Best Tips for Unlocking Your Creative Side and Feeling Motivated

March 2, 2016

Finding Motivation to Create | Peaceful Dumpling

Finding the motivation to create is possible–no matter what your creative background!

When you go to a liberal arts school, it feels like there are “creatives” everywhere. And even if your life brings you beyond those boundaries, into other circles, you may still feel similar. Everyone is an entrepreneur, an artist, a writer. They make jewelry, they mix tracks, they curate Instagram accounts, or they host podcasts.

This can be either inspiring or vastly discouraging. (Sometimes both). When your peer group is oversaturated with creative minds, it can seem hard to set yourself apart.

Now, depending on what type of person you are, this may mean that you take the competition as motivation to work better and harder than you ever have before. If this is you, consider yourself lucky.

There are a whole other slew of people who, rather than rise above the competition, feel defeated by it. The mental banter goes something like this: What’s the point of making _____________ if it won’t be as good as theirs? Will I be able to get this project off the ground? If I don’t, will all the money/time/energy I spent on it be a waste?

Constant comparison of your work to others can cause even the simplest of tasks to feel daunting.

In response to that phenomenon, consider this saying (adapted by influential “creatives” ranging from Voltaire to Gretchen Rubin): “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” 

Perfectionism can actually breed stagnation. With that in mind, I encourage you to embark on a challenge of sorts- one where you consistently tap into your creative energy. This means being intentional about setting time aside to create. It also means blocking out comparisons and visions of failure. You may be surprised at how fully and fearlessly you approach new endeavors after a few weeks of consistency.

First of all, it is crucial that you create every day. Make something, anything.

It’s good practice. Even if the project is not in your chosen field, or something that you would typically make, or that you can sell or give away, or that you are even that proud of, do it anyway. Making something is better than making nothing. It doesn’t matter that it’s not your best work. How will you ever be able to improve without something to build upon?

You’ll also start to get your body and your mind into a rhythm. The more you make things, the easier it becomes. It’s like muscle memory, where one day you’ll sit down at the computer to write and realize how effortless it has become. Maybe not all the time–but more often than if you weren’t writing at all.

Don’t be afraid to try new things, either! Widen your range of skills. I would actually encourage you to try to engage in activities outside of your comfort zone just as much as you would those that you’re used to. Experimentation may be just the push you need to get past an artistic block. It could stimulate new creativity that was dormant inside you, waiting to be unleashed.

Whatever you’re making, whether professionally or recreationally, will boost your mental wellbeing. It’s a great way to relieve emotional stress, as well as boost self-esteem. Think about how great it feels to complete something. What power there is in creating a tangible product–hence the term “productivity.” Enjoying the product can feel even better. Maybe you share it with others, or maybe you keep it to yourself, but you can take joy in the fact that your efforts were fruitful.

Even if you don’t consider yourself the most creative person, there are benefits of creating (as well as many ways to do so). Here are some options you may not have considered, but feel free to come up with your own:

–Make an altered book

–Take a photo and play around with it on Photoshop

–Brew your own kombucha, beer or cider

Upcycle an old shirt into a grocery bag

–Pick flowers (or veggies) for a centerpiece

–Write a short story or poem or song

–Teach yourself to screen print

–Choreograph a dance routine

Finding Motivation to Create | Peaceful dumpling

If you choose to partake in this “challenge,” please keep us updated with the results! Do you benefit from creating every day, and how do you do so?

Also by Quincy: Vegan Treats: Hormone-Balancing Chocolate Fudge 

Related: Yoga Sequence for Creativity

How to Create Daily Rituals for Productivity

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Image: Julie Paradise via Flickr, Mary Hood Luttrell 

Quincy is an NC-based college student who is passionate about leading a healthy and compassionate life. Aside from classes, she fills her time with cooking, writing, travel, and yoga. You can find more from her on her blog Shugurcän and on Instagram.


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