Staying Motivated

paper mache  brown paper

It’s safe to say that I am goal oriented almost to a fault. I love the sense of accomplishment that I get from checking something off my list, big or small. Setting goals is how I stay motivated.

However, setting and reaching goals is kind of like sprinting. Freelancing is more like marathon running. (I would imagine – I am basically the furthest thing from a runner.) In order to freelance, you have to keep up almost superhuman levels of motivation. Not only do I have to complete client work, which takes its own special kind of discipline, I also have to try to stay two steps ahead of myself. I’m always updating my blog, re-designing my website, thinking up side projects, refining my shop – basically doing things that take an enormous amount of time and energy, and only incremental rewards. For example: Getting comments on my blog is rewarding for me because I like to connect with people, and that’s why I blog. I don’t get a ton of comments, but if I keep blogging, maybe I will sometime in the future. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated to keep blogging when I feel like I’m just talking to myself, but I have to start somewhere.

Honestly, my motivation has been flagging lately. I hesitate to write about this again, because I feel like it’s a sign that I am a terrible designer for not loving what I do all the time. But even though I knew that it would take me a long time to reach my goal of being what I define as a successful freelancer, the reality of that is setting in. Some days it feels like I will never get there. Even though I’ve made a lot of progress from last July, I still have a discouragingly long way to go.

I’m not complaining. I know what I signed up for when I decided to do this. It’s more.. The excitement of this being a new venture has worn off, and I’m trying to figure out how to keep up that fire without completely burning out. So I’ve been doing some different stuff lately. Yesterday, I moved all the furniture around in my apartment. I’m probably going to paint a lot of walls soon. I’ve been reading whenever I can. (Which is probably one of the most inspiring things I can do.) I’ve started watching more documentaries, because they make me think about things I might not have ever known about otherwise. Most of all, I’m giving myself a break. Last week was an off week. This week will be better. If I’m in it for the long haul, isn’t that what really counts?

  • Snuggums

    What you are experiencing is COMPLETELY normal. Its like any new relationship- the infatuation wears off only to be replaced by something stronger and more lasting. It can take some time for that to settle in but it will be there.

    Just keep creating… You are really really good at it!

  • Rachel

    I totally feel you on this. It’s hard to stay so dedicated to the same thing, day after day, no matter how much you love it! I think that all of those side activities you are doing are a great idea – they’ll help you escape tunnel vision, and who knows which ones will spark inspiration?

    Also, side note: I usually read this on my Google Reader, so I forgot what the actual design of your blog is, and I just wanted you let you know that I love your header! Keep up the good work, I enjoy your blog.

    • lovecitron

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Rachel! I agree, it’s hard to take the time to do things that DON’T exactly relate to my goal, but since I’ve forced myself to make time, I’m already way more motivated.

  • Nathan

    You were probably just pronouncing Papier-mâché wrong. I just learned that Papier-mâché is french for chewed paper, so you may have skipped that step.