Burnout recovery plan

Hi Everyone,

Thank you to everyone for your kind responses to my last post, announcing that I’m suffering from work-related burnout and not enjoying or even being able to think about BDSM and bondage at the moment. The post is here if you missed it: http://elegancestudios.com/wordpress/?p=28084.

It felt pretty shitty to write it, but feels much better HAVING written it. Admitting to it in public rather than pretending everything is normal and OK is hopefully the first step in forcing me to take some time out and recover. It’s allowed me to put together a recovery plan, and I’m posting that publicly as well to try to ensure that:

  1. I stick to it
  2. Everyone who has supported and continues to support Restrained Elegance knows what’s happening, when and why, so you won’t be surprised by me being absent or unresponsive to emails over the summer

I have shoot commitments through the end of May, including custom videos, a mega stills location shoot with multiple models and multiple photographer friends coming to help out, a studio shoot away from home and a trip to BoundCon Munich where I’ll be working with a couple of models I don’t usually get to work with because of geography.

I believe I can get through those shoots because I’d already noticed that things were not right and had planned accordingly. Shooting in a hotel room doesn’t require or allow great rambling storylines, so I’ll concentrate on one nice lighting set-up and some elegant bondage. The studio has lots of bondage equipment in it, so will do something more documetary-style there to try it out. The custom shoot will be hard work but we have some good friends who are very creative there so I’ll get them to shoulder the burden of improv while I concentrate on a technically-competent recording of the scene. And the big location shoot I was planning on being a producer/facilitator/lighting consultant more than the originator of big ideas to shoot anyway.

Ariel and I have got a long way ahead processing stills and video working through our Ireland trip. I need to write the stories and add all of this to the site scheduling system and the shopping cart, which I will try to do during May. That will take the sites up to the end of September and maybe a bit further.

The stories and set descriptions will be more terse than usual, as I find that side of the job quite demanding at the best of times, and borderline impossible at the moment. It’s not especially relevant even on the members’ site as I know only a minority of people even read the stories, but it’s quite important for shopping cart stuff as it’s sometimes the only way to know the full content of a set if I can only post a single thumbnail. But I’ll just have to do my best.

Then come June I have pretty much an empty diary for two months, a little bit to get through at end of July, then again clear through August and first couple of weeks in September until the other big location shoot of the year.

After that, if need be, I have enough material on disk not to need to shoot again until January if I need to take the time. I will need to edit some more stuff but we have enough on disk, and will have PLENTY after the two big location shoots assuming they go OK. So I’m not planning to book any more shoots this year, but I will revist that after a summer holiday and see how I’m doing.

I will also take the advice of a couple of very-long-time members and literally start re-using ideas from shoot plans from the first decade of the site – some of which we didn’t even get around to shooting, but all of which can totally stand revisiting with new models anyway. I’ve probably been too hard on myself for needing to find new ideas anyway. Plenty of sites shoot essentially the same storyline/setting/idea with every model they work with, and I when I join those sites I don’t mind that at all.

What I am going to be firm with myself about is being as far away from the site as possible during June, July and August. I really think my best bet for a reset, recovery and return to an efficient working pattern is just to go and do something else for a good long summer holiday sabbatical, so my brain can get its kinky mojo back.

I will be setting everything up so the automated site management systems continue to do their thing, so the only difference you should notice is that I will not be on twitter/kinky elephant/the site forum/email etc..

I will be checking my email no more often than once per week during June/July/August, probably on a Friday, so please bear with me during that time. Try Surfnet customer support- I know they aren’t always the most helpful or most polite but they do manage to keep the site up and running and free of hackers for 99.9% of the time, which is the only reason I can contemplate taking a summer holiday.

I intend to spend most of my time out and about in the mountains, with a camera just for fun if I want to take one, getting some sunshine and exercise and trying to get back to enjoying stuff like reading and going to the movies without feeling guilty about it.

I’ve already asked Alexander Lightspear to do another run of shoots for me, which he started with Delta and Cheryl last weekend. If my burnout looks set to continue I will be relying on our other kind collaborators coming to help me with future shoots; several people have already volunteered, thank you everyone!

The one thing that will change on the site is that we won’t be featuring any new models (apart from a couple Alexander Lightspear shot for us already) for the next few months. Shoots with new models are by far the most stressful for Ariel and me for various reasons, and since I don’t have any in the calendar already we will not be booking any until I’m recovered. If that starts looking like it is going to be a very long time, I will work with collaborative photographers to shoot a few new faces.

We have plenty of variety of the existing models including many fan faves so I’m sure you’ll enjoy the forthcoming updates with Sophia Smith, Hannah Claydon, Ariel, Natalia Forrest, Zoe Page, Ayla Rose, Aerlise, Aisha, Alicia, Angel Price, Anita, Bad Dolly, Cheryl, Delta, Chloe Toy, Czech Beauty, Faye, Hannah Clare, Irene, Lauren Louise, Lucy Lauren, Mille Fenton, Nicky Phillips, Penny Lee, Rachel Adams, Scarlett Foxett, Stephanie Bonham Carter, Kate, Tillie, and more. They should keep us happy for a few months at least, I hope 🙂

With best regards,

Hywel

About Hywel

Particle physicist turned fetish photographer, producer and director. I run http://www.restrainedelegance.com and http://www.elegancestudios.com together with my wife, who is variously known as Ariel Anderssen or Amelia Jane Rutherford, depending on whether she's getting tied up or spanked at the time.

2 thoughts on “Burnout recovery plan

  1. Good for you! It sounds like you’ve got a firm grasp of the problem with an excellent solution. Enjoy the hills, the vistas, toss out the alarm clock and get some well-deserved rest. We’ll all be here when you get back.

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