The feeling of finishing something is truly amazing, right? Satisfaction, relief, and a well deserved nap, right? The only comparable feeling is starting something exciting. When you have a new idea that's practically bursting out of you, and you're so full of energy and excitement and brand-new plans. Those things are the best. Honestly, the best. The problem is all the stuff in between. The middle part of working on projects, when you're mucking through all the actual work. It can be difficult to remember what you were so excited about when you started. It can feel like you've lost direction, or maybe even that your amazing idea might not have been that amazing after all.
But fight through it!! It's totally normal to feel lost or discouraged in the middle part of the project. That's the time when both our ideas and our endurance are put to the test. In Austin Kleon's book, Steal Like An Artist, He gives us an easy diagram of the average thought cycle of a project:
It's so hard to stick with an idea from beginning to end, but you can do it! Your brain will play tricks on you, it's get tired, you'll doubt yourself and want to stop. And you should take breaks, take yourself for walks in between working. But remember to come back, because you're in the hardest part. And the more you work, the easier it'll eventually get. Projects can take time to fully form, but know that if you keep at it, your idea will eventually realize itself.
For example: Right now I'm working on building a show of all the things I've been making that aren't photographs - Weavings, clay sculptures, beads, embroidered clothes, hanging ashtrays, hanging planters, etc etc etc.
I've been building up my inventory for the past 8 months or so, although every no and then I get weak and sell a couple to make myself feel "successful" which sets me back a bit. But I just found a space that could work for showcasing my work!! So exciting! A big step forward! Now, all I have to do is work like a madwoman to create enough things that this show could look full. Which sounds easy. But besides the time I'm eating, sleeping, bathing, going to my job, tending my garden, and/or 100% locked in on watching the Netflix series on Flint, it's hard to find the time. But I can do it. You can do it! We can all do it! Motivation is hard, but my top 3 tips for keeping going are this:
1. Give yourself deadlines and guidelines! Try to plan in advance as much as possible so when the time comes to get to work, there are as few distractions as possible.
2. Once you're far enough along, get critiques! Meet up with other young creative people and get their opinions. It's important every now and then to make sure your own perspective isn't affecting your work in a bad way.
3. BREATHE. if you're feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, close your eyes. Sit still. And take 3 deep breaths. Imagine your project done and beautiful, with you standing next to it in all your glory. Doesn't that look great?? Now take a second, visualize what needs to happen next, then dive the fuck in!!
I recently got this keychain that reminds me to calm myself tf down, and know that everything will be ok. It's not necessary, but having a lucky charm helps me for some reason. If it helps you too, check out http://www.adamjkurtz.com/
You guys can do anything you put your mind to!! I'm so excited to show you my show when I'm all done with it :) What are you working on right now?