Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Indulge Creatively By Working On a Mini-Project

I love chocolate, cookies, and cake. Why? Well, besides the fact that they’re sweet and tasty, they’re not exactly like regular meal food. Everytime I have a sweet treat, it’s something special.
Some Photoshop Practice While Working on Wings

Sometimes while working on something for a long time, I need something a little different. A sweet treat. After banging away at the same thing for months at a time, it’s all too easy to lose motivation, run low on ideas, and start getting bored with the story. Whenever I start having those kinds of problems, I realize that I need to add a little bit of indulgence to my work that makes it fun for me again.

What do I mean by indulgence? Well, I’m not talking about eating chocolate while working (that would be really bad for my health!) What I mean is taking on a small mini-project for fun while in the middle of working on something bigger. I do this a lot. While working on Mascara, I created a little side comic entitled Couture. While working on Wings, I created all kinds of illustrations that had nothing to do with the story, but that allowed me to sharpen my Photoshop coloring skills. So what exactly is a “mini-project”?

My main story will always be my first love, but it’s hard to love working on it all the time. So when working on a big project starts to feel a little stale, I turn to a mini-project to have some fun. Usually the mini-project comes from some random whim that makes me excited. Sometimes it’s totally ridiculous and never sees the light of day, but that’s alright. It’s all about keeping my ideas fresh. Usually when I pick something extra to do it’s usually related to writing and art, but I have an internal agreement with myself that whatever side thing I decide to do does not have to be related to what I’m working on. I always keep the mini-projects short--it has to be something that I can finish within at month at the most, because I don’t want to get distracted from what I’m really working on.

While working on a story for the long term, it’s possible to get stuck in the box of the story. No new ideas are coming in and none are going out. Doing something a little different helps to break that pattern of thinking. I often find that I discover things while working on a side project that I can use in my main story.

So if you’re finding that you’re getting bored of working on your story, get away for a little bit with mini-project. Write an unrelated short story, create an illustration, knit something! And then when you get back to your main story, maybe you’ll feel more motivated.