Monday, May 3, 2010

In search of Motivation

Once a month, members of the EtsyMetal team are asked a question and then requested to blog about it simultaneously. This month's question is:
What motivates you to create?

In a down market when things are not selling well?
When you are tired?
When life makes you busy?

Normally my answer would be: I am motivated by looming deadlines. Give me 6 months to do a project and I will procrastinate until the last month...then I will crank it out. However, this blog carnival question could not have come at a more poignant time for me.
Because, currently, I don't have the answer.

To be brutally honest, I have had little to no motivation lately. It's not that I don't have ideas or inspirations....I probably have too many ideas. I even have looming deadlines...not as many as I'd like, but I have some. But the general desire to work in my studio has been seriously lacking lately. There are many reasons I can attribute to my "funk."
  1. Working alone is hard. I have always worked better when there is someone else in my studio. I have been w/out employees for two years now and the solitude is taking hold. Loneliness is bad for motivation.
  2. Not selling / not having a lot of deadlines is bad for the ego. I constantly am asking myself, why am I not selling while designer X is? Why am I not more successful? Self doubt is bad for motivation.
  3. Making designs that are 12 years old is tiresome. I design new work every year. But sometimes it seems that the old designs are the best sellers and I am bored. Boredom is bad for motivation.
  4. Wearing too many hats can cause a headache. There are many jobs involved in running a business.....designer, bench jeweler, marketer, sales person, bookkeeper, etc. I enjoy all these jobs (well, not the bookkeeping part) but I find the balancing act difficult. When I feel overwhelmed I tend to shut down. Lack of balance leads to lack of motivation.
  5. Distractions abound! There are so many things that are competing for our attention. In my case, my beloved MacBook is my major distraction. Twitter, facebook, blogs, metal and business forums, etc. Most of my computer distractions are indeed business related...but it all goes back to that balance issue. Being too "plugged-in" is bad for studio motivation.
I could continue to list reasons why I am having a hard time getting into the studio, but enough with the excuses. What I need are solutions.

So, now that I have confessed my recent lack of motivation, hopefully it will shame me to get back into the groove. I am going to try to do the following:
  1. Set a timer while on the computer. I will try to limit my online distractions.
  2. Clean my clutter. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my bench and office is a mess. Perhaps if I cleaned up a bit and rearranged the furniture, the studio will feel fresh. Maybe the studio won't seem like a lonely place, but the creative space that it should be.
  3. Create a job schedule. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the hats I have wear, I will try to break all the duties down to certain days of the week or month.
  4. Lose the "grass is greener" attitude. This one will be very hard. Being envious of the success of others and having self doubt is a part of many artists' sensibilities. Perhaps I need to focus more on me and less on them or simply find inspiration in the success of others.
Okay, wish me luck. I will keep you updated. Here I go....into the studio.....

Please read the Motivation tricks of other Etsymetal members. Follow the links to their blogs:
Ann Hartley / hartleystudio
Beth Cyr
Brooke Medllin
Maria Whetman / fluxplay
Nina Gibson
Stacey Hansen
Victoria Takahashi / Experimetal


Ann Hartley said...

Here I thought you would have all the answers! It's a comfort to know that we all feel the same way at one time or another. When you do come up with the answer, will you let me know? :)

pamela said...

I would hafta say #2 is my greatest problem. I refuse to make a production line, so out goes the boredom. I would like to mention that there's nothing super interesting going on. Now that every hollywood person can create a line at QVC, everything you see is usually crap, thats not helping any either.

Victoria Takahashi said...

ohh bethy!
I relate, I hear you.
I think you are absolutely correct about the unplugging. I have your same sentiments. I think with our current situation with selling online is a new beast for us all as we travel along this new venue.
I fear it may be settling in now and taking its toll. I think you are correct in finding new organizational tools in re-organizing the way to do things, considering. I too want to make a schedule of sorts. I think this may be the magic answer!
but now we have to deal with the "self-discipline monster!?"

and how ironic is it that I am sitting here readind online the etsymetal member blog carnivals instead of getting in the studio and working on all the new ideas i want to do, um, yah...

Bethy I think your onto something with the schedule idea :)
now how to also stick to one!?

Victoria Takahashi said...

I thought I was reading Beth's blog!
hee hee hee....
(too many windows open!)

Beth Cyr said...

4 and 5 make it hard for me too! oh the computer... the problem that it IS work most of the time makes it even more difficult.

there used to be a couple of sellers i was really envious of - any time I would look at their shop, I would get really upset and sometimes stew for hours. I finally got over it by realizing I wouldn't be happier if my life was just like theirs - even if the number of sales they have is what I want, I wouldn't want to be doing what they do. Not to mention that YOU are the greener for loads of sellers who wish they could do what you do.

GloamingDesigns said...

just found this post through Crafting an MBA and it's so true - all of it!

I've found that i do best when i make myself schedules that are really precise: breakfast, emails, dress,...etc. It may sound anal but because it's so contrary to my nature that it works. Whenever i get distracted by a new blog post or lost in a land of internet clicking, i can snap back, look at the list, and get back on track.

but the working alone - still haven't figured out a cure for that one!

Gemstone Jewelry said...

my name is jack.i am from usa.i search your blog by google.I read it.i think great work by you on this should write a book on jewelry.i will be the first buyer of your book,

Beadware said...

I stumbled onto your blog by clicking next blog at the top of my own. It is reassuring to me to read this post as I face many of the exact struggles in trying to create. Lately I feel like all my energies are focused on marketing with little left for creativity. I may try the computer timer idea tomorrow! Best of luck.

Zazu Ta said...

Thank god someone said it!!


I have been struggling for a year now. I lost all the shops that had been buying my jewelery last year. This year has been really hard.
Also, the irony in my life is that I introduced my mom to the world of jewelery making... and now she's reaping more rewards than I have the whole year. lol
initially it was a bit depressing .. but now we work together and split the profits. I am happy I could help someone else find their niche.
And thank you so much for your post. It's a chore just to step into the studio on most days. :(