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Thread: How To Deal With Creative Burnout

  1. #1
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    Question How To Deal With Creative Burnout

    All plans off the table. All projects at a stand still. Why? A major case of creative burnout. For the longest time I had a pretty good idea what I'd like to do in a train sim. I figured out what kind of railroading interested me and what kind didn't. All though it took a while, I learn how to create my own content and preceded forward with my plans. I jumped back and forth between a few train sims and learned many different technics. In the last few years I learned that making a truly historical accurate route can be much harder then it looks...even for a smaller route. I submerged myself so hard into the accuracy of the historical information, I completely burned myself right out of continuing the project...many times. Or in many earlier cases, I almost finished the project only to decide I can do a better job at it prompting me to start the project over again, and again...and again. For me this has been a vicious cycle. I sit here now wondering what I should do next. If I should even continue modeling or move on to something else. I do like "Old School" railroading 1940-1960, but that means research and plenty of it. That is the last this I want to do anymore. I'm completely burned out on the idea of research! Most younger fellows around here are into modern railroading which is ok, but it just doesn't hold my interest to invest that much time into it. I also thought about working on something completely made up or fictional. Some creators are really good at that, but somehow I don't think my creative juices flow in that direction. I did tried that path before and seem to run out of ideas pretty quick.

    I'd sure hate to have all these modeling skills I learned over the years lost or forgotten. Let's say from one creator to another... what would your suggest be on what I should do?

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    I have followed your creative efforts for some time, Scott, and I have been amazed at the work you have put into laboriously creating just about every building, train stop, bridge and other asset that went into it. I marveled at the thought of what a masterpiece it would be when finished, and I also agonized with you when you have needed to take time away because of the burnout. I don't think I have any great advice for you, as I find myself avoiding going back to the prototype routes I have been trying to build. I don't have your creative talent, so I spend hours and hours on each individual asset looking through all the assets I have looking for the closest thing I can find most of the time, and then proceed not fully satisfied. But that is the reality, the perfect asset is never going to exist unless, like you, you can create it yourself. As long as you can see it as a creative outlet, and not a drudge, it may work for you, but when it becomes a chore you no longer want to deal with, well, only you can evaluate when you have reached that point. If you decide it is no longer worth your efforts, I hope you can find some other creative outlet for your talents, whether it be modelling, or music, or art. I am sure with your creative talents you have many options, and life is too short to spend it frustrated. Thanks for all you have done until now, and best wishes in whatever endeavors you find release in, in the future.

    One idea regarding your last question: Given your modelling skills, would working with the CRT team to repair and update existing assets be an option? It might or might not feel as rewarding, but it would be performing a great service. Sorry if that comes across as a lame idea, maybe there are other options others can suggest. Best wishes!
    “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” - R.L.S.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forester1 View Post
    One idea regarding your last question: Given your modelling skills, would working with the CRT team to repair and update existing assets be an option? It might or might not feel as rewarding, but it would be performing a great service. Sorry if that comes across as a lame idea, maybe there are other options others can suggest. Best wishes!
    There are no lame ideas at this point...I'm looking for all possibilities. I'm just curious if other creators ever faced something like this...If so what did they do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond1964 View Post
    All plans off the table. All projects at a stand still. Why? A major case of creative burnout. For the longest time I had a pretty good idea what I'd like to do in a train sim. I figured out what kind of railroading interested me and what kind didn't. All though it took a while, I learn how to create my own content and preceded forward with my plans. I jumped back and forth between a few train sims and learned many different technics. In the last few years I learned that making a truly historical accurate route can be much harder then it looks...even for a smaller route. I submerged myself so hard into the accuracy of the historical information, I completely burned myself right out of continuing the project...many times. Or in many earlier cases, I almost finished the project only to decide I can do a better job at it prompting me to start the project over again, and again...and again. For me this has been a vicious cycle. I sit here now wondering what I should do next. If I should even continue modeling or move on to something else. I do like "Old School" railroading 1940-1960, but that means research and plenty of it. That is the last this I want to do anymore. I'm completely burned out on the idea of research! Most younger fellows around here are into modern railroading which is ok, but it just doesn't hold my interest to invest that much time into it. I also thought about working on something completely made up or fictional. Some creators are really good at that, but somehow I don't think my creative juices flow in that direction. I did tried that path before and seem to run out of ideas pretty quick.

