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How to Keep Your Creative Inertia Going

Creative Inertia: the tendency of a creator at work to stay at work unless allowing an outside force to act upon them.

Do you notice that when you decide to do something and you really have the self-discipline to do it regularly, you gain esteem from it? Same goes with the things you decide NOT to do. An example of ‘Not to do’: I got 3 friends who decided to quit smoking. Two of them quit cold turkey while the other one wanted to do it gradually. The result? The two guys kicked the habit and the one who did it his own pace is still a smoker. I wonder why the ones who quit cold turkey are more successful. Then I read somewhere that it must be because they gain esteem from having self-discipline. They gain self-respect because they quit the habit “just like that” and they want the praises they get and they want to maintain that kind of feeling- that success. It’s as if they’re wearing a badge and they want to keep wearing it so they would keep their record.

I’ve been into painting but I do not do it much often- just every once in a while whenever I feel like it. I was also a bit intimidated and scared that I would fail at something that I love to do. And then one day I saw this 30-day challenge vide by Mike Cutts. 

What the video is about:

In May of 2009, Matt decided to walk at least 10,000 steps a day for 30 days. He was happy with the results, so he followed that exercise by giving up television for 30 days.

He now tries something new every 30 days. The challenges so far have included biking to work, not using Microsoft software, not using Twitter, not using an iPhone, not responding to any external e-mail (that is, e-mail outside of Google), not having caffeine, not having sugar, meditating 15 minutes a day, reading the Bible, reading 15 books (he only made it 12), using only cloud-based software, taking one photo a day, writing a novel, getting his finances in order, and learning a new word every day.

I thought it’s impossible for me to paint every single day so I started with twice a week. I promised myself that, no matter what happens, I will make 2 artworks every week. No. Matter. What. It’s almost a month since I made that promise and yes, I have 8 paintings here in my room. You should try it, too. Read a book, run, swim, whatever at least twice a week. Much better if you can do it daily. Then you’ll gain confidence. Then you’ll slowly become a doer, not just a dreamer and not just an observer.

Here are some more ways to become a “doer”, and not just a dreamer:

Do not wait for inspiration. Waiting for inspiration to visit is like waiting for ‘the one’- it’s a waste of time and opportunity. If you’re a writer, devote at least 2 hours everyday to writing. Just sit down and write. And do this every single day. If you’re a filmmaker, get your camera and start capturing stories on the street or write one sequence a week. If you’re creative, you’ll get inspiration from anything.

Wake up early. The man who wakes up at 5 am has a 5-hour advantage from those who wake up at 10 am. Waking up early also reduces stress since you won’t have the feeling that you’re always in a rush.

You don’t have to finish one thing before starting another. Realize that prolific people don’t always have a shortened creative cycle; they often just have more creative cycles going on simultaneously. [Zen Habits]

Be healthy.  One author said that artists are already unhealthy on the inside (emotional, lots of things going on internally), that’s why there is a need to take care of the outside in order to be productive. You don’t have to chug down 20 bottles of beer in order to squeeze out your creative juices. You don’t have to smoke 2 packs a day in order to get more ideas. This is very important if you want to create more.

Don’t let one (or 100) mediocre outputs  stop you. I used to stop writing or painting when I get disappointed with my works. And it takes many months, even years, before I get enough motivation to begin again. Then I started to develop the mindset that everything is just a game. That I should just enjoy doing the things I’m passionate about instead of stressing too much on creating a masterpiece that everyone will talk about. All winners start at the bottom. What separates them from the rest is that they never stop.

Do whatever it takes to make sure that your creative inertia doesn’t die. Require small outputs from yourself on a frequent basis and make artistic production a habit. What other techniques and tips do you have? Share below!


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