As a creative, I often find myself struggling to stay motivated to do pretty much anything. It can be as simple as getting out of bed, to taking care of things around the house. But it usually stems from one very important thing: I’m procrastinating creative productivity.
I’m afraid of creating something bad. I think anyone who has ever sat down to make anything can relate to this feeling. Good artists train themselves to overcome the fear of beginning a project by, you guessed it, doing it over and over and over.
Yet, when I let the fear of creating stifle my creativity (irony), it bleeds into other areas of my life. I find depression seeps its way into the fibers, through all the cracks of my fractured being, and pulls me down into the depths.
I’m not your average creative type. I’m an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs test, I am orderly, highly structured, insensitive, un-emotional, and over all detached from humanity in every day life. Yet I feel this deep seeded need to write about experiences, feelings, and stories. There is always this longing to create and make something that evokes something new, fresh, and intensely glorious from the soul. I’m not sure I’ve done that yet, but it’s the goal.
So here are some things I’m working on to get over hopelessness and fight for a better day tomorrow than I had today:
1. Wake Up Earlier
I really really hate mornings. But when I sleep as late as I want to, I’m tempted to continue sleeping. I feel like most of the day is gone anyway and there’s no point in getting up now. This is throwing a huge tank of gasoline to the already lit fires of procrastination. Procrastination leads to depression, etc.
I’ve been attempting to inch my way to an earlier time of getting up and starting my day. My goal is to wake up, go for a run, take a shower, do something productive around the house, and go to work. I’ve yet to fully accomplish this plan. But it’s the goal. There’s always tomorrow, but right now it’s 1am and I’m still not in bed. So it doesn’t look good. I’ll keep you updated.
2. Prioritize Time To Create
Whether I want to or not, I should be sitting down for an hour or two a day to create something. Overcoming the fear of creating something bad starts with creating a few bad things you’re going to throw out, then the next step is understanding that nothing is necessarily bad, and can be gutted to make something better in the future. According to many studies, Creativity is like a muscle that can be strengthened and honed to be able to produce quality works of art when it’s engaged. So I’m going to try and test this theory over the coming months as I ramp up to making a new album (gasp) and still need a few more new songs to complete the list.
3. Make Lists And Finish Them
I love lists. I love making them. I love checking them off. I love completing them. There’s really nothing better than a list. I’ve started making lists for everything. It’s been extremely helpful in not only remembering important things, but also keeping me motivated to finish things. From chores, to blog posts, to song ideas, to learning a new skill, to reading, etc. Lists keep me going. You may not share my enthusiasm for lists. I know for some of you, lists make you cringe and want to blow your brains out. But the important thing to take away from this is to find something that keeps you driving towards the goal.
The reality is that I will probably fight this battle every day for the rest of my life. I may always have these issues. I may always want to revert back to my unproductive, waste of space, pathetic self that gets nothing done and stays in bed all day. Maybe thats the price to pay for being a creative. But it doesn’t mean I have to give in. It doesn’t mean I have to be ok with those parts of me. Those parts are unhealthy, and I recognize that. We all have parts that are unhealthy. The first step is recognizing what they are, and addressing them. We can all fight for tomorrow and overcome hopelessness.
I’m doing it one day at a time. I failed today, but I have hope for tomorrow.