    I'd sure hate to have all these modeling skills I learned over the years lost or forgotten. Let's say from one creator to another... what would your suggest be on what I should do?
    Having suffered burnout with the Uintah, I spent about 8 months on an existing route changing , extending, improving that route. then I felt over the burnout enough to get back to making the original route. Or you might Find a collaborator who will do the research for you and you could get down to making assets using your 3D skills.
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

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    Quote Originally Posted by dangavel View Post
    Having suffered burnout with the Uintah, I spent about 8 months on an existing route changing , extending, improving that route. then I felt over the burnout enough to get back to making the original route. Or you might Find a collaborator who will do the research for you and you could get down to making assets using your 3D skills.
    That would be excellent! I did try that many times but always came up empty handed. Just speculating here, but I don't think many found my project of that much interest. It was definitely something I looking into before.
    Last edited by BlackDiamond1964; October 28th, 2020 at 09:56 PM.

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    There's always something just a little outside your wheelhouse, enough to be fresh, require new techniques, discovering new sources of information, etc.. Personally, I've got sort of locked into American electrics (a small universe) - but expanding to interurbans, maybe some more streetcars, could freshen the challenge. And then there are ships and aircraft.. or, for that matter, other continents and other games.

    So much to learn! And then the satisfaction of seeing (or just knowing) that other people are using what you built.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PWeiser View Post
    There's always something just a little outside your wheelhouse, enough to be fresh, require new techniques, discovering new sources of information, etc.. Personally, I've got sort of locked into American electrics (a small universe) - but expanding to interurbans, maybe some more streetcars, could freshen the challenge. And then there are ships and aircraft.. or, for that matter, other continents and other games.

    So much to learn! And then the satisfaction of seeing (or just knowing) that other people are using what you built.
    You have definitely found your niche there. I never got that far...at least not yet. I must admit though there is a great satisfaction seeing your content being used in other peoples projects. It's one of the bigger pluses of using the Trainz program.

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    This happens with any creative thing no matter what it is. My solution is to step away and do something else, or better yet, enjoy the fruits of my labor. For me this happens in music as well as with Trainz. I get what I call a case of eating dry crackers. I know it sounds silly, but it's true. Musically, as someone who has played the piano since I was 5 years old and did a stint as a music major when I was 48, I get to a point where I no longer hear what I'm playing. What I mean by this is pieces are played along, but musically they're like eating dry crackers! When that sets in, I will stop working on those pieces and find something else. If the music is too blah in general, I'll walk away completely for a few days. For that, I can't leave it along completely because I'll get very stiff joints and end up losing progress, but with that said usually a few days is good enough to clear the mind and the ears.

    Like your historically accurate approach, piano studies and serious music studies in general, require a ton of slow, methodical work. This means working on things for weeks and months at a time. My current teacher has me working so slowly on works, that it'll take me weeks to get through something I can normally sight read. The process is much like model railroad building. We work on the basics, meaning a baseboard, wire frames, plaster, and track. This process, depending upon the complexity of the works, can take months to get through a movement. We talking about big pieces such as the the beautiful E-major Op. 109 sonata by Beethoven with multiple sections or movements all related to each other and all various speeds (tempo). This sonata is a monumental work and is 30-plus pages long and I'm only on the third page of the first movement!

    The trashing of projects is not unusual. In both venues here, I have built things and trashed them more than once. One of the projects was within completion when I decided to trash it and start over. In the end, I should have stuck with what I had because I couldn't get my heart into the second time around on the big Trainz route I was working on at the time. In music I've been working on digital recordings. I use a MIDI setup and high end software for recording and playback. My playing will be fine for others to listen to, but I'll find an annoyance, then another, and another, and another. In the end, like you, I'll trash the thing and start over because there's too much work in my eyes to patch stuff. Doing this, my music projects have ended up with more scraps in the trash than completed!

