The topic of motivation comes up a lot when your job is your hobby. There is a great argument for the need to keep work life and personal life separate, for the sake of your sanity and ability to relax. What do you do when your hobby becomes your way of earning a living, and your passion becomes a necessary daily thing. Does this make sitting down to work harder? If so in what way? Also, does working from home create problems with motivation levels when your are presented with oh-so many distractions?
I am hugely lucky to be able to paint as my passion and my job, however some days motivation is slightly harder to find. Here is what I do.
Go for a walk
Nature is soothing. When I began painting for a living I lived in an area built up of rows of terraced housing in a small city. Nature was hard to come by unless you ventured to the outskirts, which I could not do at the time. I knew of a park in the area but I had only ever walked passed the gates, I had barely ever looked inside. After venturing inside one day, I found it to be a huge arboretum, beautifully landscaped and very calming to walk around. This became my haven, whatever the weather I would walk around this park. I would do this walk mostly when I was feeling uninspired and finding motivation difficult to conjure. Bike rides along a nearby river also became my saviour. This time outside was both a break from working in my home environment, and a chance to get away from the work and think about it with a clear mind, returning with fresh eyes.
I never knew that such a great source of procrastination would soon became the push I needed to produce great work. There is so much amazing art on Pinterest. However art is not my main viewed content at all. Pinterest is a visual aladdin’s cave, being an app based around images it means that you can search for whatever your interests are, and make virtual cork boards, pinning your favourite photos. There are so many amazing creations from interior design perfection, to home hacks, to handmade crafts. The photography category is what draws me in in particular. I don’t just find inspiration from the art, but mostly from everything as a collective, seeing what people can do and create. It motivates me to make my own creations and do the things that my heart desires, rather than making excuses or standing back and watching others create. Don’t be that person who wishes they created something, or wishes they could do something but feel they don’t have the talent. Instead just give it a try. This is what I take from Pinterest. Other people’s effort in life inspires my own.
Obviously the same works for books, or whatever format you keep information or images that you find inspiring or fascinating.
Some days I know for sure what I want to listen to as I work, my mood dictates the background music as well as the flow of my work. However some days when I let a playlist run, or listen to something I have never heard before, this can then be what dictates the way my paintings turns out. For me, music isn’t the drive behind my work, it is a tool that makes me excited to sit down to work, and when utilised well it can make a big difference to my levels of motivation as I paint. I sometimes use music as a marker for how long I sit down to paint. (An album that lasts an hour, can mean an hour concentrating wholly on painting whilst it plays.)
This one sounds obvious. The trick to motivation is to make yourself WANT to do something. We as humans rarely do things that we really do not want to do. However, to do something, and do it well, we must WANT to do it! I love painting. Some days I would rather sit and scroll through my phone if my energy levels are low, but what helps me work on these days is remembering just how much I love painting. I know that the moment I actually physically sit down to paint, I will be fully enthused. It is rare that I do not enjoy painting. If all else fails, I know that by taking that first step of setting up my palette and picking up a paint brush, then all will be restored and ready to go! For this tip I advise to get the kettle on and force yourself to work for just ten minutes, you will find that this quickly turns into an hour, then another hour… Then another…
If you have any other techniques, let me know! If you would like to take this conversation over to The Art Collective (the Facebook group) then feel free to start a thread and see what others have to say!