There are ways I can stimulate creativity – work, think, engage with inspiration, give myself a challenge, or solve a problem.  Although the first four actions are self induced; solving a problem is often due to something outside my control (like how to save a kiln-load of over-fired pots).  Either way, these are a few things I can do to be more creative; but what makes me continue to work even when I don’t feel like it?

That my seem like an odd question since I love pottery and truly enjoy my studio time.  But I fight a fallen nature and I often battle the inclination to waste time on the net or piddle around the house rather than be productive in the studio.

Just like being creative takes work, working takes work.  So sometimes I need a little help getting focused and moving.  I need an external motivator; something to give me remind me about what I really want even when I don’t feel like it.  Like a runner who needs a race to motivate her to push a little harder, crafts shows are that for me.  Craft shows create a need for particular pots by a specific time which helps me keep working.

I know several potters for whom Christmas is the external motivator.  They have a list of gifts they want to make and give within a time frame.  And, I recently talked with a potter who told said her vacation motivated her to finish all of her work-in-progress.   She was surprised about how much she was able to get done before leaving.

External motivators help us to do the things that we want to do but seem to neglect.  There are lots of other external motivators for many areas of our lives.

  • You clean your house because your mom is coming for a visit
  • You begin to exercise because you have a wedding to attend
  • You organize your finances because you want to buy a house

The key is to identify external motivators and use them in healthy and balanced ways.  Everyone has had to pull an all-night study session which may have been productive but it isn’t a sustainable lifestyle.  Define what is important to you and find what keeps you aware of those things.  Incorporate external motivators into your life so you can accomplish what is truly valuable to you rather than passively letting time get away from you.