    This also plays out, literally and no pun intended with Trainz. This too requires a creative mind and open ideas. I find that if I've been building like crazy on a route or routes, I'll tend to burn out mentally and lose my ability to make any worthwhile progress. When that happens, I'll take a break from building and do other things perhaps play another game, read stuff, or if I want to Trainz I'll drive a route or routes including my own. For driving, I won't do anything too complex and pretty much go for a ride. What this does is give me a chance to see things from a different view. Then as time goes on, I find myself looking at building a route, or most of the time fixing something I noticed while going for a ride such as floating roads, grass clumps out of place, and so many other little things that need tweaking. By then, I'm up and running again building.

    So Scott, don't take it to heart and don't give up. Take a short vacation from Trainz. Watch videos on YouTube. Those cab rides are really, really awesome and are inspirational for route building even if it doesn't pertain to your current project. Go drive someone else's route. Read, do research, look at maps, but don't give up.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

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    Building historic routes is difficult. I worked on a 1880s Broad Gauge route in Cornwall for ages and burnt myself out on it. I took a break and did something else entirely that was largely freelance, then I built a few TMR format layouts in virtual model railway rooms and now I'm starting to feel like I want to go back and take another look at my 1880s layout.
    Research does take a lot of time. I think I spent more time on research than I did actually building anything, but I think the best way to look at it is treating it like an adventure, - a time travel trip into the past. The further back you go the harder it gets to find information so I found I had to sometimes accept a historically likely fudge rather than anything approaching true accuracy. The important thing to remember too is that this is a hobby and it's supposed to be fun.
    Last edited by KotangaGirl; October 28th, 2020 at 10:15 PM. Reason: spelling
    Narcolepsy is not napping.



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    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post

    The trashing of projects is not unusual. In both venues here, I have built things and trashed them more than once. One of the projects was within completion when I decided to trash it and start over. In the end, I should have stuck with what I had because I couldn't get my heart into the second time around on the big Trainz route I was working on at the time. In music I've been working on digital recordings. I use a MIDI setup and high end software for recording and playback. My playing will be fine for others to listen to, but I'll find an annoyance, then another, and another, and another. In the end, like you, I'll trash the thing and start over because there's too much work in my eyes to patch stuff. Doing this, my music projects have ended up with more scraps in the trash than completed!
    I found this particularly interesting. I glad to see that I'm not the only one that does this. It seems to be both a blessing and a curse for me. I do produces better quality content because of it...but I never finish anything!
    Last edited by BlackDiamond1964; October 28th, 2020 at 11:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond1964 View Post
    I found this particularly interesting. I glad to see that I'm not the only one that does this. It seem to be both a blessing and a curse for me. I do produces better quality content because of it...but I never finish anything!
    Yup the same here. The second go around is better. We're too picky I think for our own good. This is part of the beast I suppose that's difficult to tame.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

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    Quote Originally Posted by KotangaGirl View Post
    Building historic routes is difficult. I worked on a 1880s Broad Gauge route in Cornwall for ages and burnt myself out on it. I took a break and did something else entirely that was largely freelance, then I built a few TMR format layouts in virtual model railway rooms and now I'm starting to feel like I want to go back and take another look at my 1880s layout.
    Research does take a lot of time. I think I spent more time on research than I did actually building anything, but I think the best way to look at it is treating it like an adventure, - a time travel trip into the past. The further back you go the harder it gets to find information so I found I had to sometimes accept a historically likely fudge rather than anything approaching true accuracy. The important thing to remember too is that this is a hobby and it's supposed to be fun.
    I actually started my project around 10 to 12 years ago. Much of that time was spent learning Blender and sharping my skills good enough to actually make something. In that same time I gathered a lot of historical information on my project but I'm still left with a lot of questions and references I can't find. Now I could fudge some details but then I think about it and realize that I've come so far with historical facts...why not just go all the way...I'm so close! I somehow feel I'm cheating the user and keep researching. Next thing you know, I'm playing Civ 5 because I'm frustrated with Trainz! I've actually been on a break now for like a month and a half...I'm getting itchy figures to do something but I'm not sure what at this point.

