I’m not confident or motivated with my writing, and I’ve lost momentum



The Context

Inspiration can be a fickle mistress. Confidence can evaporate overnight. And momentum can be hard to reclaim once it's lost. Those variables of the creative equation are out of our control for the most part. But each artist can still raise their baseline to a more workable level. Specifically through the invaluable asset of their physical space. Have you ever read the official definition of the word space? There are about a dozen, but here's a good one. Space is the opportunity to assert and experience one's identity and needs freely. That's powerful.

The Tool

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SHELVING -- Converting your creative area into a progress rich environment that stimulates focus and buoys my spirits

Seeing concrete evidence of progress in front of your nose will make you more inclined to take further action. It stimulates focus. Remember, the goal of physical space is creating an opportunity to assert and experience your identity or needs freely. What better way to remind yourself who you are than looking at finished work that you're proud of? Doing so adds motivational value your creative practice that cannot be replicated any other way. Carlin's comedy mantra comes to mind. He used to say, keep kicking them in the nuts, keep putting things on the shelf. The first part related to surprising his audience with his newest work, and the second part related to inspiring himself with his past work. George famously printed out each of the manuscripts from his comedy specials, bound them in leather covers, and literally put them on the shelf in his office. That's how you use physical space as a creative weapon.

In my experience as an artist, viewing my workspace through this lens helps me overcome the uninspired and insecure and immobile moments. Converting my workspace into a progress rich environment stimulates focus and buoys my spirits each time I sit down to work. What about you? If you're struggling to move your work forward, my recommendation is to decorate your desk, walls and other surfaces with your past creative victories. Even if you're a minimalist who wants as little stuff around you as possible, it's still emotionally invigorating to surround yourself with evidence of your artistic achievements. It's good for the heart, mind and soul.

The Rest

The good news about shelving is, the work surrounding you doesn't have to be the greatest thing there ever was, it just has to be yours. As long as it reminds you that you have always made things before and you make things again, it's doing its job. How do your surroundings give you the opportunity to assert and experience your creative identity and needs freely?

The Benefits

  • More freely assert and experience your identity and needs
  • Raise your baseline of artistic worthiness to a more workable level
  • Overcome uninspired, insecure and immobile moments in the creative process
  • Emotionally reinvigorate yourself each time you sit down to work
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