Career

How to stay inspired and finally finish that project

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A lot of people struggle with finishing things. Maybe you started a scrapbook of your college years, and you couldn’t get past your second year. Maybe you started writing that book that you’ve been meaning to write, but you stopped after a few thousand words. Or maybe you’re just having trouble staying inspired for your Instagram, a project that will never be finished.

Finishing things and staying inspired go hand in hand. Maybe that’s why we have so much trouble finishing things – we can’t stay inspired long enough to work through our projects. With the internet, it’s hard to stay inspired when you get distracted every few minutes. We may be surrounded by photos and images, but when those photos come with comments and likes and tags, it’s easy to get side-tracked. More than that, it’s easy to get discouraged by all the amazing art and creativity that’s already out in the world. I’m here to tell you right now, your project is worth it. In order to help you finish that project, here’s how to stay inspired!

Watch videos that relate to creativity

Whenever I get stuck when working on a project, I seek out videos. If you can find videos about your specific project, like scrapbooking or novel writing or whatever, watch those. However, if you need more of a creativity boost, just find more videos on art and inspiration. Reading about creativity is great, but sometimes it’s nice to watch a five minute video where someone talks to you about making things. It’s a great way to get motivated because it feels like you’re listening to a friend talk to you!

Make a playlist

Music can pump you up at the gym, but it also works for staying inspired! You could find a pre-made playlist from Spotify to get you inspired, but I find it more helpful to create my own unique playlist. This playlist could include music that relates to your project or it could just be music that gets you in the creative mindset. Play around with different genres and artists, and you’ll make yourself more excited to get to work!

Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you’re creative and you haven’t read Big Magic, what are you doing? Written by the author of Eat, Pray, Love, this is a fantastic non-fiction book about making art and being creative. Gilbert focuses a lot on writing because she’s an author, but there are so many great nuggets of inspiration about other things. If you don’t have time to sit down and read, consider getting the audiobook! It’s a great thing to listen to when you’re commuting or going on a run.

Create a Pinterest board for your project

This works for just about any creative endeavor. I know we all love Pinterest, especially creative people, but try being more specific in using it for your project. Add photos of ideas and color palettes and quotes. If you’re writing a book, try creating a mood board or a character aesthetic board. If you’re trying to redo rooms in your house, be intentional about what you’re pinning rather than just pinning your unrealistic dreams. You’ll be inspired to get back to work and hopefully stay inspired!

Clean something

I know this seems weird, but I find cleaning extremely inspirational. Whenever I get stuck on something, I make sure my work area is clean. If your desk is clean, then maybe try cleaning other areas of your room or your house. Cleaning is a great activity to make you think about your project while also giving you some distance from it. Plus, if you come out with a clean house, you’ll have less excuses to leave your project unfinished!

Make discipline your inspiration

We may be talking about staying inspired, but the sure way to finish your project is to make discipline your inspiration. You can’t always count on the muse to show up when you need to work. By disciplining yourself and forcing yourself to finish your project, inspiration or not, you may find yourself inspired unintentionally! More than that, by making yourself finish something, you may find that you’re inspired to start something new when you’re done.

Jenna is a contributor for 301 Digital Media in Nashville, TN. When she isn't reading or taking photos, she makes YouTube videos about her life. Follow her online @jennaclarek