I’ve invited people to ask me questions about my projects, process and whatever else they are curious about on my tumblr & twitter. I’ll be answering some of those questions here on my blog. Here’s the first one:
Where does your motivation come from? When you get a good idea are you ever worried someone else is already doing it? How do you keep going?
Sometimes, honestly, its hard to get motivated. Especially when there are lots of ‘life factors’ to deal with on a daily basis (working/finding jobs, wondering when I’ll do my laundry again, actually doing my laundry, trying to stay healthy, etc). I talked about this a bit in an interview with the Vessel Collective earlier this year. I try to prioritize the things that matter most to me and then make sure that the things that I’m doing reflect progress on my priorities. For instance, one of my priorities right now is to figure out how to sustain myself financially with my personal projects. I want to be able to work for myself and not work a 9-5 job. I want to work on projects that I care about and excite me. Anytime I’m not doing things that reinforce that, I’m cheating myself of what I want which makes the process take longer. I’m not saying that I spend all of my time working towards these goals, because I’m human and there are lots of days where I don’t make any progress at all which is where the next source of motivation kicks in: Guilt. When I’m not working towards my goals, I feel incredibly guilty. Maybe that’s because I was raised catholic. I continuously need to have self-motivating talks in my head. Or I write in my journal and reflect to remind myself of whats important to me. I also read A LOT of self-development and motivational/entrepreneurship books. Reading books like that energize me to stop wasting time and get to work!
Reading over that, it seems like I place a high priority on “work” but by “work” that means a lot of things. For example, I “work” on my health, so reminding myself to go to the Kickboxing gym and making sure I eat healthy meals and take my vitamins, etc are all included in that.
Sometimes its as simple as hearing an upbeat song to get me motivated. Or taking a power shower.
This may seem counter-productive, but I also dream a lot. I’m a visual person, so visualizing the possible outcomes of things helps to motivate me as well. Like if I work on a certain project and its successful then I can live the life I want to live. BUT I do have to make sure that I don’t spend all of my time dreaming. Otherwise, none of those dreams will come true.
To answer the part about being worried about someone else already doing an idea: Sometimes I get a ‘genius’ idea and get scared to type it into google to search if anyone is doing it. Not so much because of fear that someone else is doing it, but fear that no one is doing it and by typing it into google, google will know my idea! (Does that even make sense??!) But yeah, I will usually do some research to see whats out there that’s similar. If it turns out other people are doing it, I will try to figure out how I can make it different from what others are doing. I ask myself questions like “why do I want to do this? What makes it important to me? From my background and experiences, how can I put myself into it in a way that’s different from others? How can I make it relatable in a way that people will associate this idea/thing with my idea/project?” And then if I feel really strongly about the idea, I’ll pursue it. I’ll put my blinders on and not worry about how or what the ‘competition’ is doing. Sometimes its even possible to join forces with others who are doing the same thing. I think of it like this: We all had this idea and feel strongly enough to put it out into the world that we are working together to put this idea out there to reach as many people as possible because we believe in this idea so much. That also depends on what that idea/project is too I guess.
Some things just pull at you no matter how many people are doing it. There are definitely other people out there who take photos of broken umbrellas. When I started doing it, I knew that it wasn’t unique. I have a friend in San Francisco who takes photos of abandoned mattresses and the lovely chanteuse Mirah takes photos of yesterday’s bananas. But as much as I try to resist taking a photo of an umbrella when I see one, I just can’t. Something inside me screams “CAPTURE THAT UMBRELLA”. There have been times when I’ve walked past umbrellas saying “I don’t want to take anymore photos of umbrellas!” But then a few blocks later I just can’t get it out of my mind and I find myself back tracking to the umbrella. This happened recently and I ended up taking the umbrella home with me. It’s under the couch. I can’t wait for my roommates to find it and be like WTF?? haha
I guess maybe art is just an obsessive compulsion. I just can’t stop creating. I can’t stop appreciating the beauty in all the things I see. That in itself motivates me. It distracts me from feeling empty. It fulfills me in a way that makes me happy. And now that I think of it, that’s my number one priority: being happy.