One of the greatest dangers of working alone, is that you are working alone. There is no one there to crack the whip or hold the carrot, so it is up to you to find your own motivation and inspiration.
There are many tools and websites to help you with this. You can use GTD, project management, celebratory trips to the local [insert frivolous business of your choice], social networking and more, to keep yourself going. All have their pros and cons, but in my experience, none are as rewarding as having an actual real life creative partner.
By partner, I don’t necessarily mean someone that you work with directly. Working side by side with another creative professional, can be just as (if not more) inspiring. Not only is it someone to bounce your ideas off of (after all, a facial expression says more than any direct tweet ever could), but simply observing your partner will get your own creative juices flowing.
I am lucky, that I live with food photographer and stylist, Kelly Cline, who not only is a culinary mastermind, but also a person with a mind that never rests. Sure, I have to listen to all her recipe ideas, gardening plans, baking experiments and none of it really interests me per se. But her passion does. It spills over into her photography, and it makes me listen and watch, until it it rubs off in the form of inspiration and motivation. I think this is actually strengthened by the fact, that though we both share a love of photography, our respective niches and approaches are completely different.
If you work in a creative environment, surrounded by others who are experts in their field, you are lucky. It has a completely different effect than meeting up after work over a drink, because when working, you will be in your element, just like your partner will be in hers. That generates a different kind of understanding, not only of the people involved, but of the projects they are working on. And this is where you might strike gold.
I realize that not everyone is as lucky as I am, when it comes to having a live-in genius/muse by your side. However, there are other ways to cultivate a creative partnership. Some people work in communal spaces, so they get the feeling of having co-workers (plus it’s great for networking). Others set up sessions at their own homes, offices or studios, arrange photo walks and so on. There are plenty of ways to go about it, and there really is no substitute.
So turn off your Twitter, look your personal muse in the eye and ask: ‘What are you working on these days?’. You might be surprised.
Photo credit: Kelly Cline