Staying Motivated

by Kevin Cornell

58 Reader Comments

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  1. Thank you for a excellent article with a lots of useful ideas! Buy the way the illustrations true the whole ALA are amazing. I hope to see more design professionals talking about their skills and habits in the future. Keep the good work.

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  2. This is a very good reminder if nothing else. Excellent, solid advice. Motivation is the key to success in many ways.

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  3. Excellent article and very timely. One question: What about pushing through when one is under the influence of too much creativity and too little time/resources to handle it? Frequently I find myself in that situation—too many ideas or directions to choose which one to follow and I end up following none.

    I love your illustrations too, by the way. You do an excellent job catching the spirit of the article.

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  4. I hear ya, Patricia. Sometimes you have so many voices with so many creative ideas all blaring in your head at once, it feels like a mistake to put one aside when they all could be masterpieces!

    But what it comes down to is that you have to choose the creative idea that’s most important to you, execute it, and ignore the others. In any creative endeavor, a lot of excellent possibilities will have to fall to the wayside for the good of that one idea that’s most important to you. You have to edit your efforts in the same way an author edits a story.

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  5. What if it’s the clients who are killing the design and motivation? What if every single link, copy, etc. gets over analyzed and watered down? How does one escape that (besides looking for a new job because your current gig pays killer)?

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  6. I’d love to say there’s an escape… but I’m not sure there always is one. The best you can do, if finding another job is not an option, is pick your battles and defend the 2 or 3 things most important to you in any design. A project you share with your team, and the client, will always have to be full of compromises – some of which you won’t agree with.

    But if you what you REALLY yearn for is complete creative freedom, then perhaps you can develop a side project of your own. When I was working at an agency, my personal website became an important place for me to stretch my design legs. I usually came into work an hour or two early to work on it, and did little bits throughout the day when I had a chance. Every little bit counts, and probably helps stem the tide of creative frustration.

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  7. Kevin, thanks for this article. Honestly, all I’ve ever heard regarding motivation is “c’mon man, you just gotta be disciplined and push through it!” That never helped. You gave 17 alternatives which really takes off the pressure. Somehow, I don’t feel as incompetent.

    Also, as others have mentioned, your illustrations are awesome.

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  8. Thanks, Don :D

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  9. I recently moved-in with my girlfriend and lost my “big ugly (IKEA) glass top desk” (Creative Den). While it did get messy, I was able to spread out. Now, I have this very consolidated work-space (“cleaner”), but I have nowhere for my post-it notes and piles. We’re now meeting at a compromise with a new, bigger desk (not from IKEA).

    My point: This article reminded me how important that space is to me. Thanks, Kevin!

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  10. It really does help especially when trying something for the first time not to expect too much from yourself.

    I try to focus on making simple things work when learning new web technologies wether its CSS, Regular Expressions, Javascript, PHP or just trying to combine things together.

    Don’t try to build a perfect website in one day. Rather start with a single element of what will later become part of that perfect site.

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  11. Personally I thought this article was great.

    Sometimes when your motivation is a bit low, all it takes to get you back up there is to read an article which reminds you that this happens to the best of us at some point or other.

    Thanks for taking the time out to write this Kevin.

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  12. creative thinkers, the doodlers of the lecture hall/ meeting room. most of us have the attention span of a small child in harrods toy department and yet some of our projects seem to flow for years…so easy to lose the big picture.  to have someone just put it down just seems to affirm what we already know (and yet need to read because like the 3 year old we are now too busy playing with something with sparkly coloured lights that moos.  thanks for the heads up..time to refocus..but the lights are so pretty

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  13. Excellent “fluffy” (love that) article.
    I call lack of motivation Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday usually between 9-5.
    To coin a quote from freelancers blog…
    “Your worst day working from home is pretty much better than any day at the office”

    Its always easier to stay motivated when you’ve not got to justify a design to 30 people, most of which stem from print design and still think the Internet’s a fad.

    WOOHOO

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  14. It never would have occured to me that motivation was an issue.  Motivation is that damn blank sheet of paper (screen, whatever).  For me, what I used to think of as writers block in fact was idea block.  After a lifetime in the business of ideas (advertising), bringing a fresh perspective to the party was sometimes more easily done than others.  When I struggled, I had to purge the hackneyed, the trite, the obvious for the unexpected, fresh, original.  Exercising your inner child, endless digging, discovering new insights is and was the key. For a list of 241 links to ideation, visit www.ieclectic.com

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  15. Really good article, it’s nice to read on something ‘not so technical’ once in a while.
    And I found this one really useful!

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  16. Thanks for writing this! I’ll be sending this to friends and also bookmarking it! Great advice for beginners too!

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  17. Stuff is simple,practicle and very useful.Best thing is, it does not require too much of extra effort(which would need great deal of motivation… again).Thanks.
    -Harsh

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  18. Cruising ALA for both some creative solutions and “inspiration”, I stumbled upon this article in the recent postings.  Thanks!  Sound advice to both a “web generalist without a job description” and “aspiring writer”. 

    Now I just need to create my work area, i.e. excavate my desk from my “in” pile.

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  19. I often read articles on ALA, but this one doesn’t feel me indifferent. So I decided to post my first comment, although my English is so bad.

    I read right words here, and in the moment when I seek creative idea, I learn how to learn find out myself. Indeed, I think that take my pencil, put it in boudaries of my paper before to “keep an eye” on my peers.

    I will again trust on myself, and I will launch (and note) my project…

    Thank you for advices!

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  20. Kevin,

    I really appreciate your article, now I feel that I have a tool to work around those times when I feel lost.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    You just gave me back my hope. And I’m going to use each word from your article from now on.

    Thank you.

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  21. What an great Article!, thanks so much, as im a lazy ass sometimes this will help me stay more motivated, you got a reader more.

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  22. Hey , thank you very much for this great stuff! Keep up your great work! Greetings Daniel

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  23. motivation can be my biggest enemy at times…thanks for the great article

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  24. yeah.. totally true, I find that motivation is just one of the hardest things to get right.. also since there is other requirements in life to distract you from the task at hand.. the comments on setting up a place is sooo important.

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  25. Very useful, that changed the way I thought about myself!
    Thanks! I will recommend it with pleasure!

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  26. That’s a very good article about motivation and how you can be successful in your job, especially when you are a freelancer. Thank you very much!

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  27. It’s funny. But out of all of those, carrying a notebook was a big turning point for me. I’ll be out with friends on a Friday night or and the gas station buying my daughter a Bug Juice and suddenly something will hit.
    I have always been that kind of person. I really wish I had done something about it when I was younger. I have seen a lot of great ideas come into fruition over the years that I never had a notepad around to scribble it into.

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  28. Things will always evolve and people will always reminisce to the good old days, technology is doing rather well right now and rather inspiring I think!

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