7 ways to find motivation blog cover
Art Tip,  Life

7 Ways to Find Motivation

It’s been a weird year.  If you’re anything like me you’ve had moments where you’ve lost your inspiration and motivation at times.  I thought I would share some of the ways that I regain my motivation to create when I find that it has slipped away. 

Get Outside

Get outside.  Go for a walk.  Change your surroundings.  Some of my best ideas come to me when I step away and put myself in a different environment.  A 30 minute walk can do wonders when I’m stuck while brainstorming a project or trying to find the perfect wording.  (Bonus points if you have a notebook or sketchbook with you to record the ideas before you get back home and forget).

Photo of Taughannock Falls Gorge Trail in autumn by Laura Jaen Smith.

Join a Challenge

I find it helpful to have some outside accountability when I’m not feeling motivated.  Online challenges such as the 100 Day Project and Inktober have been helpful for me to keep moving forward and practicing.  There’s all sorts of art challenges out there every month that you can jump in on, OR you can create your own like I did in August by painting an ornament a day.  For me personally, it helps if I make the challenge composed of small daily actions.  

Look at Art that Inspires You

Sometimes it’s helpful to look at other artists’ work to find something that motivates you.  Going to a gallery or viewing public art can be inspiring.  You can also search online (or at the library/bookstore) for your favorite historical or contemporary artists, art movements, or a specific type of theme for starting points.

Take note of the type of qualities you’re drawn to in the work.  What parts do you find most interesting?  What kind of feeling do you get when you view it?  Are their specific colors or shapes that catch your eye?  If you find yourself starting to fall into a comparison trap, it’s time to stop and move on to a different strategy.

Photo of entrance to Monet: Impressionist Revolution exhibition at Albright-Knox Art Gallery Buffalo NY by Laura Jaen Smith.

Play with a Different Medium or Style

Sometimes if I’m not feeling motivated, it means that I’m not excited by whatever I’ve been working on.  Trying a different medium, style, or subject matter can help to refresh my mind.  I also could learn a new skill or technique that I can apply back into my typical work.  It’s fun to play with art and try something new.  Maybe there’s a class at a local library where you can be introduced to a new medium outside your comfort zone. 

Read a Book/Listen to a Podcast/Watch a Motivational Video

Listening to other perspectives and learning something new can be helpful to find inspiration.  I like to read books and articles, listen to podcasts, and watch motivational or educational YouTube videos.  

Our local library in Elmira has a great section of art related books to browse for ideas and inspiration.  If you’re not local, it’s likely that your library or local bookstore has art and hobby sections also.  I recently started the Artist’s Way, which I keep hearing good things about.  For articles I like to browse the Abundant Artist and Artwork Archive.

Podcasts I’ve enjoyed lately are Brene Brown Unlocking Us, She Means Business Show, and Overdue.  I recently found out that TED has a podcast too, so I’m planning on checking out more of those episodes. 

My favorite videos are educational ones on Jerry’s Artarama’s facebook page (they have a weekly series called Jerry’s Live) and YouTube videos by Carrie Green of the Female Entrepreneur Association. 

Chat with Other Artists

Normally this would look like going to opening receptions and local monthly art walks.  While things are starting to open back up in the art world from the pandemic, I’ve been focusing more on keeping up and networking online.  

City Street by Laura Jaen Smith. Square acrylic landscape painting of downtown Corning NY

Take a Day Off

The life of an artist and entrepreneur usually means that you’re constantly brainstorming or doing something related to art or business.  Maybe it’s time to take a day off.  Watch a movie.  Listen to Music.  Go out.  Do something completely unrelated to your art.  Enjoy the day and refresh yourself.  

I hope these tips helped!

What do you do when you’re not feeling motivated?  A favorite place to go?  Artist you admire?  Thing to listen/watch/read?  I’d love to know!

Leave a Reply