So Close….

After Christmas, the temptation is strong to just coast to the New Year. It’s still the holiday season and there’s no need to do any real work (as a creative) between now and then. Is there?

Yes and no.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Yes.

The hard push is done. Holiday orders and commissions have been sent and received. There is still work to be done, but the stressful part is done. It won’t hurt anything to let a few things slide.

No.

Do you really want to be playing catch-up when January gets here? Or do you want to have as much of 2018s work done as possible so you can start on 2019s goals?

(Notice I didn’t say resolutions. We’ll talk about that difference later on.)

If you watch Evan Carmichael on YouTube or follow him on Instagram any at all, you know he’s a major advocate for starting today. Start now. Start where you’re at.

Once upon a time ago, I would have been in the “let it slide” camp. Not anymore. Let’s all promise ourselves to start NOW.

Question of the day: What are YOU starting?

Motivational Ideas

Since I mentioned the difficulty I was having with “just not feeling it” yesterday, I thought I would share a few motivational ideas with you.

Once I got started, I wrote about 1,400 words. I credit it to a couple things.
1. BICHOK – Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.
2. Productivity music. I mentioned Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel yesterday, but he has a couple music playlists: #EntVibes and Productive Music for Work. I listen to them both frequently. Neither one is better than the other, in my experience.

Something else that helps, but I (admittedly) don’t do very often is going for a walk. It doesn’t have to be very far, but be safe.

Doodle/draw/sketch. It doesn’t matter what you want to call it.

Watch the sunrise or sunset.

Take the cliched advice to stop and smell the roses (or whatever flower you prefer).

Sometimes it doesn’t really matter what we do as long as we do something. We can only do so much before we have to do some self-care and refill our well. With as much as I talk about the importance of creativity in everyday life, I don’t often remind you that it’s not an unending supply. You have to do things to refill your well. These are just a few.

Happy creating.

Some Days, I’m Just Not Feeling It

Today is one of them.

I feel about as motivated and useful as the old tires in this picture. There are many reasons for this that I won’t get into here.

I’ve thought about opening my novel file and making myself write anyway. Is there any use in that?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

I’m really just not feeling it.

I’m not going to force anything. So here’s what I am going to do. I’m going to reread what I wrote yesterday. Then I will see if anything comes to me then. If not, I’ll call it done and go do something else. But, even though I’m not “feeling it,” I have to at least put forth some type of effort.

The fact that I’m doing this blog post right now is actually a positive indicator.

I have some productivity music on (courtesy of Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel). That usually helps. And that brings up a question.

If you’re having a day where you just don’t feel like doing whatever needs to be done (except for paid work – that’s different), what do you do to get yourself motivated to do it anyway?

Happy creating.

Is It Better to Work in Silence or With Background Noise?

There was a time that I would say it is better to work with some background noise. Hands-down. I thought I got more done and it felt kind of more like an office-with-coworkers environment. I typically had the TV on Food Network. It wasn’t ever up loud, but enough that I knew there was something going on.

Sometimes I would work with music and often found myself singing along. Obviously that wasn’t very conducive to getting anything done.

Then the cable company made some changes and we could no longer get cable through just the TV connection and had to have a box. When we moved here, I misplaced my box, so I was basically forced to work in silence. (I have since found the cable box but still have not yet hooked it up.)

I was surprised at how much more I got done. I was surprised to notice that my creativity had apparently been dulled by the background noise. I had effectively made it where I couldn’t hear myself.

That’s not a good position to be in.

I’m torn. I don’t know if I want to connect the cable box or not. I’m afraid it would mean reverting back to bad habits. (At the same time, though, I miss Food Network.) Now, the lack of TV does not mean I always work in silence. I’ve found Evan Carmichael on YouTube and his productivity music playlists. They’re mostly dance music with little-to-no lyrics. When I have a lot of stuff to do and I really don’t want to do it or I have a short time to work, I turn on one of those videos. (They’re about an hour and a half each.) One day, I got more done than I thought possible.

I don’t listen to the music a lot, but I have discovered it can be an effective tool for getting me in the mood/mindset to get things done.

What do you think? Do you work better in silence or with background noise?