Every once in a while, a process or activity stalls and remains so until something is done. And the same translates to an artistic process. You could go dormant, inactive or plain-old unmotivated when it comes to the pursuit of excellence in art.
Most commonly called roadblocks, these stages of feeling defeated and helpless against the continuous cycle of wanting to be great and worthy can hit any creative in any field. It is not limited to a select group, it is nondiscriminatory.
How many times has such a feeling hit you? Okay – if you have a definite answer, then how did you cope with that feeling? Interestingly, a very small percentage of creatives ever get themselves out of such a rut and also very few know how to cope with it. Nevertheless, there’s always a way out of it: hitting the reset button.
Listen, plans don’t ever work out the way we would want them to. Sometimes it seems like a flawless, easy and awesome process of creating art. For example, when ideas just seem to flow out of your mind and all you would want is to accomplish them and turn them into reality. Then you feel as if the process has become mundane, something that just goes on and on and no real happiness flows within the process.
Finally you down the tools and just sit back and watch as the process fades away, the art slowly wafting. Well that’s just how it is. I’ve gone through such a period and many times I fear that being trapped in that space that restricts you, makes you feel like you should not go further, makes you more paranoid and doubtful about yourself.
Take a look at the ways I believe hitting a reset button and getting your beast back can happen:
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REDEFINE YOUR VISION
There’s this saying that goes, “Create a vision for the life you really want and then work relentlessly towards making it a reality.”
― Roy T. Bennett.
At every inception of an idea, however wacky or incredulous is may seem, there’s usually an end-goal in sight. The motivating factor that gets you to make that first step is usually held on to for as long as the artistic process runs. Imagine the tragedy in losing your vision, the very reason why you began pursuing and searching for greatness!
Whenever you seem to be trailing or losing the motivation, it is advisable to revisit and refine your vision statement. Just like a business corporation, you need a list of motivating factors that guide you daily in your craft.
TRASH THE DRAFTS
An artistic pursuit always begins from somewhere. A musician will mold a sample into a song, a writer will mold a manuscript into a book and a sculpture will mold a figure from marble. The sample, manuscript and marble are perfect examples of drafts.
The great thing about drafts is that they are great ways of urging you into the craft. The bad thing about them is that most contain errors, unrefined ideas and ideas that cannot be pinned down to a specific genre. Such kind of drafts only misguide your direction towards achieving greatly and so trashing them sounds like a good idea.
Do not shy away from separating ideas in fields of achievable and non-achievable. The non-achievable ideas can be done away with and you can begin concentrating your efforts on those that have plausibility.
Life is too short to not have fun; we are only here for a short time compared to the sun and the moon and all that.Coolio
Your art should be something you love doing, something that gets your neurons firing. If you cannot have fun when doing it, then the risk is not worth it. I would not want to be caught in the loop of people who just endure the process and are mere particles riding along the wave. I want to be passionate about what I do.
Resetting your motivation means reviving the passion and love you had when you figured out you wanted to pursue the artistic process. It’s not easier to do such references but simply remembering that the process is worthy and will heighten your artistic designs is something to note.
You only need to look at the statistics to see that one in five people (Joseph Ferrari, Still Procrastinating: The No Regret Guide to Getting It Done) are chronic procrastinators. Whenever I view procrastination, I see self-doubt. The lack of believing that you actually can execute an activity.
This can hit you during your artistic journey. It has for many. Delaying manuscript submissions, coming in late with orders, deliveries and client jobs are perfect examples of how just a small hitch in execution can bring enormous breakdown in the process. How many times have you procrastinated? Be honest.
Being harsh on yourself means training yourself to hit targets within specified time-frames in an efficient manner. Don’t aspire to let a sample stay out for so long without completion. This is a key cause of motivation loss. Be your own coach and teacher.
Ever since I began blogging and writing for online publications, editing and proofreading, I have had very many encounters with other creatives in my as well as other niches. It would be a grave dishonor to say that I didn’t enjoy these encounters, most of which always happen involuntary. I believe that it is essential for creatives to network, share, relive and present their needs, their unique journies and challenges as well among themselves.
Through such encounters and meetings, I have gained insight on what other creatives go through and how they view their art as opposed to yourself. It breeds in you the awe and aspiration to also refine and build up your art. There is no shame in sharing. I know of people who are low-key terrific musicians, instrumentalists, poets or craftsmen but do not have the desire to share it out and know others who do the same. I call it tuning in.
Being in touch with other creatives gets you in the same creative wave as they are, and besides that it opens up your perspective, gives you new better methods to your process as well as gaining an audience for your craft.
No man is an island, and with that said, being in a budding community with similar niche-related individuals is key to resetting your motivation and getting back on track.
This article is part of the Blogging for Dummies blog series by Owen Kariuki.
Owen is a writer, editor, proofreader and part-time blogger of this series as well as a creativity guide. You can find his book here and his book reviewing articles here.