Get After It: How to Look for Motivation and Inspiration When They're Nowhere to Be Found

Updated: Jul 30, 2020 only took me three weeks to write it, but my first blog post of 2020 is finally here! I've literally been trying to write this post since the beginning of the year, but I just couldn't muster up enough energy and motivation to actually gather my thoughts into coherent sentences.

I can’t lie – the first draft of this post was basically me just going on and on about all of the reasons I’ve been struggling to get back into working on anything involving Bashful. The more I read it though, the more I realized that it was just a list of all of the excuses I've been giving myself to avoid working on my lettering.

That's when I just grabbed a notebook and pens and lettered a sassy quote to motivate myself to just push through all of the noise, while sipping tea out of my encouraging mug.

No matter what your passion is, whether you're a fellow hand lettering artist, or any kind of artist and/or freelancer, I think that by taking the time to figure out what's been working for you, what's been holding you back from moving forward, and what you want your next steps to be, you'll be able to get your creative groove back!

That being said, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and goal setting this past week to really figure out what I want Bashful Lettering + Event Design to look like moving forward. I want to fill you guys in on all my behind the scenes planning to maybe inspire you and help you out if you’re also feeling stuck or just need some goal setting ideas.

Something that’s really helped me, and this might sound counterintuitive, has been to do some research and look through the work of hand lettering artists that I look up to. Sometimes it can be overwhelming when you’re comparing your progress to that of someone who’s “made it” in your eyes, but it’s also a good way of figuring out what you want to achieve. You also don’t want to be ripping off the work of people you admire, but you can definitely use them as inspiration in building your own style.

In terms of my growth, the one thing that’s been nagging at me a lot lately is the fact that I have “Event Design” in my business’ name, but I haven’t been doing much of that. I think that's something that a lot of us do, where we have ambitions for what we want our business to look like when we're first starting out, but then we don't necessarily follow through on them. It's especially important when you're trying to build a brand that your name truly reflects the actual services you're offering.

So, while I’m extremely grateful for my family and friends who have been so supportive of my hand lettering and who were willing to trust me to create pieces for the most important day of their life, most of the event lettering and event design work I've done has in fact been for people that I already know. I know that if I want to truly grow Bashful Lettering + Event Design, I need to build a real portfolio of such work that will attract future clients through my social media channels and website, and I can't just wait for people I know to ask me to create pieces for their weddings and other events.

Once I realized that this is something that I want to focus on moving forward, I drew inspiration from another New Jersey based hand lettering artist that I follow, Leah Wolff of Leah Wolff Design. She letters the dreamiest places cards, menus and so much more for private and corporate events! I remembered seeing something she posted on her Instagram a while back about how she had invested in a bunch of new table settings to mix up her event lettering posts, and I thought that was an amazing idea!

After some extensive online shopping, I found a bunch of tableware from IKEA and fake florals from Michaels that match my brand colors and style perfectly. Now, I can’t wait to start setting up mock table designs for different kinds of events and letter sample place cards, menus, and table numbers so that I can build up a real portfolio of what I have to offer in terms of event lettering services!

Another goal that I have for this year is to sell fonts that I create using my hand lettering. I often buy fonts off Creative Market for the various projects I work on, so when I imagined other people buying fonts that I make, it just seemed like such a cool thing to do. To achieve this goal, I enrolled in the Learn Font Making course by Every-Tuesday, I often use her YouTube tutorial videos, and they're amazing, so I knew this course would be totally worth it and that I would learn so much from her.

I have to be honest though; I was really on the fence about purchasing the course because it wasn't cheap, but I know that if I invest in myself and in growing my skills now, it’ll pay off in the long run. I’m especially excited about something like selling fonts, because hello, passive income! #workoncemakemoneyforever. For real, passive income is the dream - if you can hustle for a while, create a great product and then put it out for people to purchase without you having to do much else, it's a great way of making some extra money that you can then invest back into your passion.

On that note, I want to say that I know that sometimes it’s scary to take the plunge and invest in yourself because you’re worried that the time and money you’ll put into something might not be worth it. Truth be told, sometimes it won’t necessarily result in the payoff you were expecting, but I don’t think you’ll ever regret trying to better your work by expanding your portfolio and learning new skills.

Basically, this post has been my long-winded way of saying that sometimes, as an artist, you’re going to go through seasons of feeling unmotivated and uninspired, and it’s ok to let yourself live those seasons. Still, it’s important to not let those seasons drag on and to eventually shake it off and get back to work!

To be clear, when I say, “get back to work”, I don’t mean force yourself to work on things you don’t want to work on, because that’s how you end up turning your passion into something you dread. When you put so much pressure on yourself to create a viral Instagram post or a best-selling Etsy product, you end up resenting something that used to bring you joy.

What I mean is that even if you’re not sure what you want to do or how to do it, sometimes it takes something as simple as finding the right quote on Pinterest to help you get inspired and motivated. Then, before you know it, your creativity will start flowing again and you'll be setting and crushing all your goals!

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