Motivation for Living Creatively … My Story.
In Monday’s post, I talked about the foundation of my story, how I came to become Virtually Untangled. In continuation of that story, today I’m going to let you into a deeper area of my life. The creative side. The side in which I like to claim that I live in a perverse fantasy world with unrealistic expectations! But in reality, when you’re creative almost everything feels like an “unrealistic expectation”. Truthfully anything is possible if you are able to set your mind free and be creative without judgement. I should rephrase that as all you designers reading this will know that in this job judgment surrounds us so I mean without judgment from OURSELVES.
So, how do I stay so motivated to live a life filled wall-to-wall with creativity you ask?
Here’s my story …!
It all started at a young age, like most, with my coloured pencils, art paper and journal books. For me I used creativity to get away from the horror that was my life. I can’t go into full disclosure here in respect to those who were unfortunately a part of it all. But to me, creativity was a release. A place where I could hide from the world yet truly be myself. I chose art to express what I wished my world could be like. Where I could dream of somewhere far away from all the pain and suffering. Where I let my ideas fly into possibilities of what I wanted to be when I grew up.
From there, everything spiraled … in both directions but after some careful life choices I put myself first for a change. I worked three jobs just to put myself through Graphic Design school. I knew that if I could just accomplish this one dream for myself then everything else in life would fall into place. For a while I used to think I was unstoppable. But my health way saying otherwise. Just 2 months ago, I was juggling a demanding full-time job and freelance business all the while feeling extremely unhappy with my life choices but uncertain how to veer off into another direction. Afraid that if I stayed where I was, I would lose my creativity and the drive to continue doing something I loved. So, I left my job and started working for myself. I opened an Etsy shop, recommitted to creative writing and bet on myself for a change. Which by the way is something I don’t do often as I’m a “play it safe” and “colour between the lines” kind of gal!
Now, I am happier than ever. I feel as though I got reacquainted with reality. However, I suddenly feel like I’m dealing with the absence of pressure. I am now forced to figure out how to do things on my own, for myself and at my own pace. You’re probably thinking how great that sounds. In some ways, yes but not entirely. When you’ve spent years relying on external deadlines to keep you productive and feeling alive, you’re left feeling a bit lazy and uninspired when those pressures suddenly disappear. Lucky, I found my way with these few tricks …
- Discover your character strengths then adjust your daily goals and tasks to utilize them. For me, it’s being organized and deadline driven. I like a clean space, organized notes (yes, also colour coded) and a notebook of my weekly and near-future goals.
- Seek intrinsic motivators which infuses your creative work with more meaning and a greater purpose. I keep a binder on my desk called “Gifts of Imperfections” (yes, quoted from Brene Brown’s book) where I keep positive affirmations along with personal development course notes as a reminder of how far I’ve come and what I want my end goal to be.
- Get out of your comfort zone, set big goals and do something your afraid of every single day. I know this one sounds really effing scary but if we stay in the same spot every day how are we every going to excel and build our dream? Remember, progress is impossible without change.
- Set the mood to get those creative juices flowing by getting enough sleep, exercise and even consider some DIY ideas for your work space. For me this once again goes back to being organized, surrounded by motivators and having a bright and colourful creative space (aka my “Bunch O’ Bananas” coloured wall).
- Experiment with new daily routines until you find a comfortable fit then set yourself a schedule as well as a weekly list of goals. I keep mine in an quote inspired colourful journal on my desk. That way it’s always in my face and I have no excuses. This one is very important as it will give you enough time to find your flow, the mental stated of being fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, involvement and a complete enjoyment in the process.
- Stay creatively fueled which is best achieved by discomfort. Sounds ridiculous, I know. But by seeking out new challenges, they will harness uncertainty which in turn creates brilliance and enhances your creative thinking.
- Never under-estimate the power of a “buddy system”. Commit to a handful of online groups of like-minded individuals. In my experience being a part of such communities helped my creativity grow, my uncertainties get answered and a calming feeling knowing that help is always available. This also helps when it comes down to procrastination. It keeps you in check, always learning, connected and ready to attain your goals.
And last but not least,
- Recognize that frustrations, mind-blocks and disappointments are inevitable. Understand that there is always life after failure. And without the occasion fail in our lives, how would we ever grow? Trust me, I’ve failed at many things. You just have to learn when it’s time to stop wallowing in the pain and embarrassment and pick yourself up.
So, here I am, 11 years later. Still lucky enough to be accomplishing that dream. I feel very grateful and very lucky to be one of the few who gets to work in a field that was once only a childhood dream. Unfortunately, not many people have that privilege or drive to get them there. But, after reading this post, I can virtually guarantee that if you do just one of the above suggestions (which has worked for me and many others I know), you will feel a kindling within you that you can, with little effort, develop into a vibrant flame of inspiration, motivation, productivity and perhaps even a little creativity.
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