How to Get the Most Out of Your Creative Work

creative space“Creative work” has always seemed like an oxymoron to me. There is a fine line between solely going with the flow, and trying to wrangle out creative ideas on a regimented schedule.  Making visual art or music has to come naturally to me, or it seems too forced and we can often tell when ideas don’t arrive organically. Something that helps me pump out creative work on a regular basis is making sure the conditions of my environment are conductive for creative thought.

Five Tips on How to Do it::

  • Get organized
It’s not necessary to have a big mess in order to be a creative type, often times our mess works against us and our flow.  Having supplies stocked, tools where you can find them, and a dedicated space or surface to create your art helps you go right into your flow without having to look through everything every time you need to find something.
  • Make it inviting / inspiring
Make your creative space a place you want to be in.  I personally love multicolored changing lights to put me in the zone, and a bulletin board on the wall for snippits of favorite images or sketches of upcoming series.  Decorate your walls with art by your favorite artists or designers, or with art you make yourself.  Having visual cues around you to remind you of your vision and goals will help create an inspiring atmosphere.
  • Take Care of Yourself
This seems like it shouldn’t need to be said, right? But you’d be surprised how many aspiring creative people, myself included, that take this area of life for granted.  All that stuff you need to do for regular life maintenance, really needs to get done. This includes household chores, eating well, exercising, drinking water, and getting enough sleep, also throw in some relaxation time and bubble baths or meditation. Keeping all of the basics in check will help you create an environment conductive to productivity and keeping your mind clear and ready to create!
  • Dedicate Yourself and Your Time
Have set blocks of time that you can dedicate yourself to achieving your goals.  Do whatever it takes to follow through.  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you if necessary.  I like to have ongoing lists of the next small steps I need to take to get achieve my goals, that way when I am getting back to my creative zone, I know exactly what needs to be done and very little time is spent wondering what to do next.
  • Perfection is Not the Goal
Perfectionism is a great way to never finish anything. Aim for your “personal best” instead.  I like to make something as best that I possibly can, but at some point you just have to stop and the piece has to be completed. Knowing when something is “done” can be one of the hardest things to learn, but if you know that you’ve given it your best there isn’t anything else you can do. Plus, your “best” will become better with time and practice.

Using Your Day Job to Your Advantage

workspaceStuck at a desk all day, no window, tiny cubicle, I know firsthand as a creative person with ideas of entrepreneurship how excruciating it can be.  There are the projects at home waiting for me, the blocks of wood to carve, the prints to produce, the music to record, the album art to make, the freelance logo design to complete, the list goes on and on…how will I make it through the day? Well, this is when patience becomes one of your most useful tools and also keeping in mind that your job can be your greatest asset to help get your start up off the ground.

Let’s face it, it takes money to make money, having a full time job for a while and saving whatever you can to put towards your business idea can be your greatest asset.  Just because you have a great idea and a business plan that you know can work doesn’t mean you should quit your job immediately.  Have a plan, know where you’re going, know your numbers.  How much will you need to save up in order to keep your business running for three to six months, for a year?  In the meantime, read the below tips to help put your best foot forward on your entrepreneurial journey.

Three Main Tips::

  • Make Lists.

Use any spare moments that you may have at your workplace to write down things that need to get done, and what evenings or weekends you think you will be able to achieve which project.  As someone with multiple projects going on at any given moment in time, it’s important for me to really plan out what I’m doing each day and knowing what direction I’m heading in. Jotting down ideas when I get them or remember that there’s something I need to do, keeps my mind clear of them while I’m working, which then allows me to focus and give my full attention to my day job.

  • Take Breaks.

Take time during the day to stretch and clear your mind.  It can be stressful holding down a full time job while having creative projects in the back of your mind, but taking a few moments to yourself to take a quick walk or get some fresh air will help keep you centered and your mind focused on the task at hand.

  • Stay Flexible.

Even if you’ve planned to do something for a certain project, there may be times when other projects have a more time sensitive task that needs to get done that requires you to put off other things for a little while to focus on just that.  Being able to redirect focus consistently without turning to procrastination is an important skill to develop.  In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  The skill that you were working on yesterday may not be the service that a client is requesting tomorrow.  Staying polished and informed in all of your skillsets (and you should have more than one) will be the most beneficial to your personal success.