? It’s not knowing what’s yet to come that drives me forward.”
The Unknown Inspires Him
Instead of stressing about what he doesn’t know or things he can’t control, Bartlett embraces it. “I am constantly searching for new ways to create and push the boundaries in my artistry. This means I jump into unknown territories a lot. The only way for me to understand how to best use something new is giving it the time it needs.” He revels in the idea of being a little left of center in his work and in life. “I want to be known as someone who wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. I want my work to be remembered as consistently inconsistent. I started doing what I do because I wanted to make a positive change in the world. Discovery is what I’m after, that’s my legacy.”
Bartlett says he wants to encourage people never to be satisfied with the ordinary and to keep searching for whatever it is they need in life. He’s found this type of peace within himself by taking time out and allowing his creativity to breathe so that his legacy will have the strongest chance to last.