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    Creative burn is something that I have been through, there is no known instant cure.
    I have never binned any route that I have made, they went onto external storage devices with the intention of returning to them at some point in the future.
    I have now started importing old TS12 routes into TRS19, I am pleased that I kept them on hold because I now have something different to do.
    The good thing about Trainz is that there are so many 'branches off the mainline' that require different skill sets.
    I have tried making stuff in blender, but my buildings looked like deformed Lego! I will go back to it again at some point and try again.
    I love making reskins of trains and buildings, I hate the admin side of reskinning though with the end result of me again storing them for future release.
    I enjoy fictional route building from scratch.

    So here is a list of my Trainz activities..
    Freelance route building from scratch, no plans, just a 'let's see what happens' route.
    Module making, where you make individual modules of a yard, station, loco facility etc with the intention of joining them together in a full route or several smaller routes. I have just joined a lot of my modules into my German Anaheim route.
    Model railway building from plans, very hard sometimes, many plans will not work in Trainz, but it's a challenge!
    Freelance model railway building, again very challenging.
    Reskinning of meshes made by others either for personal use or release to the DLS.
    I am sure there are others but I now have brain fog

    There was a point earlier this year (or was it late last year, I can't remember) where I had to walk away from Trainz because I lost my mojo.
    I went back to filling in my database of my postcard/stamps collection. It was when I was doing some entries for railway postcards that rekindled my interest in Trainz again.

    So, don't give up, look at a part of Trainz that is out of your comfort zone and have a go, model railways maybe?

    I hope this post makes sense, I started having post-covid brain fog part way through, so I am struggling to make sense of things. It's taken over 15 minutes to write this post.
    I am going for a lie-down.

    I hope you get your mojo back soon!
    Graham,
    Enthusiast but not expert.

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    I think many of us suffer from this syndrome. As mentioned by others, just do something different for a while. For example, try to improve your creation skills - there is so much on the Internet that can help.

    I switch between activities and projects all the time. Currently, I'm suffering from CRG repair burnout. Fixing 100's of other people's assets gets wearing after a while when you know there are so many better techniques one can use.

    But, a word of advice - if your pause your major project then please write down where you were, what you were doing, and where the source files are, etc. I can't rely on memory to pick up from where I was.

    Paul


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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond1964 View Post
    ... I'm getting itchy figures to do something but I'm not sure what at this point ...
    dearest scott

    ... i'm not a creator .. not like everyone else in this thread ...
    i'm a gimmepig : i wanna have all ... free or paid .. pickin' all the gemmies they're making for me ...
    i don't have the skills, nor the knowledge ... i don't have the patience, nor the possibilities ...
    my talent is to see what i have ... and embracing and enjoying it ... and using it to arrange my own world ... and i'm satisfied ...
    and what i don't have ? ... that's ok : what isn't there isn't there ... i don't want to waste energy to focus me on "nothing" .. if necessary, i will find a substitute ... like a child do ... and i'm satisfied ...
    i learned it in the 60's as a growing teenager ... and i'm still growing .. hugging my talents and dealing with my limitations ..
    so, maybe you can close your eyes ... and see what you have .. collect the most valuable moments and your most useful tools ... spread your wings and use your freedom ... jump out of your box and create another world ...

    ... just a satisfied gimmepiggy, pickin'the world out of nothing ...
    live long and prosper ..
    grtz
    daveric

    ps : don't forget to put your ears in music : you can't always get what you want (rolling stones), let it be (beatles), imagine (john lennon), drift away (stones & beatles) .. and much, much more ...
    so, forget sabbaticals : let's rock .. (or just hum ..)

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