How to NOT Burn Out on Sketchnoting

You know that exciting feeling when you first start developing a new skill?

You’re firing on all cylinders and you can’t get enough. You work on that new skill during all of your free hours. And you just keep making things, and keep getting better.

But what happens when that initial energy fades? Do you crash and burn or keep going?

Since we’ve been exploring burnout lately (first with this set of visual vocabulary and then sketchnotes of an Atlantic article), I’d like to address how to NOT burn out on sketchnoting.

Here are four tips to help keep this creative outlet as a sustaining force as opposed to a burden:

Four tips to help you NOT burn out on sketchnoting.

You Don’t Have to Sketchnote Everything

Once you start seeing the benefits of sketchnoting, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you have to sketchnote everything – every interesting idea you come across throughout the day, every idea of your own that you’d like to share with others, every personal insight that you’d like to remember in the future.

I’m giving you permission here and now to NOT sketchnote everything. While it’s tempting to try to do so, what will likely happen is that you’ll end up with a backlog of sketchnotes-in-progress that will keep you from the satisfaction of finishing one and opening space up for something new to come in next.

Not All Sketchnotes Need to Be Polished

If you follow other sketchnoters on social media, then your feed is likely full of aesthetically pleasing visual notes. When that’s your daily experience of sketchnotes, it’s easy to forget that your sketchnotes don’t have to look good.

Rough sketches and diagrams can be just as effective in helping you grasp a new idea as a highly polished sketchnote.

Don’t be afraid of letting the first version of your sketchnote be the last.

Not All Sketchnotes Need to Be Shared

Even though I often reference the benefits of publishing your sketchnotes online (I even created a whole course around that idea called Learn in Public), remember that not all of your sketchnotes need to be shared.

When you share your sketchnotes with others, the focus moves from the impact those notes have on your life to what others think of them.

Let some of your sketchnotes be just for you.

Home In on a Process that You Enjoy

There are an infinite number of ways that you can approach your next sketchnoting session.

My goal here at Verbal to Visual is to help you build the individual skills you need and then combine those skills into a sketchnoting process that works well for you.

By being explicit about the constraints you put on your sketchnoting process, you can make your way toward a process that you enjoy and is sustainable.

If every step of every sketchnote feels like an uphill battle, it’s time to tweak your process. Pick one thing to do differently next time and see how it goes.

A Global Community of Sketchnoters

Do you want to know one other factor that will help you to not burn out? Developing and using these skills in community. That’s what Verbal to Visual is all about:

In addition to our library of complete-at-your-own-pace courses, you also get to tap into weekly live workshops and see the work shared by a global community of visual thinkers.

Our online learning community will keep you inspired and excited to go deeper with your own skills.

You can learn more here.

Hope to see you in there,

-Doug