Inspiration strikes

One of the hardest things about being a creative professional is that there is an expectation to be constantly inspired. But often life throws a wrench or two in the mix, and suddenly those creative juices aren't flowing. You're stuck in a job you hate, you're staring at a blank page and can't think of a mark to make, or your clients are jumping down your throat or butchering your work. Whatever it is (and most of us have been in at least one if not all of those situations), you're struggling to find the drive to create again.

I'll do my best to help. Here are some things that got me through some rough design patches in the past. I promise, they will make you happier. 

1. The Holstee Manifesto. Yes, this is hanging on my wall. Complacency and fear have never led to better things, only continuation of the status quo. So please, go enjoy the heck out of life, and take some risks. 


2. Neil Gaiman's commencement speech at the University of the Arts in 2012. It's warm-hearted, humorous, and encouraging. 

3. The Great Discontent is a journal of interviews focusing on creativity, risk, and what connects us as artists. Ryan and Tina Essmaker started TGD for inspiration—for themselves and others. Some of my favorite articles include interviews with Ike Edeani (architect turned photographer), Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swissmiss, creator of Tattly, Studiomates and Teux Deux), Dana Tanamachi (chalk letterer), Karl Kwasny (illustrator), Cheryl Strayed (writer, author of "Dear Sugar/Tiny Beautiful Things" and "Wild) , Brian Dettmer (book sculptor), Seth Godin (entrepreneur and author of "Purple Cow"), and Jeffrey Zeldman (godfather of web standards and creator of A List Apart and Happy Cog).

4. This quote:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
— Ira Glass

Now go forth and be creative. Love, C.