Being an Independent Creative (1/4): It’s Tough

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s hard work. Being independent in any shape or form can be hard. it can be lonely. Even if you have people by your side in other aspects of your life being an independent creative can take it’s toll mentally and/or physically. It gets easier when you learn how to manage it and find what works for you, but even when you think you’ve got it nailed something around you or inside of you can change.

When you’re independent it can often mean that it’s just you; by this I mainly mean one person. You’re the one with the ideas, you’re the one with the passion that you want to pursue. Others around you can show support but you’re essentially running every job description listed on a large corporations payrole, this is why things may happen slowly and I guess why we have so much more time to overthink.

Thinking can have positive and negative effects. In one hand how would you be a creative without having the ability to think? In the other hand overthinking and over analysing can lead to a negative perspective about what you are doing. Is what I’m doing good enough? Who really cares? Why should I keep pursuing this?

I’m of that negative mindset right now. At the start of the year I set a goal to blog each week, but last week for some reason it just didn’t happen. I tried. I sat and I started typing, but each word I was typing seemed utterly pointless. Absolute garbage. I have deadlines to meet this year in more ways than one. Deadlines that could push my creativity career forward yet I have no motivation what so ever to get them done. No drive. I wonder why that is?

Sometimes no matter what goals you set, however detailed your plan is or however much passion you have about doing something, sometimes you simply just can’t be bothered. This isn’t procrastination, (I prefer to see procrastination as replacing your creative time with other tasks in order to put off the creative process) you simply just can’t be bothered to do anything. You have the time, you have the resources, you know what you need to do but you simply just can’t be bothered.

I discovered a new word the other day. Anhedonia. It’s a term used to describe the inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities (according to google); and it’s an interesting term. It’s heavily linked to depression. However I find it’s loose definition intriguing. It can have severe affects of literally not feeling anything emotionally or physically, but as google has defined it can simply mean that you don’t find pleasure in something you normally would. You may still find pleasure in other aspects of life, but perhaps one aspect has changed. Finding pleasure is often what drives the want and need to do it, and when you’re struggling to find pleasure, it’s hard to find the motivation to do it.

Sometimes it’s comforting to find a word that describes what you’re feeling, but it can also be disheartening as a realisation of what’s actually going on. The spiral that can lead on from there can be devastating; yet another pit of self loathing can be formed due to simply one aspect of life that in the grand scheme of things really isn’t your whole life, but at times it can feel that way. It can appear to be the centre of your being, the reason you’re put on this earth. It’s what you were chosen to do. Or is it?

What I’ve come to realise is that independence can often mean that things need to be put on the back-burner, even if they’re the most important to you in your life. Set it aside whilst you deal with everything else that is going on, as everything else accumulating may end up having a negative effect on what’s important, and that’s something we have to avoid at all costs.

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Planning Creativity (1/4): Be Successful and Productive

“…you cannot simply wait for the right mood or the right atmosphere”

As a creative it’s hard to imagine simply switching on and off the creativity button. In fact, this is the way the most successful creatives in the world achieve their success. In order to be a successful creative you cannot simply wait for the right mood or the right atmosphere; you cannot wait for that specific event to happen that leads to inspiration or that new piece of tech or gear to arrive at your door. We don’t actually need anything to be the creatives we hope to be, all that it takes is the ability to mentally and/or physically engage in the act of being creative, and by planning to do so, we enable ourselves to be ready.

“If we have a plan of when to be creative and how to be, then writers block will never have its chance to get in the way.”

If you plan to be creative then it’s simple; you will be creative. The only thing that will hold you back is yourself. We need to stop believing that writers block exists, and instead consider our discipline, our bad habits, procrastination, our lack of confidence, our laziness, our disorganisation and an abundance of many other things that can be thrown onto that pile. If we have a plan of when to be creative and how to be, then writers block will never have its chance to get in the way. By allowing such things to get in the way, we in turn loose our productivity as creatives, as by not planning to engage in the act, we won’t produce a single thing to be proud of.

“…the only terms in which success can be achieved are your own.”

Now I’m not saying that by making a plan and sticking to it that you’re going to become a new born creative overnight, but what I will say is that you will see vast improvements in productivity, and somewhere along the line you will become a successful creative. The definition of ‘success’ can be a very personal one, and the only terms in which success can be achieved are your own. It’s up to you to decide what success truly means.

“…by planning to practice our art the more creative and productive we will become.”

There’s a common phrase sung by many that “Practice makes perfect”, and although I don’t quite believe that anything can be perfect, practice will certainly help any creative to improve. Practice helps to improve our defined art in creativity, and I say art, as most creativity evolves around it. Many forms of art are the most common forms of creativity, and thus by planning to practice our art the more creative and productive we will become through learning and honing our skills.

“…it helps us to mentally and/or physically prepare for what needs to be done.”

By planning you will find it easier to be a productive creative, as you will know when you are expecting to be creative rather than hoping to be, and this is Why Planning Creativity Works, as it allows our brains to understand the tasks that lie before us, and it helps us to mentally and/or physically prepare for what needs to be done. Planning allows us to break down our goals of success into simpler tasks which will enable our creativity to thrive and become successful, by speeding up our workflow and increasing the amount of time we actually spend being creative.