The Pressure to Create

I feel the happiest when I have a project that I’m continuously working on and I feel the most accomplished when what I’ve completed has had an impact on someone else as well as my personal growth. I’ve been lucky enough to have had creative opportunities through connections and people who have recognized the value in my work. And I’m incredibly thankful to have grown from these experiences. These projects are done during my free time and I find myself devoting full-energy into its completion. That’s how I know I’m passionate about the things that I do.

Between projects though, I sometimes struggle with pushing myself to produce new work, build new skills, or just to maintain productivity. I felt the most pressure from art classes in high school and college when students were required to produce a certain amount of artwork without any given requirements. For some, it’s really easy to create a new sketchbook entry everyday while others pick up a pencil and struggle with blank pages staring back at them (this is me). Sometimes, I’m in the mindset of always wanting to produce finished, shareable work that I stop myself from even starting something if I know it won’t go anywhere. I forget that ideas may start small and develop beautifully over time.

It’s not easy to be continuously inspired, but it is easy to continuously appreciate. I’m the type of person to come across a hand-drawn chalk sign on the side of the street and stop just to stare at it for a bit, not necessarily to read its content (unless it involves a deal on food), but to look at the way that it was drawn and to pick up hints as to how I could recreate my own. And then I would take a picture and add it to a folder on my phone of random signs, patterns, and designs that have struck a chord in my heart in some way.

Scroll through your Instagram feed, Pinterest, or whatever your favorite platform is, and soak up as much as you want. Expose yourself to everything you can and open your mind to learning new things. Ease the pressure to produce and let that motivation grow naturally on its own.

Just Be Your Own Idol

I recently finished reading the book #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. I definitely developed a new girl crush and found a new source of inspiration for kicking ass at life. There were so many mini-lessons that I took away – from the mantra, money looks better in your back than on your feet to helpful tips on what not to do when writing cover letters.

It made me confront little things that I was doing or thinking that was unnecessary to a healthy and happy mindset. The quote above was probably the most relatable. Sophia Amoruso became as successful as she is now in the least traditional way you would think of, and she maintains her success as well as NastyGal’s, by continuing to push for her uniqueness as a woman.

I don’t think I’m the only one that get’s easily caught up with what others are doing with their lives. It’s so easy nowadays to scroll through Instagram, see what we perceive as ‘perfect lives’ from others’ posts, and feel like you’re missing out on something. The Fear of Missing Out – it’s real. There are times where I’ve stalked lifestyle bloggers, designers, and mutual friends with this sort of obsessive quality, thinking that if I do this or that, I could be a little more like them. Then I think, why am I wasting my time doing this?

When it comes to artists that I’ve admired, I’ve been pretty heavy-handed in taking elements from their work to influence my own. It took me a while to understand  that it’s one thing to be ‘inspired’ by someone and it’s another to straight up copy, thinking that you’re only trying to emulate them. The line is hard to draw when it comes to originality. Imitation is not the highest form of flattery.

I’m still trying to strengthen my own skills and become a person that I’m proud of, but I’m definitely focusing my energy on myself. Nowadays, I spend time looking at other work to get a sense of how they do things or discover new ways of thinking to help develop my own ideas (and I have  a lot of those). There are so many young creatives out there that I find so cool and I admire endlessly. I want to use their careers as motivation to strengthen and empower my own, as well as others.