Hi! I'm Inês and I'm an over thinker. You may think this is funny but it's actually something that took a lot out of me over the years in order to learn how to deal with (the bare minimum anyways).

A while ago I received a comment from a lovely person, asking me how I center and clear my head before writing. I assume because this person struggles with the same thing I and many other creative people do, so I thought why not share my take on this one with everyone. And because I feel like this theme is complementary to my previous post where I spoke about How to Overcome a Creative Block, perhaps you can give it a peek too, in case it interests you.

So, I personally think a lot, about everything, all the time ever since I can remember. When I was a kid, my teachers wanted me away from the windows so that I could focus in whatever I was doing in class, because otherwise I would simply space out for as long as I could, just looking at the sky or the wind blowing on the leaves. I still have this issue nowadays, though I learnt how to deal with it most of the times. One of the ways is to express myself and my thoughts. Put it on paper, or in this case on the internet.

Now, I don't really take time or think I have a specific routine to help me center and clear my head. Perhaps the only things I need are a big cup of coffee or tea, a tranquil space with some good old jazz in the background, some nice light and to be in the mood. However, I found that keeping a few things in mind behind all that I do creatively really helps, and I'm here today to share them with you. So let's get cracking!

Don't try to please others 

This is so obvious to me, but I feel like it is still so present in our society. However, when you're creating something, I feel like one of the most important things to do is to let your mind free of all the preconceptions and just be your true self. Of course, being the internet the way it is nowadays it may seem very tempting to create content only to please others or to jump in the same bandwagon in order to gain more followers as fast as you can, though in the long run, if you're doing something that truly fulfills you, the motivation to keep doing it comes naturally, whereas when you're creating something just to please others you may feel burnt out a lot quicker than you thought and soon enough you'll start looking at it as a chore instead of something pleasurable and consequently may even just give up on it.

Disconnect from all your triggers 

Call it toxic people who do not support you or are even able to express their happiness for your personal achievements, call it social media, call it haters, you name it. Whatever it is that you feel like it is bringing you down, simply turn it off. I personally noticed that I was having these huge ups and downs when it comes to feeling inspired and motivated to do anything creatively, until I realized the main reason behind it being the mindset I had when using social media - you can read more about it here, if you're interested about that. As soon as I reduced the time I was spending on social media, that quickly changed and now I know my limits when it comes to that so I can easily manage and completely shut it down when I start to feel like it is negatively affecting me.

Give yourself the freedom and space to express

All of my posts start like a huge mess. You wouldn't believe it unless I streamed myself writing one, which would probably take a few days. Sometimes I start writing a post with something in mind and the main focus turns out to be something totally different. Other times, I want to talk about a subject and a few weeks later, reading my draft I realize that I can actually create two or more posts from what I have written. My drafts' folder is filled with posts. Some will turn out into something and others will go straight to the garbage bin once I read them again. Sometimes because it is already too late to talk about a certain topic, others because I am being to harsh expressing my opinion and need to take a step back and reformulate. And this is pretty much OK in my opinion. I always strive for the quality over quantity in whatever it is that I'm doing, and so I want to feel a hundred percent confident in what I put out instead of just creating content for the sake of it and later on regret not looking at it twice before posting it.

Don't aim for the perfect right away

As with any creative thing, it takes time and practice. The more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes. You build confidence in what you're doing by doing it and by looking back and seeing your development as a creator. Do not ever feel ashamed if your first posts weren't as good as what you're now creating. In the mind of a creator, what you do is never good enough, there's always something you could do to improve it and it is never completely finished. And even though this may strike a bit of an imposture syndrome at times, it may actually work in your benefit as well because not only you're building a critic within you, it also helps in the long term targeting the points that you wish to improve. Trust me, most of the times people are looking at what you've created with a complete different mindset than you and do not see even one third of the "faults" you see in your own work. So don't be afraid to let go of the perfectionism, especially in the beginning. Just be genuine, people appreciate that a lot more.

Find a system that works for you

Is it writing key words and work your way around it? Is is rambling on an on as if it was a private diary? Is it writing as if it was a letter to a close friend? Is it dumping all your thoughts and later on read them and rearrange them? It doesn't matter, as long as you continue doing what works best for you. Like I've mentioned, I use and abuse the drafts. I dump all of my thoughts into a mesh of a draft and later on go back to it. It may take me months to actually put something I've been working on out, but I don't see any problem with that. That's my personal way of doing creative things. Take time and work on what I feel like working in the moment. Sometimes I'm even working on a post and suddenly get bored of it, save it, leave it and jump to another one writing about a subject completely different just because I'm in the mood. That's totally OK for me.

Don't compare yourself to others

This is the biggest monster when it comes to sabotaging your own work, trust me. Although it is nice to see what others are doing, not only to support them and what you like or believe in, but also to see where you fit in as well. But that's about it. Avoid at all costs falling into the pit of comparing yourself. You never know what others are dealing with no matter how nice what they put out may seem. Most often than not we tend to compare ourselves with people who in our own eyes are much better than us, when in reality these are people just like us who may have done some things a bit different or simply have put a lot more work and time into things. Think about it, whenever you compare yourself to a "smaller" blogger/artist for example, you tend to feel pretty much OK about it right? But if you compare yourself to a "bigger" one than you feel like you suck and more often than not that affects your motivation to keep going. In fact you may be comparing yourself to someone who has been blogging or practicing art for way longer than you. Everyone starts somewhere and there's always something to improve, so even when you're looking at someone's work thinking they're the best, that exact person may think like they suck and should have done something differently.

Don't do things for the wrong reasons

I've personally always struggled with creating something just because someone is expecting it. I much rather do things my way just for the sake of enjoyment. I hated when in school I had to do drawings in a certain way or as many as the teacher wanted just so I could pass the tests. Some people enjoy it, and having that nerve wracking pressure of deadlines and client's expectations is something that drives them. But for me? I think that that's just a way of cutting your legs when it comes to self-expression and creativity. Sure you can have a client tell you that they need this or that, but if they choose to ask a work from a creative person then it is because they like their essence and expression, and they should never ask you to move away from it in the first place. So if you're doing something just for the money and you actually do not enjoy it, maybe try finding something else that fills your heart as a job or a hobby. I realized that a few years ago, when I felt stuck at a job just for the money, that's when I was most surrounded by different hobbies. Always trying to do something creative and that would fulfill me outside of that 9 to 5 job that wasn't bringing me anything other than money.

Don't try to be something or someone you're not

Or you know what, do it if it is what makes you happy. Many writers and creators do have alter egos so why can't you have one? I personally can't deal with this because I have immense difficulty not being myself. When it comes to acting it is a different thing, although I don't do it in years, but when it comes to expressing my thoughts or creativity I really cannot run away from my true essence. That's what I feel like may bring something new. All of my content has already been created, right? The only thing that differs what I do from what others do is that it is coming from me, someone unique, so I personally try to take that in all I do. But, if your thing is to have an alter ego and run away from what you are, if that works for you - do it! As long as you're enjoy it, do it!

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