Momentum is like a chain. Each day, each hour, each time you continue doing something, you add another link and, with each link, the chain of momentum not only gets longer, but also stronger. For creative workers (and creative people in general), building that chain can be a difficult start, and maintaining it can be even more so.
We are conditioned to believe that creativity is something that happens in fits and spurts, and that we have to wait for outside influences (like “inspiration” or “motivation” or “ideas”) in order to work on our creative projects. Often, when given advice about working on our art daily or on a regular schedule, we meet this with resistance, saying that forcing ourselves into a schedule will “kill creativity” or “doesn’t match our creative process.”
However, there is something to be said for keeping up our creative pursuits, even if the muse isn’t there. Work begets work, and often the creative process can be honed and sharpened through the very act of creating. We can become better artists just by being more consistent artists, whether we have the time, energy, or creative juice to do it.
On the other side of this equation, many creative people find themselves giving up entirely after too many breaks. You see it everywhere…blog authors saying that they’ll be taking a few weeks off to regroup, YouTube channels going dark because “life got in the way,” painters who haven’t touched a brush in months because they just don’t have the time.
And yes, life does get in the way, and creative ideas come and go, and illness, work, and fatigue can certainly step in front of what we’re doing and often seem much more important to us. Taking breaks and recharging are essential in any field, but in creative fields, it seems that they are easier to take, and have a more deleterious effect on the future of our work than in other fields.
So before you think about stepping away, think about the chain you built, and consider adding just one more link.