Three Strategies for Staying Motivated

A new "wonky" stripe pattern

A new "wonky" stripe pattern

Before I jump into today’s topic about how I stay motivated, I realized it’s nearly St Patrick’s Day. Many of you may not celebrate this at all, but I’m Irish on my mother’s side. Her maiden name is McHugh and she turns 85 tomorrow!! Happy Birthday Mum.

With St Patrick's Day in mind, I created some fun pattern designs that you can download and print onto regular paper to use as wrapping paper. Click below to access them.

St Patrick's Day Patterns

St Patrick's Day Patterns

Now, let’s move on to more “serious” stuff.

How do we stay motivated when we hit a roadblock, a challenge, or just feel tired or run down? As an entrepreneur working by myself from home, I need strategies to keep myself going when I'm feeling run down or discouraged because I'm not achieving my goals as quickly as I’d like.

Here are three strategies that I use to keep moving forward and stay on track.

Strategy One

My favorite strategy, and this will likely come as no surprise, is to take a new art class or watch a new tutorial! I love to learn new things and doing so always pulls me out of any funk.

To bring this idea to life, I’ve created something for us to do together. The video below is a short tutorial where I’ll demonstrate how to paint eucalyptus sprigs using watercolor. The video is seven minutes long and the exercise of painting the eucalyptus sprigs requires very few supplies and takes under five.

I hope you’ll watch it, paint your own version and have fun!

Strategy Two

My next strategy is to do something tangible, no matter how small, that moves my dreams forward. One of my big goals this year is to build a professional portfolio of patterns and present it to companies in the stationary and fabric world in order to get a licensing deal.

While I already sell my flower bouquet and still life illustrations as art prints on Society6, and have a few patterns on Spoonflower, I’d like to become a licensed artist and create fabric and stationary collections.

When I’m feeling stuck, I sit down with my sketchbook and set the timer on my iPhone for 20 minutes. I sketch until the timer goes off. Sometimes the minutes go by very quickly and I'm surprised when the timer goes off. Other times, it feels like FOREVER! I’ll take a peek at the timer and there will still be 8 minutes left.

When the minutes are dragging on slowly, I’ll fill in my sketches with shading or cross-hatching or other small details. This helps re-focus my mind on the task at hand. And then the timer goes off! Here are some sketches that I've turned into illustrations or patterns this week.

Strategy Three

A third strategy that works for me is exercise or just getting out of the house and away from the computer.


·      Pop down to the local coffee shop for a latte

·      Loop around the neighborhood behind my house

·      Take a hike with a friend

·      Go for a short run

·      Just sit outside, weather permitting

I hope one or all of these strategies help you the next time you get stuck.

And remember, It’s Never Too Late To Create!



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Here is an audio version of last week's blog if you prefer to listen to me instead of reading.