Professionally and personally we’ve all had periods of time where we are uninspired, unmotivated and just downright “meh”. Sometimes it’s just a natural process of the ebbs and flows of life. Other times it’s a series of unfortunate events or even worse if it’s your own damn fault for making bad decisions. Everyone handles these differently, but I found something several years ago that really helps me when I’m in that mode. I create things. I do my best to try and create something every day. Write a song, build an electronics project, write an app, write a book, build a script, make a sandwich…hell…make a mess!
Creativity is an attribute that (I believe) everyone has, to some degree. It can be daunting to put something in the world that you made yourself. Most people don’t like the feeling of such naked exposure, but once you get confident in your abilities you stop caring what people think. For me it’s the act of creating. Writing songs (especially with other people) is literally magic. Imagine you’re in a room with like-minded people trying (or not even trying) to put some new music in the world and it’s similar to cooking without a recipe. One person brings the chicken. Next person adds some spices. Next person adds sauce. Next thing you know you’ve got a totally new dish (who’s hungry?). I realized I just mixed music and food metaphors, but who the hell cares? I’m being creative! Usually my go-to analogy is to compare music with conversation, but that’s reserved for improvisation or, dare I say, “jamming”. I have some 5 and 10 dollar words I like to throw out now and then but if you do it too much you sound like an ass. Same with improvisational music.
By creating every day I find myself learning (and learning the practical application thereof) something every day as well. Of the three things I enjoy most about running my own company (helping people, solving problems and learning), creativity is a huge part of this process. You gain a ton of confidence in your ability to solve problems if you’ve had to solve the same problem with two vastly different budgets. I’ve said many times that I’m not a classically trained developer, but I’m tenacious and creative and I never, ever give up until the problem is solved.