Everything in existence — be it biology, computers, science, art — builds upon foundations from the past. Singular blocks are combined to create a new structure, which are combined to create something new, which are then combined with something else to create something new.
Always create, and keep everything you make. Finished products come from a collection of small finished products, and everything you make can become a building block for something larger. It doesn’t matter what you do, this method of creation and collection can be applied to everything.
I’m beginning the study of writing as a practice, mostly that of the fiction variety – how does one go about creating a story out of thin air? After consuming and digesting several books and lectures until my eyes bled, the same principle of creativity has been presented yet again: You are not the creative thinker, you are only the vessel. Your best ideas are not your own ideas, they all come from somewhere else entirely. Ideas that you have are just a starting point, but the finished product created itself. You are just the gardener pruning the hedges, guiding the story along a path – otherwise it’d grow into a chaotic mess – and it’s your job to walk away from it ( call it finished ).
Take comfort in this when you begin your next project – just start from a seed of an idea and let the story present itself. Let the little creative thinkers in the deep recesses of your subconscious do all of the creative thinking for you. All you have to do is to put down what they tell you.
Motivation is like building a sand castle on the beach only to see it dissolved by the ocean. Section by section the sand castle falls apart. Its base weakens, a tower or two collapses, eventually the whole thing comes crashing down. Motivation seeps out of your system like sand, and this is inherent within everyone. We humans forget easily and move on without effort.
Consider the New Years resolution, and how it has become somewhat of a joke to make one at all. People know that they’ll resort back to their old ways, they know that this new feeling of personal power is transient and will quickly evaporate. If one does not renew the metaphorical Sandcastle of Motivation every day, there will be nothing left by the end of the week.
I believe this is why people, like myself, move from one thing to the next without finishing a damn thing. We know how to act off of motivation, we know what it’s like to be inspired and to have the need to create. But our interests fade quickly, and if we do not remain aware of this we’re doomed to an existence of starting and stopping, a trail of half finished projects in our wake.
::A potential Remedy::
Long term goals are good, but we must understood that a long term goal is not a matter of destination but of accumulation. When we sally forth to make a new painting, the accumulation of effort will magically result into something that appears finished. It’s then up to us to hang up the smock and walk away from it. Accumulation is key. As we are beings who live alongside Time, we can piggyback on Time’s passing and connect our small day to day accomplishments into one – a finished product.
Consider what made you motivated in the first place, and revisit it often. Revisit it monthly, weekly and daily. Surround yourself with things that have meaning to the subject at hand. If you want to write a sci-fi novel, throw Battlestar Galactica onto your desktop background, watch sci-fi movies, and read about the future ( while you write of course ). Always try to stay one step ahead of that mighty ocean that promises to take your motivations and turn them back into sand.
What sets you apart from everyone in your profession is your past knowledge. Looking at business like an artist, an architect learning to program, a tennis player becoming a roboticist, a fashion designer designing music are a few examples.
Combining unrelated fields creates a whole new field.