On the Art of Burning Out — “Royal Fatigue” by Cassie Meder

GRT Cassie feature

by Gabriel Valdez

On Friday, Cassie Meder posted “Royal Fatigue: The glorification and glamorization of busy”. The article rings very true for those of us pursuing online and artistic endeavors. Many of us exist on that strange sliding scale between person and personal brand, and it can be difficult to remember when to stop being one and start being the other.

It’s easier for me this year in that I’ve taken the year off from filmmaking and I’ve concentrated on writing, but even so, I’m more conscious than ever as a writer about how I project. Similarly, the work itself can become obsessive. “One more article” and “one more edit” can turn into my still parsing words at 4 a.m.

That burden has changed with an actual team working on the blog – I have help, but at the same time, we’re posting more articles than ever before and we have increased goals. There’s more to edit, more to research, more pictures to find. As soon as I get better at one thing, a new challenge raises its head, and now I’m going to have to devote more time to social networking – and not the fun, face-to-face kind, but the kind where you sell your content to complete strangers online.

We have to look at our presentation and adjust it so newer articles don’t get buried so quickly under the increased volume. There’s a study about click-through we may take part in. We have a checklist a mile long, and that’s after the actual articles.

Cassie’s “Royal Fatigue” speaks volumes as to the care and caution we need to exert over our own lives. Artists put themselves through these things because that’s their passion, but to share them with others, we need to evolve into personal brands as well. Personal branding is power, viewership, and access, and not just online. As a member of the last generation who can even vaguely remember a moment before the internet, that makes me wary.

Personal branding doesn’t require that you’re dishonest or untrue, it just means you have to be far more aware of how you project to others. You have to be aware of yourself as a character in someone else’s mind, and not just as yourself. That takes work, and you have to be careful about that added perspective weighing your own down. Where does the personality stop and the person begin, and how often can you manage to be the former before the latter burns out?

It’s a difficult, complex question that Cassie deals with in an artful way. If you at all deal with these sorts of questions, or struggle with burnout, go read her article. It will help.

Cassie Meder is a filmmaker at Casstronaut Films, a brilliant illustrator whose work you can peruse, an actress, a model, and a photographer. It’s hard to say which one of these she does best, but I’m a particular fan of her artwork. She has a dryly witty and compellingly macabre vision influenced by everything from anatomy to glamor.

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