By: Abby Anderson Jones
Hello! My name is Abby and I’m here to tell you that art is hard.
No matter what anyone tells you, that’s a fact.
I think the reason why art is hard is because it’s something that can’t be definitively pinned down and figured out.
Art can seem like it comes from a stroke of genius or a dream, something you can’t really control, but in my experience, it isn’t that random. Art is the line between having space in your mind to welcome new ideas and working diligently.
My road to realize the relationship of how art is made and the life of an artist or designer has been very long. It took relocating from Kalamazoo to Minneapolis and literally starting over to look at my work completely differently. I now let my life work in tandem with my creative practice.
Even after knowing that creative endeavors take a lifelong investment of time, the biggest obstacle remains to be motivation.
This struggle with motivation is what I want to talk about today!
Some days it is easy to wake up feeling invigorated to start the day, to grab that pencil, and to fire up that computer! Those days are the best! Then there are the days when nothing feels right, nothing comes together, and you’re left feeling blahhhhh. Times like these are when motivation feels very far away.
The seemingly illusive feeling of motivation can be cultivated with a few tips that I’ve learned in the past year, they are to…
Speak to yourself with respect.
The way you think about yourself and how you present yourself are directly related. When you tell yourself that you can do something, you are waaaay more likely to do it! As you are able to regularly think of yourself positively, you will believe it and so will everyone else in your life. The way I do this is through daily affirmations. I also write down and share my daily intention on my Instagram. Here’s a side note on bad days, because all of us have them: Be nice to yourself! When you have an off day, maybe a day where you watched more Netflix than originally planned, don’t tell yourself how much you messed up, for me, this has always resulted in a huge loss of motivation. Instead, recognize that you are a human and that you aren’t perfect. So let it go with grace.
Return to projects that are just for you.
This is the best way to fully engage in your work for others! When you are working on projects that fill your passions up to the brim, that will help you to focus on any other work that’s in front of you. I work on a couple of projects that are very dear to my heart and I honestly believe that they have made me a better artist, designer and person. One of these project is making cards for one person per week for a year called Drawn & Delivered.
Connect with a community that gets it.
Having friends that are going through similar things as you can be a great support system. If you are ever feeling lost, need an opinion, or a friend, a great community will be the best way to feel less alone. This feeling will help you strengthen your work and as a result, your motivation will soar through the roof. Having a community like the one Kalamadoodle fosters is the perfect example of this kind of support system.
How consistency works with motivation is like a chain reaction. When you are consistent with your practices, your motivation will continue. Motivation through consistency works best with any projects that are self initiated. This is because consistency will help you develop a strong work ethic and your craft at the same time. Motivation is the best bi-product of consistency.
How do you feel about motivation now? Does it feel more like something that you can practice and less like a trait that you are either born with or without? I hope these tips and my insight gave you some inspiration to keep trying and to love the process of trying as well.
Abby is a graphic designer, illustrator and beer lover. Originally from Michigan, she now lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She encourages everyone to live a balanced life and to celebrate the small stuff as often as possible.