Holding on to your creative spark
December 31, 2023
Does sitting down to write feel like a chore?
You might have my coffee cup problem.
In 2018 I found out I was going to be a father. Full of excitement, I set out to illustrate something that would express the joy in my heart…
A cute coffee cup.
Excited to share what I’d made, I uploaded the video.
That video is now the last one I’ve uploaded to YouTube in more than 5 years.
Why did I stop?
What made me go from doing something so fun to completely abandoning what I’d built?
Our old friend burnout.
While I really enjoyed creating that video, what I didn’t mention was how grueling the other work I was doing at the time felt. I was only doing what it took to check a box and keep pumping out content. I thought that maybe if I pushed enough I would find success.
That coffee cup opened my eyes to just how focused I’d become on the work and not the reason I started doing the work.
So I took a break. And in that break I asked myself a very important question.
Why did you start?
At face value this question seems pretty straightforward. You might even be answering it for yourself confidently. But for most people this answer will sound more like a dry mission statement than true self reflection.
When it comes to a newsletter, here are some examples of reasons you may have started:
- Deep interest in a topic you’d like to learn more about.
- You just wanted to be creative and see what happens.
- Your passion for a specific cause or purpose.
- There was a gap you wanted to fill.
There are plenty of other reasons, but you get the point.
Assuming you weren’t asked to build a newsletter as part of your day job, you decided to start writing.
Something inside of you was so confident it’s something you should do that you took the time and energy to get set up, begin writing, and somewhere along the way went so deep that you’re reading this newsletter about newsletters.
How can you start again?
Don’t take this question too literally. I don’t recommend starting over completely with what you’re doing right now. Consistency is what will help you grow.
Instead, take a different perspective on what you’re currently doing. Your motivation to keep going will be found in understanding what made you get started in the first place.
In my case, I realized that what I really loved most about my work was helping others connect with the people they want to reach.
Communication, visual or written, is something I love understanding more about. From psychology, to productivity, to the creative process.
Your next steps
Ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Why did you start a newsletter?
- Have I abandoned that initial spark?
- How can stay focused on that spark?
I would highly encourage writing these answers down somewhere. Writing them down will make them more tangible and you can look back any time you start to feel burnt out.
The “spark” I’m referring to might have changed along the way and that’s ok. The goal is to find the last time you were highly motivated and hold on to that feeling.