Here are just a few things I do to avoid sitting down in front of a blank piece of paper:
Scroll through my phone for the perfect picture to use as my source.
Decide I should organize these photos into folders right now so next time I don’t spend so much time scrolling and looking for “that photo I took 17 days ago.”
Yes, Apple, I am well aware that my cloud storage is full.
Go on a photo-deleting binge, but one at a time, because inefficiency is my patronus.
OMG GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, LEIGH ANN! You’re supposed to be “being creative.” [feel a slight breeze and hear the tinkle of nearby – yet nonexistent – wind chimes. Why is this my impression of unrestricted creativity? I have no idea. Go with it.]
Stare out window for 37.2 seconds.
Good grief, we need to trim those trees.
Let’s see what’s up on the ‘gram!
Like. Like. Like. Likelikelikelikelikelike.
Ooooh, this is good!
Wow, that’s really good.
Why is everyone better than me.
BECAUSE THEY DO THE WORK, LEIGH ANN.
So yeah. That is a journey I take myself on all too often.
If left up to my own devices, I will procrastinate and screw around for hours until all my precious free time is gone. I’ll scroll. I’ll look for inspiration. I’ll look for the right way to do it. But I find that I very rarely buckle down and get to work, a habit that frustrates me to no end, one that I’m desperately trying to break.
So in order to force myself into doing something creative, I find it’s helpful to make something for someone else.
It’s not always the most creative work. Sometimes it’s painting an ornament or most recently, creating a hand-painted sign for a friend’s birthday. But after I look at a few similar projects and get a general idea of what I want to do, I’m usually able to infuse my own spin on it.
I get the benefit of a) having a project goal, and b) having a set deadline. Sure, her birthday was in November, but that’s neither here nor there. I know I’ll see her on Christmas Eve, so there’s my self-imposed deadline.
And that person gets something that I poured my heart, my creative spirit, and my hard work into. When someone makes something just for you, they’re thinking of you – and only you – when they create it. (Okay, sometimes I’m thinking of what I’m going to have for dinner, but mostly I’m thinking about you.)
So when in creative doubt, make something for someone. Even better if you tell them about it so they can be like, “Hey, LEIGH ANN, where’s that thing you promised me, the one you said would be amazing?”