lately i have been struggling with motivation. i know this is a common occurrence among people who consider themselves creators, so i’ve been looking into ways that other people deal with this lull in creativity. the lifehack website had a really good blog with seven steps to overcoming being a lazy slug who can’t seem to string three words together (okay, i might be paraphrasing here but it was actually a really good article). and on my way to work today i listened to the Hank and Grace episode of Hank and John Green’s podcast and they talked about what they do when they lack motivation too (check out their podcast link, definitely worth it). turns out, even the people i look up to in the content creator world get burnt out and question everything they do. and their ways of breaking the cycle of no motivation are pretty similar to what ever website will try to tell you too.
whether your tactic is looking at old things you’ve made and thinking “wow i did that thing. that’s a good thing. maybe i can make more good things?” or looking at videos or other forms of content from your inspirations there are countless ways of getting back on track. recently i’m learning that the best way to get back on track is to try to remember what the track you’ve been trying to get on looks like.
what kind of content have you been wanting to make? what is your motivation for wanting to make that thing? is it for yourself? solely to put it online? or are you looking for something that serves a bigger purpose?
without further hesitation, here are my (slightly sarcastic) top five ways to push past a motivation block:
1. envision a puppy sitting in your place. are they sitting at a desk? on the floor? is it a big puppy or a little puppy? really put thought into what that puppy looks like sitting how you are right now. next imagine that puppy worrying about whatever it is you’ve been worrying about when you have tried to make something in the last few days. would that puppy actually care if that sketch of a toucan only gets three likes? or would puppy just be happy to be able to make a perfectly decent toucan without having thumbs to assist it?
now, you’ve spent the last minute and a half imagining a puppy trying to do you type things and you’re trying to tell me that you don’t have any creativity? you’ve got this! let that inner puppy make all sorts of puppy style toucans.
2. so, i hear you’re feeling unmotivated. well the second best way to deal with that is to go into your personal archives (this may be the scary pile of stuff you’ve made that’s been collecting in the corner, the file on your computer marked ‘stuff’, or the notebook you’ve been avoiding on the side of your desk) and pick one piece to critic. look at that piece of work as if it is the newest new york times best seller and you are a snide internet comment guy that is always unnecessarily harsh on the work. be hard on yourself. look at that thing and decide if it’s what you love to do and you wish you could get back to doing that stuff (spoiler alert: you CAN start making that stuff again) or if it’s something that you made but it gives you an idea of how to make it better or how to make something that is the complete opposite of whatever that thing is. the point is, look at stuff you’ve made in the past and try to get in the mindset you were in when you made it. maybe it’s something that you just forgot where you were going and looking back will show you how to move forward.
3. finally, talk to people. it sounds terrifying, right? the thought of someone else speaking words to you and you’re expected to speak words back? the HORROR. but really, some of the best ideas that i get come from random conversations that i have with people on a daily basis. whether its that coworker that you normally talk to about what you’re eating for lunch or if it’s the actual guy who is making your lunch for you (hey, just because some of you have time to make lunch, does NOT mean that i am capable of that kind of responsibility. don’t give me that look), talking to these people and collaborating with them on things you’re interested in can be a great way to push past the mental block of being unmotivated.
maybe this list falls short of what you were hoping for. but quite frankly, the only person who can pull you out of your mental funk is you. what, were you hoping that i was going to be able to give you some sage advice and everything would be fixed? sorry, but that’s not how things work. writing this post helped me push past the nothingness of creativity that i was dealing with. maybe reading this will help you somehow.
here’s to messing with motivation and getting stuff done.