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  • Writer's picturewhatpennymade

The Motivation Toolbox

Updated: Jun 24, 2019

Maybe you're not afraid. Maybe you're not lacking ideas.

Maybe your problem is that you're just lacking that push, that ignition, that ENERGY to get it done.

Some days it just doesn't happen, and that's okay. But sometimes... sometimes we need to inject a bit of nitrous before we run out of gas and get into a creative rut.

We talk a lot about inspiration in a way that makes it all seem so easy.

And sometimes it is.

Sometimes, you get the idea, and you know it's good, and you just have to get moving. The idea of this passionate artistic process is attractive- and if you've ever experienced it, you know how awesome it feels to just ride the wave, letting the inspiration carry you to the finish line...

But realistically, sometimes that energy is less like a wave, and more like a puddle. This does not mean that we should let our good ideas get stale. And it doesn't mean we're doomed to a dry spell. We just need to take a different approach.

So, what do we do when we're just not feeling it? How can we be productive when we're just not passionate about... anything?

Good News: you don't need to have that furious, urgent passion to make great stuff.

Follow your heart... and then use your head

When we're not feeling it, we can instead try thinking it. When we lack in passion, we can often make up for in curiosity. What do you have questions about? What do you think you'd like to learn more about? Spend more time with? Waste a few hours looking at on the internet? Curiosity maybe isn't the fast lane, but using our curiosity to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to the completion of a project might just be the way to get moving again. When your heart just doesn't seem to be in it, try switching to your head.

Hold yourself accountable... and ask others to keep you honest

Creating structure for our creative practice can be a great way to keep us on task, to get us through those periods when we're just not feeling creatively sexy. It's tricky to find a balance between forcing something that isn't working, giving your creative whims enough space to come up with cool stuff. For some of us -a lot of us- imposing a structure keeps us accountable.

And still, sometimes, even the most disciplined of us can have lapses in good personal management. This is a sign it's time to switch from our intrinsic structures to some extrinsic motivation. What I mean by this is:

Make a commitment. Give a promise. Pinky-swear to someone else that you'll follow-through.

Sign up for a show, or a fair, or a class that you're not ready for. Use that deadline you've just committed to as a way to get the fire going.

I'm almost positive there's no right way to keep ourselves on task, 100% productive, creating awesome stuff effortlessly all of the time. All of us work differently, and we all need different medicine at different times. But if we can keep our toolbox- or first-aid kit- well-stocked with tricks and strategies, it can help us through those times when we feel we've got a wrench in the machine.

What do you think? What's in your toolbox? What do you do when the creative fireworks have fizzled?

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