Staying self-motivated on any task is often times more challenging than the task itself: clean out your apartment, go on a diet, write a letter, whatever… and the holy grail of any creative project ever cooked up. How is it that even the things we really want to do: sew dresses, write a novel, create homemade oil tinctures, leave us lying in bed staring at the ceiling on our days off contemplating cleaning out the cobwebs in the windows before getting to work. It’s because self-motivation is hard, and it’s even harder when it’s a creative project.
It’s easy forget that creativity isn’t ordained from the muse but rather is the product of really hard work, thus we foolishly wait for inspiration to strike. And often times, no one cares if you do it, besides you. I vote that this should be more of a reason to get ‘er done, but it often backfires. Secretly, no one besides me knows if I don’t hit goals today. So it’s hard to stay accountable. Plus, we always think we have all the time in the world, so we figure we’ll get to it later. But procrastination like this is the enemy of getting shit done.
Now, the trick is to stay on task, self-motivate, and reach those lofty creative goals. But how does one do such a thing?! Being that I work for myself and spend most of the work day in my underwear, I have some solutions.
WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN
Yes, like you’re in 4th grade. When you would like the project to be done, set the date and work backward from there, creating a reasonable calendar of check points for yourself. You can even go so far as to break it down into daily goals. For example, I write three pages at least every morning. It’s nothing crazy, but trust me they add up fast and this task keeps me focused.
WORK EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT INSPIRED
If you wait for the magical moment where all your creativity comes flowing all at once, you’ll be waiting forever. Creative side projects require actual work and planning, you can’t always rely on your creative genius to show up when you need it. Work on your projects even when you’re not the most inspired – it’ll pay off.
SET A SCHEDULE
Dedicate certain hours of the week or times of the day. No excuses – these times are off limits to other activities. If you don’t, there will always be a show to watch or a taco to eat. Consider yourself clocked in.
Get feedback from someone you trust. Often times creative projects can make you feel like you live on an isolated little planet. Invite over your closest confidant and show her what you’re working on. Ask for real honest feedback. It will redirect your energy and perhaps give you some ideas moving forward.
SACRED WORK SPACE
Virginia Woolfe said all one needs is a room of one’s own, or was it a room with a view? Whatever. Get both. Make your space yours. You don’t have to go crazy, but do something to designate your work space, even if that means hanging a picture of Jared Leto from the 90’s on the wall behind your desk. All hail Jared Leto in the 90’s.
Okay my creative geniuses, I’d like to see you make something amazing. Just remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it also wasn’t built from the comfort of your duvet cover while binge watching Girl Boss. GET TO IT!