One Big Lie Creative People Tell Themselves That Prevents Growth
While I’m not sure that the one big lie we tell ourselves is much different from anyone else, I know my fellow creative class are making up similar excuses to mine. I tell myself these little “untruths” which are all aspects of the same lie: that I have to be in the mood to produce quality work.
My One Big Lie can sound something like…
- I don’t feel motivated now, but tomorrow (or after something happens, or at some other time in the future) I will definitely be inspired.
- I depend on certain external things to feel the creative mood. (We creatives have a talent for coming up with lots of excuses!)
- If I don’t feel like doing it, then my creative work will be disappointing and of poor quality. I might as well just wait for the mood to strike.
There’s no denying that being in the flow and being passionate as I go about my work is both fun and gets my creative juices flowing, and the quality of my work can be amazing that way. However, I believe that not feeling like it is one big lie and there is no excuse to put off beginning my endeavor.
Not Feeling Like it Doesn’t Cut it
The reality is that our feelings change from moment to moment. Not feeling like it now doesn’t mean that we will still feel that way 10 minutes from now. We can take actions to bring ourselves into a conducive state of mind.
My grandfather had to pump his drinking water by hand. To get the water flowing, we had to prime the pump by pouring some water down the shaft of the pump. You can prime your own pump by starting your work, especially in the face of not feeling like it. After a short time of working uninspired, I usually find myself in the groove with fresh ideas flowing.
It takes that little nudge to get started, but then I naturally get set in the creative mood. I tell myself that I only have to work for 15 minutes and if I want to quit, then I can after those 15 minutes. So I set a timer and just starting doing something, anything that helps my work. Most often when the timer goes off, I’m already engaged and enthused so I want to keep going. But not always.
There are some days when I’m feeling especially discouraged, tired, or just out of sorts. On those days, I know that I need to raise my spirits first before priming my creative pump. There are countless ways to do this.
Here are some ways I get myself motivated or in higher spirits
- Dance to inspiring music or play my guitar
- Look into my love and appreciation folder where I keep notes from anyone who has ever sent praise of me or my work
- Read something inspiring or encouraging. Cultivate Your Curiosity
- Exercise – anything to get me physically active
- Take time to get in touch with the bigger picture of my life and my work, think about the importance of what I’m doing and why. Passion Fuels Productivity
- Look at previous work I’ve done that I’m especially proud of
- Spend a short time doing something I love to do like photography
- Connect with someone I care about
- Take a walk out in nature or just sit in my garden
The list of ways to encourage myself is long. The problem is that when I’m discouraged and tired, the last thing I feel like is improving my state of mind. I only want to wallow in those feelings and veg out.
Doing so will keep me stuck, so instead I follow these 3 simple steps:
1. Recognize how I’m feeling. Experience how that feels in my body.
2. Decide that, since I don’t like those feelings, I’m going to change them. Making the decision to change your state of mind is the most important step in changing how you feel.
3. Take the necessary steps to do so, utilizing any of the methods listed above.
One key is to give yourself a set amount of time for this activity so you can move on to priming your pump once the timer rings. Otherwise, you may get trapped in the cycle of avoiding your work and putting yourself further behind.
If you find yourself feeling down on a regular basis and the above methods don’t help much, consider getting help for depression. You don’t have to suffer through this alone!
Are you feeling stuck because of creative fear? You might like my previous blog post: 3 Ways to Diminish Your Creative Fear
What are your methods? Please let me know in the comments section below.