As an artist you are expected to wear so many hats, and some days the task list seems never ending. I could tell you about various tips and tricks for being more productive and getting over a motivation slump, but I none would be quite as delicious as the advice I'm going to give you today.... HOT CHOCOLATE.
No, really, hear me out... Chocolate contains caffeine, but in much lower levels than that afternoon cup of coffee that makes I hard to sleep Chocolate is linked with a release in endorphins and can regulate your immune system! Besides all of that it's delicious and oh so enjoyable to drink.
"But all the sugar is bad for you," you might argue. Oh, boy do I know that! My body and sugar do not get along. The recipe I'm going to share is my personal recipe and is allergy friendly, sugar free, and 100% delicious. I don't have specific measurements, but it should be made to your preference anyway. I don't eat dairy, and prefer oat milk, but you can use whatever you prefer.
Just a reminder that measurements are approximates so taste it as you go.
Megan's Allergy Friendly, Productivity Boosting, Hot Chocolate
In a sauce pan, heat the following on medium low heat. Stir continually, until the desired temperature is reached. Do not heat too high, or heat without stirring. yuck...
1.5 cups oatmilk
2-2.5 heaping spoons of 100% dark cocoa
two big dashes of cinnimon
a big dash of vanilla
sweeten to your liking with maple syrup
Optional: Top with your preferred whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon
Bonus 1: Use a special mug. It always makes me happy to drink out of the mug pictured because it was a gift from my good friends.
Bonus 1: Also delicious as a mixed drink with peppermint schnapps
Disclaimer: I'm not doctor or nutritionist. Read about the affects of chocolate on your own and consult a doctor or nutritionist if needed. :)
Have you had one of those days where your body is alive with inspiration and you are creating with ease and joy? Goodness, I love those moments. For me the hours go by in the blink of an eye because I am so tuned in to what I am doing. Those days feel really good. But the fact of the matter, is that everyday is not like that. More often than not, there are a million other things that have to be taken care of that make it hard just to get started with art making.
If you struggle with creating when you aren't feeling inspired or motivated this is for you. I want to share a few tricks that I've learned over the years that might help you stay consistent with your art making and art business.
1: Work with yourself not against yourself.
None of us are exactly the same, yet we often try to work within a framework that was set up for someone else. Are you a night owl? Then why are you forcing yourself to wake up at 6 AM to paint? Are you way too busy to have a spotless house without sacrificing your art making time? It's okay if your house isn't spotless. Are you super forgetful? Set all the reminders, and write down the systems you are establishing so you don't forget steps.
See what you can learn about yourself. When do you have the best focus? What is your sweet spot for number of hours in the studio? Do you need quiet and solitude, or lots of hustle and bustle? Do you need to do a little desk work every day or a lot at once? There is no wrong way to be you (unless you are acting in harmful, unethical ways-- you should probably work on that). Embrace who you are, embrace how your brain and body function, and find ways to work with who you are. You will find more success and less frustration.
I did an experiment when I was first getting back into running. I decided that I would listen to the same album every time I went out for a run. This was so effective that I could be driving down the road and my running music would come on and I literally wanted to pull my car over and get out for a run. I do this with art making too. I make a playlist and then I listen to that for months and months while I paint. This primes my brain to paint. I hear the music and my brain is like, "Oh yeah, I know what's happening! Let's get to work!" What are some routines you can put into place to prime your brain for art making or business tasks?
3: Set a timer.
Often the hardest part to a task is the act of getting started. If you are really struggling to get a task started, set a timer for 15 min. to an hour, and tell yourself you only have to work until the timer goes off. Often times, once you actually get started you want to keep going. Or if it is legitimately a challenging task this helps you break it up into manageable parts.
Inspiration is a fleeting friend. If we only work when we feel inspired we will likely not be successful. The difference between a professional and a hobbyist is professionals always come back to the work, whatever that looks like. So get out for a walk, take a nap, read a book. Maybe inspiration will spark and maybe it won't, but keep on creating. When you are feeling creative take notes of your inspiration so when you are having a dry spell you can come back to it. But whatever you do keep doing the work. Horse trainer, Marijke de Jong reminds us, "If you wait for perfect conditions you'll never get anything done."
There are exceptions to all of these, and they simply may not be what works for you. The biggest thing is don't worry about perfection, embrace the mess, we are all a work in progress.
Do you have any other tips and tricks? Feel free to post in the comments.