Let’s face it, staying motivated is hard. It seems there’s always someone better than you and that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be the best.
Take me for example. I love graphic design; so much so that I’ve devoted endless hours trying to perfect my work. I’ve spent nights alone with my laptop, tablet, and a cup of coffee trying to correct mistakes I’ve made and, usually, beating myself up over making those mistakes in the first place.
Sometimes, I’m surprised that I’m hired for my work; I mean, considering the millions of other graphic designers out there and how I feel at the very bottom of the totem pole. It’s easy to get thinking this way because, as you know, we’re usually our worst critics. Heck, if my colors contrast too much I mentally yell at myself for 30 minutes.
With so many people in the world practicing similar crafts as you, it’s easy to find yourself in the dreaded slump of stuckness. I find myself in this awful territory – I think of it as Mcdonald’s because I hate it, yet I’m always there – at least once with each project I take on. Usually it arrives completely out of my control and diminishes my initial inspiration into nothing but a distant memory.
If you’re someone who never loses inspiration in a project, that’s great! I admire you and your skill. However, I’m the type of person who loses inspiration quicker than you might assume is humanly possible. In those times, it’s hard to feel proud of the work I’ve produced because I begin to feel like it’s not worthwhile. When I find myself in one of these creative slumps, I do something I struggle with; I try to relax. I take a break and tell myself that working myself dry will do nothing but frustrate and anger me even more. I watch youtube videos of other people doing things they love, I take a shower, I eat; I take care of myself.
A few weeks ago, when making something for a client and tearing myself apart, I stepped away from my computer, grabbed my favorite takeout, and watched my favorite TV show. After an hour of self-care I was even more motivated than when I began the project.
I know it’s easy to beat yourself up when you lose inspiration or motivation in a project, believe me, I’ve been there. But I’m here to tell you that inspiration will soon strike again. Take a break and do your favorite activity and I guarantee that you’ll feel better than you did before you started. Even though you probably don’t feel it at the time, you’re great and you’re doing this work because you’re good at it, try to see this. I know it’s hard and I know that nine times out of ten you won’t feel proud of yourself, but you should. You’re doing something other people dream of. Keep on working and try to be proud of your work; you’ve got this!
Ashten Roy is a lover of graphic design, modern calligraphy, and writing. As a college student, she is trying to navigate the overwhelming world of adulthood while maintaining her obsession with Captain America. She currently resides in Hammond, Louisiana.