How to Stay Motivated, Innovative, and Original: The Creator's Juggling Act
For many creators and freelancers alike, there is a constant need to wear many hats. At the surface, it may seem to many outside eyes that there is just a work and life balance, but to a creator, there is so much more.
To anyone working on their craft and pursuing passion projects, it can be hard to stay motivated if your daytime job isn’t aligned with your creative side. As for others, the overwhelming surge of the digital age and production of the day’s shiny new app, artwork, or invention, staying innovative feels daunting. However, staying original and authentic to one’s creative self can be the most challenging when being pulled in so many different directions.
In a world where virtually anything can be found, ordered, made, or developed at the palm of your hands, it’s increasingly difficult to keep the creative juices flowing. Here are my tips for handling what I call, “The Creator’s Juggling Act”:
Create a Schedule and Set Personal Goals
First and foremost, it’s important as a creator to set aside time to work on your projects. When setting a schedule, be realistic. Whether it’s that hour between work and a fitness class or half an hour in the morning at your favorite café, find a time that works best for you.
By setting aside a specific time each day or week that you can indulge fully in your craft, you’re allowing yourself a time and space where nothing else matters except for your project. This will help you stay motivated and give you time to look forward to each week.
However, it’s hard to stay motivated if you only work when given a project. Unlike most things, it’s hard to define creative goals because it will depend on what exactly you want to achieve and how long you are giving yourself to achieve each goal.
Whether it’s designing two logos a week, finishing a presentation by a certain deadline, or aiming to get 4 short stories published each year, set an objective that you want to reach. Not only is this important to stay motivated but it can give you a driven frame of mind as you check in each month to see how you’re progressing toward the goal.
Be an Early Adopter and Learn Something New
In every industry, there are constantly new and exciting ways to showcase your talent. By being the first in your field to embrace the new social network, app, or technology, you can figure out the pros and cons before others, and decide what is worth your time.
Some great examples of creative early adopters are Sophia Amoruso, who used eBay to it’s earliest and fullest potential by selling vintage clothes, which eventually led to creating her fashion empire, Nasty Gal. Along with Sophia, Chance the Rapper aimed is eyes on the future of music: streaming. By only allowing his music to be sold via streaming, he reached a point in his career where The Recording Academy changed the rules for winning a Grammy based on his early adoption of technology.
Not only will you find out what works best for you, but keeping up with your industry and the new resources available in the digital age, nothing is more innovative than being trendy before the trend even starts.
Along with being an early adopter, it never hurts to pick up something new. Do you enjoy writing creative fiction or short stories? Try starting up a personal blog to break the writing cycle you currently work within. When creating a presentation, do you often stick to the same style infographics? Design a completely new template for your next project.
By forcing yourself to work outside of your normal environment, you’re allowing yourself to start new at a skill like a beginner but this time, you have the mindset of a professional to make your creation successful. Consistently giving yourself a challenge is the best way to keep your work fresh and original.
As imperative as it is to keep up your creative workload, make sure that you do at least one thing per day that you enjoy. With everything that’s going on in a creator’s day-to-day life, there should always be something in there that will provide a source of happiness whether it’s treating yourself to that extra sweet coffee each morning, or embracing nature on a hike with your dog, allow yourself some time to have fun. This way, you can truly embrace your creative juices and make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward in having a successful, creative, and enjoyable time working on your craft.
Not only will all of these tips help to stimulate motivation, innovation, and inspiration for original work, but it will help you understand what works best for you. By optimizing what goals, platforms, and styles best resonate with yourself, your work in turn will be received in an even brighter light.