Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lost the Desire to Work on Your Project? 5 Steps for Reigniting Your Creative Fire

I date all of my drawings and files. The last day I worked on my animatic was Feb. 22; before that, Feb. 2. That's a TWENTY DAY gap of work on what is supposed to be my life's passion.

What happened?

The fire of creative desire burned out.


The usual: self-doubt, self-criticism, feelings of being overwhelmed, etc.

But I reignited the fire. And if you find yourself in the same situation, here's what you can do to reignite yours:

1. Truthfully recognize how you're feeling
Your loss of interest in your project will probably manifest as a desire to do everything except work on your project. You'll find yourself cleaning, walking around your home pointlessly, reading, watching t.v. (this is a BIG one!) cooking, eating…like I said, EVERYTHING except drawing, animating or writing. You're not being lazy. You're not even really procrastinating. You're acting out a psychological block that's preventing you from putting your butt in your seat and cranking out your creations. So the first step is to recognize that your interest has waned. The second step is to NOT beat yourself up over it.

2. Go with how you're feeling…briefly
Initially, don't fight the feeling. It'll just make you feel worse about yourself, like you're neglecting your project. Instead, allow yourself to focus on—and even enjoy—the non-project activities you find yourself wanting to do. Your mind will appreciate the change and it could ultimately help your project. You'll be pleasantly surprised how you'll get new story and character ideas or will solve old storytelling problems when you're not as focused on it.

3. Immerse yourself in inspiration
Inundate yourself with those things that inspired you in the first place. For example, during the course of a four-day weekend, I watched three movies. Two in particular—"Social Network" and "Toy Story 3"—were exceptional. The third, "The American," was not as good but it had such beautiful scenery (Italy!) that I'm keeping the DVD to paint from it. Watching (good) movies reminds me why I love films so much, especially creating films and stories. 

Go to a museum…or look at museum collections online. Open up an art book and flip through it. Expose yourself to as much inspirational beauty you can find.

4. Meditate on your goal
Turn off the t.v.,  the music, the video games. Sit quietly with a pen and paper and meditate on your goal. Ask yourself, "Why am I doing this project? What about it appeals to me? Why do I think it's important to share this particular story with the world? And when can I realistically complete it?" Write down the answers to these questions so you can refer to them if you lose the fire again. Once you answer these questions, you'll find yourself reinvigorated. You'll be reminded of the reason for the passion you lost and it will return with a rush, smacking you in the head and pushing you back to work!

Once you've gone through all of these steps, you'll be ready to get back to work! Put aside all of the earlier distractions recognizing that working on your project is what you were meant to do. Pull out all of the tools and resources you need to get back to work. For example, I had to watch my animatic again to refamiliarize myself with what I'd done, it had been so long! It was fun to see what I had accomplished and what I'm intending to do in the future. 

Hopefully you'll have happen to you what happened to me: you'll fall in love all over again with your project…and it will feel GREAT!


  1. Wow Rochelle, that was just what I needed. I've been lagging on a current project and your post really pumped me up. Thank you.

  2. You're welcome, Raul! Glad I could help since your podcasts have been such an inspiration to me. I just have to remember this post myself the next time I lose my creative drive. :)