How to stay motivated and complete your projects

One of the things in which my blog has helped me has been its ability to keep me focused when I work on various art and/or photography projects.  By the time I’m done with the project, it looks great.  And I chronicle everything from idea to completion in this little weblog.

Today, I’m sharing some of my tricks and tips with you, my beloved blog readers.  And I hope they help you in your completion of any artistic project.

1.  Imagine your completed project.This seems simple, but it’s actually quite effective.  It’s like anticipating your destination after a long journey.  Think about the completed project – maybe doodle it on a piece of paper – and say to yourself, “This is where I started.”  And save thqt doodle, it’s your cornerstone to the building you will create.

Third place white ribbon for my third stitching project!

2. Have an adequate supply chain.  By this I mean, if you need any sort of artistic or construction supplies for your project, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar store, explore all your connections and make sure you can get whatever you need at any time you need it.  Because you will run out of materials at the worst possible time.  You’ll be one tube of oil paint short, you’ll need one extra plank of wood, you measured once when you should hve measured twice.

3. You will make mistakes.  This can be frustrating.  But you must work past them.  If you dropped a stitch three rows into your knitting project, don’t get frustrated.  Undo the stitches if you can, take a break, and then come back and re-commence your project.

4. Have a comfortable work area.  For me, I need some TV noise in the background – something I can hear without having to watch the action – when I’m working on a project.  ESPN, Investigation Discovery, MSNBC, a Forensics Files marathon…

5. Chronicle your steps.  At the end of the day, pull out your camera phone and take a picture of your project.  Over time, you’ll see how far your project has evolved, and it’s more tangible from photo to photo, from day to day. This is a great motivation tool.  And with that as well…

6. Post your progress on social media.  Nothing sparks motivation like having your friends cheer you on.  Put up a picture, maybe with a caption like “Three days in, can’t believe I got this far,” give it a custom hashtag (something like #chuckisbuilding – well, that would work for me) and be amazed as your friends and followers cheer your progress and give you support.

Display with stained glass view of the Cathedral of St. Philco.

7. Learn a new technique as you’re building your project.  There are a zillion different “how to” videos on YouTube.  These are done by hobbyists and artisans and craftspeople.  Take a moment and watch what they do.  And try one of those carvings, one of those stitches, one of those strokes, in your project.

8. Don’t be afraid to work on more than one project at a time.  It’s like your dinner meal.  You don’t eat all the pork chops first and THEN go to the vegetables, right?  You eat a bite of one, then a bite of the other.  Your brain can handle stimulation from various sources, so if you want to start a second project just to take the edge off your first one, that’s only beneficial for you.

9. Offer a “big reveal” on social media.  Let’s say you’ve completed your project.  Just post (without a picture) that you’re complete, and then an hour later, show off the project.  You’re now building anticipation, like the opening of an envelope at an awards ceremony.  This is the culmination of your craftwork.  And now you can share this creation with your friends.

Dream Window 16: Rainbow of Hope. Leica M3 camera, Summicron 50 lens, Kodak 400 film. Perimeter glass: hammered cathedral (13 panes). Photo and collage by Chuck Miller.

10. Find a suitable use for your completed project.  Whether it involves putting your project in an arts competition, or possibly offering it for sale, or even donating it for a charitable event, your project needs to flourish.  Let it shine and let it show.

These seem like simple steps, somewhat intuitive, somewhat knowledgeable … but they’re actually motivational tools that, once you start a projec,t it will help you complete the project and bring your creation to full life.

These are great steps for a project.

Heck, I’m even using them now for a current project.

So these tips are, shall we say, Chuck-tested and Chuck-approve.d 😀