Recognise the look and feel of inspiration. When you feel that tingle of a good idea, don’t let it slip away.
Always be prepared with a way to record your ideas for new projects. Be sure to jot down more than just a couple of vague words that become a mystery when you look back on your notes. Detail is key.
Realise that inspiration comes from unexpected places, as well as places where you’d typically search for it. Explore the mundane as well as the unknown.
Don’t give up if your first attempt isn’t as good as you’d hoped. Always push yourself by asking the question, “Is this the best I can do?” Don’t push yourself so hard that you become paralysed with doubt.
Think outside the box. If your work doesn’t look, sound, taste or feel the same as others in your field, that’s O.K. In fact, that’s awesome.
Comparing yourself to others is the fastest way to fall into disappointment and despair. No two people are the same, so you’re comparing apples to oranges. Relax, and recognise your work for what it is and their work for what it is. Just because one is good, doesn’t mean the other isn’t. There isn’t a finite amount of talent in the world.
Make time for your work. Creativity doesn’t always just ‘happen’. Sometimes, you have to push yourself to make a start.
Whenever possible, take advantage of inspiration immediately. Use your creative energy while it lasts. It’s an elusive bitch sometimes, so catch it while you can.
Learn to take criticism on the chin. Try not to get defensive. Think about the feedback you’ve received and ask yourself whether it’s fair, whether you can take a lesson from it, or whether it’s too harsh. Learn what advice is valuable and what is not. This takes practice. See criticism as a chance to improve your craft, rather than a personal attack.
Spend time with other creative people. They don’t necessarily have to work in the same field as you. If you’re a writer, you’ll still benefit from hanging out with painters, designers or musicians. Creativity begets creativity.
Step away from your work regularly. Do something completely different. Go outside, go to the movies, visit an elderly relative. You won’t find a spark of inspiration during your sixteenth straight hour of work. It’s waiting for you just outside your front door.
You can’t please everyone. So make sure that you please yourself because your opinion is the one that matters most.
Stay curious. As time passes, you’ll start to regard yourself as an expert at your craft. This is a mistake. There’s so much still to be learned, so keep your passion for discovery and experimentation alive. Never stop learning.