Some days I have to actively force myself to stop typing and get up to take a break. I love those days, because I can see real progress on a project. But that doesn’t happen every day. Sometimes I’m tired, or unmotivated. Some days I struggle with anxiety and depression. There are also days where I’m just totally out of ideas.
Being creative for a living, regardless of your medium, can be rough sometimes. Between clients expecting the world on limited budged, or struggling to meet your own, self-imposed deadlines, it’s hard to keep the creative juices flowing all day, every day under even the best of circumstances. And it would be hard to argue that, lately, we’ve been living under the best of circumstances.
I’m not a mental health expert, so I can’t tell you how to deal with situations where you don’t have the motivation, confidence, or drive to carry on. If I had sure fire answers to questions like that, I’d be peddling a much different set of writings. But I can tell you what’s worked for me, at least, on those days when I’m ready to throw in the towel: I do it anyway.
On days where I don’t have the motivation to write, I try write a little anyway. Maybe it’s not part of a story or novel. Maybe it’s just a blog post. Or I review what I’ve written, then edit and revise. Even if I don’t get very far, every little bit helps, and I’m often surprised how just the act of writing will sometimes get my creative juices flowing.
I’m lucky to have developed a variety of creative skills, so on days when I just don’t feel like writing, I do something else. I play around with book cover designs. Or, I update one of the websites that I manage. Or, I do something totally needless but fun, like sketch out a starship or a cool fantasy landscape.
Of course, some days I don’t even have that in me. Or I don’t have much. Then I give myself a break. I watch a favorite movie, or read a new book, or play a game. I’ve been particularly enjoying No Man’s Sky recently, because it’s fun to explore, and build things, and it doesn’t ask much of me otherwise. It’s those things that help to inspire me.
And when I really need some motivation, I remind myself why I do it. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a best selling author, or that anyone will appreciate my work beyond my immediate circle of friends and loved ones. So I do it for me. If I like what I’ve created, if it’s a story that I enjoy reading, then that’s good enough.
Like I said, I’m no expert. But I know what works for me.