After 8 years of building a platform, I burnt it to the ground along with the social media channels associated with it. It was the dumbest thing I’ve done in a long time.
Approximately one year ago, I started to feel the creative burnout. I had just started a new job at a marketing agency. This was going into my third year of getting paid to be creative. Well, in an office anyway. I worked in radio for 11 years and getting paid to talk to people about a random topic was a fun experience.
The office jobs were draining. To me, creativity is supposed to be fun. When you’re expected to be creative for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, it loses the allure. You begin feeling like your a cog in a wheel and that you can’t have any fun. You’re churning out content that, a lot of the time, you don’t care about.
I had started freelance marketing to help independent music artists in 2017. It took me several months to get my first client, but then it took off and I had several clients at once. In my mind, I had one foot out of the door from my day job. Until all of that ended.
I was clientless by the end of 2017 and recorded a podcast about my first year as a freelance marketer. In 2018 I picked up a couple of clients to start off the year and was back on my feet. Then I left my job and got the position at the marketing agency.
Working for one brand wasn’t difficult and it allowed me to balance my own freelance business. However, working for an agency makes you put on several hats from different industries each day and it can be tiring. I was drained each day and my freelance clients weren’t exactly the easiest customers to please at this time either.
I decided that I needed to break away from my past in the music industry. I had built a platform that catered to independent music artists when I left college in 2010. Actually, my original blog was a semester-long project for one of my final classes. When I couldn’t help indie artists at my college radio station after graduation, I turned my blog into that platform to continue my work.
In retrospect, I should have just taken a hiatus and came back when I felt ready to help again.
After 8 years of helping artists, I was burnt out creatively and needed a break. I had just rebranded from JoeHovasMF.com to The Artist Guides a few months prior but that didn’t matter. Between work and becoming jaded with my status in the music industry, I was exhausted.
So I deleted my site.
And my social media.
My Twitter account was created in 2009 and became the primary source for website traffic. I left behind 2,500 followers and years of hard work. It was the dumbest decision I’ve ever made. I also deleted an Instagram account that had approximately 600 followers. When I restarted my social media accounts, I found some of those followers and reestablished a connection with them. I’m grateful for those people because they’ve been just as supportive as they were when I was posting something new to my site each week.
In retrospect, I should have just taken a hiatus and came back when I felt ready to help again. I was dumb. I became selfish and began to only see dollar signs associated with everything I was doing. What started with something I loved in college ended with something that I hated coming home and doing each night after work.
I started to feel guilty for not working on the site or listening to artists who sent me their music. I felt like this especially on nights where I came home and only wanted to spend time with my family or watch Netflix.
I was just mismanaging my time. I should have rearranged my schedule to have free time on certain days and to come home and work on certain days. However, I have to learn everything the hard way so here we are, me writing about this experience and what I learned from all of it.
About a month ago I parted ways with that job. I realize now that I wasn’t burnt out from helping artists. I found my passion to do that once again over the last couple of months. I was burnt out from my day job. The constant notifications, the micromanaging, being overworked each day, and having clients not respect your time or creativity is difficult to swallow.
Going to an office and being forced to create even when you have nothing in the creative tank is an experience I don’t recommend to anyone. Your work begins to suffer and you believe all of your ideas are crap.
Once I left, I found that creative spark again. Last year I wrote six articles total that was for my own benefit; things that I wanted to write about because I had the energy. In the past couple of months, I’ve published over thirty articles. I’ve been contracted to write a project description and already have another proposal sitting in an artist’s email. I found my passion and all it took was burning 8 years of hard work and dedication to the ground.
The phoenix always finds a way to rise from the ashes.