Review: Podcaster explores balance, burnout and creativity in new episode

Photo courtesy of The Beautiful Anarchy Podcast

By Lauren Taylor | Copy Editor

Creativity is in high demand, and those who love to produce any form of literary, visual or music-based art are constantly under immense pressure to keep topping their own creations.

Writing is my happy place. When I use words to create, I get to make the most of a moment in time, sort through my thoughts and craft phrases that perfectly reflect the busyness going on inside my head.

However, the words I am searching for aren’t always easily accessible. Writer’s block, regardless of how it looks across various art forms, is very real and extremely frustrating.

David duChemin, an author, photographer and creator of the podcast series “A Beautiful Anarchy,” breaks down the desire to have creative flow while also learning how to navigate the idea of balance.

In “Balance, Boredom & Burnout,” episode 398 of his “mostly weekly podcast about the joys and obstacles of the everyday creative life,” duChemin opens up about his own artistic struggles and how learning to be creatively balanced isn’t as easy at it sounds.

“I like the idea of balance, and think highly of the kind of people that strive for balance in their lives,” duChemin said. “I’ve just never found it easy to live in balance for very long before I tip to one side or another before doing the weird dance of over-correction and landing on my face in the other direction.”

duChemin’s honesty and relatable nature drew me in throughout the entirety of the 17-minute episode.

He did a wonderful job of both appreciating the idea of striving for balance and critiquing the notion that balance is the only way to succeed creatively.

“There is probably no more direct route to mediocrity in what we do than the pursuit of balance for balance sake,” duChemin said.

As he shared his insights in an amiable fashion, sprinkling his podcast with personal stories and fond memories, duChemin always brought his focus back to one key point: balance might not be the best way for creative minds to succeed. Instead, we have to push ourselves.

“In my creative life, which I suppose is really just, life, if I am feeling bored it means I’m not challenging myself enough, relative to the skills I have,” duChemin said. “It means I’m not taking risks, that I’m probably repeating myself, and it’s time to create something more interesting or challenging, something that’s not so safe and comes with fewer guarantees of success.”

This caught me a little off guard when I first heard it. It never crossed my mind that balance could lead to boredom, a concept that is detrimental to a creative lifestyle.

As I began to turn that idea over in my mind, duChemin brought up balance again —this time in a more positive light.

“It’s understandable to want to pace ourselves. People keep suggesting I might want to slow down. But the thing is, this is my pace. It’s not important that our pace be fast or slow, but that it be ours,” duChemin said.

Being someone who doesn’t always know how to take the next step when writer’s block hits, I found “A Beautiful Anarchy” to be a great place to stop and recharge.

duChemin has an endearing way with words, and reminds you that it’s okay and normal to run out of ideas from time to time. What’s important is that we keep pressing forward.

“I know I can’t be the only one that ends up on empty now and then. But I’m tired of beating myself up over something that happens with such predictable regularity,” duChemin said. “Figure out your rhythms, friends. Go at whatever pace works for you. Embrace the empty and learn to fill it.”