1) Fix Your Space
This one should be obvious. Keep your work area clean and organized at a bare minimum. The less clutter, the less distractions. If you’ve got a lot of supplies, get some shelves so they’re out of the way, or get one of those multi-tiered carts with wheels.
The less obvious advice to actually keep your room decorated in a style that is appealing and inspiring to you. Make it a place you’re proud of, that you actually want to spend significant amounts of time in. Get some wall art or make your own. Get some cool mood lights, etc. Invest in your space.
2) Don’t Worry About Failing or Perfection
You have to make the garbage before you make your masterpiece. Not everyone’s going to like your stuff and that’s okay. As long as you like it, then the piece of art has served it’s purpose.
Don’t worry if it sucks, seriously. Even my garbage drafts had nuggets of gold that I borrow from. Even my crud paintings can be saved with the help editing. My unfinished novels from my teens might not have been the best, but looking back I wished I had finished them. They’re like a time capsule, so even if they’re worthless to everyone else, you’ll still get enjoyment out of them.
3) Learn to Steal
As an avid watcher of Cooking TV, I can’t even tell you how many shows are about some celebrity chef going to some foreign country to learn the local cuisine and then take it back. If these rich professionals are stealing culinary secrets from rural peasants then it must be okay right??? (Seriously… though, wtf).
But really, it’s fine. Add a sprinkle of cardamom and crushed pistachios to ice cream and suddenly you’re a gourmet. There’s a difference between stealing and copying. Stealing is to make it yours and copying is… copying.
4) Get Your Health in Order
I have this thing where if I eat junk food I get a lot of phlegm and a runny nose (TMI I know), but it’s hard to concentrate on your work when you’re constantly blowing your nose. Overeating is also bad. Nothing makes you less likely to work than when your blood sugar crashes and you’re feeling bloated and lethargic.
Eat a clean diet and exercise. It’s hard to work when you can’t sit for longer than a few hours because of lower back pain, or if you get constant headaches or other minor pains. It’ll give you the stamina and vigor you need to finish these long projects.
Oh, and don’t forget to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, refer to above. Eat clean and exercise. Seriously.
I don’t care if it’s crap. I don’t care if it’s not perfect. Finish the dang thing. Give yourself a deadline and publish it no matter what. You’ve got to get into the momentum of pushing work out.
Besides, in my opinion, it’s better for artwork to seem unfinished rather than overdone. Take movies for example. I’d rather leave the movie theater feeling like the director could’ve pushed it a little further rather than leave after some three and a half hour monstrosity of overindulgent scenes that add nothing except unnecessary bulk. I’d rather read a short and sparse novel than a hideously long one filled with page after page of purple prose.
Readers: Which one of these do you struggle with the most?