15 ways to stay motivated to create
Hey Unmotivated Artists!
I feel you. I really do. It's so hard to stay motivated after working your grown-up job everyday, waking, dressing, feeding, wrangling your offspring and then dressing, feeding and organising yourself. Cleaning the house, grocery shopping, cooking, paying bills, remembering to pick up your kids from school. It gets on top of you and any spare second you have you just want to plop down in front of the tv and become a box-zombie. I really do feel ya! Amen! Motivation can be divided into two types - Intrinsic motivation (comes from within - ie solving a problem) and Extrinsic motivation (external motivational reasons such as money or fame). Below are both intrinsic and extrinsic ways I get the wriggle back in my squiggle. I guarantee at least one of these will get the fire burning under your bum.
Coffee. Or your caffeinated beverage of choice.
I know. Not the healthiest option, but if it works... If I pump myself full of red bull (one day I will grow up and drink coffee like the adults), the ideas come knocking. It's then a matter of sorting through the great concepts and the loopy caffeinated ideas.
Inter web inspiration.
This borders on procrastination. My suggestion is to set a time limit on this one. One hour of 'research' and then back to the drawing board. Otherwise you'll be pinning pins and in TED headphone heaven - and that's when you forget to pick up the kids from school.
Creative people inspiration.
It's like what your parents encouraged you to do when you were younger. 'Of course you can hang out with the Christian flute playing nerd, Sweetie'. Assuming that I too would become a Christian flute playing nerd too. It's the same with creatives. Hang out with them, talk to them, email them, call them, stalk their Facebook, read their blog (wink wink). Better yet, buy them coffee (or red bull) and pick their brain, one neuron at a time. You will walk away with a caffeine high and full of new ideas.
Creatives don't like this one, but for some reason I do! Lists. List it all. Every step. Then cross off things on that list. Oh yeh - cross them off! Sometimes the mess in your head simply needs to be written down to make space for the creative thoughts. Your left brain could totally be dragging down your right brain. So empty out that logical left brain onto a piece of paper (or in my case a an organiser that has about 500 lists in it) and create some head space for your right brain to run free.
I cannot work if I'm not comfortable. Make your creative space inviting, comfy and somewhere you love to be. For me - I have two working spaces. One is on the couch with my feet up, laptop on my lap, ESPN college basketball on TV, bottle of water and phone to my left, organiser and list of things to do to my right. The other space is my studio (double garage). It is organised but just messy enough. I have everything in reach. I have a comfy chair, loads of light, the music blaring through the speakers. I love these spaces.
Head still a mess? Not enough room for creative thought? Run it out. Or walk it out - whichever. Go shoot around at the basketball hoop. Take the dog, or offspring for a wander down to the lake. Go for a roller skate. Clear your head ready for creative time.
This is me everyday. Stuck on a project that isn't work, that you're not enjoying, that you have no desire to work on? Put it aside and start on something new. You can come back to that piece later on.
Switch creative techniques.
Lets mix it up a bit. Lets clear some time to get creative with new techniques. Use ink instead of pencil. Use charcoal instead of pen. Make a bookshelf instead of a candle. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Need ideas? Visit the best website ever invented for 39,026 new creative techniques to try. Better yet, sign up to a creative workshop and learn a new technique from an expert.
Give yourself time and space to get swallowed by creativity.
Often when I have several deadlines to meet, I'll push through work without fully exploring the creative options. Deadlines make life stressful and the more stressful life is, the less room in your head for ideas. Ask for an extension on your deadline. Or prioritise your projects to allow for some creative time. Possibly work an all-nighter to get your bread and butter out of the way to make space for your creativity.
Excursion to the art shop.
Who doesn't love a trip to the art shop? I'm pretty sure I spend so much money at the art shop, I'm employing someone all by myself. Pop into the art shop and just let yourself buy a couple of little things that spark your creativity. My last excursion, I came back from the ArtShed with spray on fabric paint, a new cutting mat and more paints is all the colours of the rainbow!
Make a sale.
There is nothing more inspiring that someone paying good money for your artwork. I always think, if someone is willing to part with their hard-earned cash for some splashes of paint, then I must be a bit of an ok artist then! This inspires me to make more splashes of paint... and sell that too! Very extrinsic motivation, but I do like money because then I can go back to the art shop. Online art sale options I use are my online store on my wix built website, art fido and etsy.
Step back. Create something with purpose.
Step back from what you are doing. Remember why you are doing it. If you need to, create something with you in mind. Create a piece for your bed room or your child's room. Create something that you want in your life and if you happen to put it into your next show, then great. If not, you'll be more inspired when you create something personal.
Have a nap.
My favorite because it's so unattainable. If you have the time, have a nap. You will wake with so much more energy and passion for life. One day I'll get to nap again. Maybe when my son turns 18 and moves out of home.
Give into becoming a box zombie.
Just do it. Be a box zombie for an afternoon. Take that much needed rest time. Think about watching a television show or movie that may inspire you at the same time. I find a lot of the old war movies inspire me.
This is how I manage to get so much done. If you finish off these two artworks today, you can have a glass of wine tonight. If you wrap up your exhibition prep a day early, you can spend the day being a tv zombie and eating chocolate. It works.
Remember, there are millions of highly creative people in the world. So very many! But the difference between you and the other creatives is that you work harder! You are more driven! Now go, create the best street art mural anyone has ever seen. Go be awesome!