How Do I Stay Passionate About Design When It’s My Career?
Think back to senior year of high school. Maybe you were feeling stressed about where you were going to go to college. Or maybe you didn’t even know what you wanted to pick as your major. You probably remember counselors, friends, and family members asking you what your passions were so they could suggest future careers. Maybe you experienced something similar to me, where you were encouraged to follow a creative passion and now you’re here, in a career doing something you love!
Or not. Sometimes when we start pursuing a career centered around our favorite hobby, we lose the passion. Kind of like two lovers together for many years, you need to find that spark again. Well, the good news is you’re not alone and there are things you can do to get out of this rut and enjoy what you enjoy again.
I know for my job, I’m not always designing something I’m passionate about. Whether it’s for a woodchip company or personal fitness trainer, I’d much rather be doing fun illustrations and mock album covers. When the desire to create something I love isn’t satisfied, I start to feel antsy and unhappy with my work. This is when I try to carve out time to feed my creative soul.
When you’re feeling drained by the mundane work you’re being paid to make, try to remember why you started this career in the first place. To reignite this passion, reevaluate what brings you joy in design; what makes you excited to create. It can be anything from an illustrative miniseries of your favorite foods to a specially edited photoshoot with your friends. It doesn’t matter what it is, looks like, or evolves into, as long as you are enjoying making it. Creating for yourself is one of the first things we forget to do, but the easiest thing to accomplish.
Get Off Your Couch
One of the reasons you may be feeling stuck, uncreative, and uninspired is because you’re caught up in a mundane cycle of waking up, going to work, coming home, and going to bed. There’s nothing wrong with having a routine, it’s important to be disciplined especially with exercise, healthy living, and work. But, when you start feeling like every day is the same and there’s nothing inspiring or exciting going on in your life then, honey, you need a change of pace.
So go plan something! Or be spontaneous! Again, it doesn’t matter what you do, where you go, or what you try, as long as it’s different. Try going on a weekend trip to your favorite beach town three hours away, or you can even get an AirBnB in your downtown. Are there any farmers’ markets nearby or local shops with imported handmade goods you can check out? You may be surprised how many forest preserves are sprinkled around your town, or if you’re lucky, it could be a state park. The point is, as long as you are going out and doing something different from your day-to-day routine you may be feeding your creative soul, plus most of these things are free, so what the heck is stopping you?
Maybe the reason why you’re feeling burnt out in your career is because you’ve been going hard for so long. Our grind culture is motivational in theory, but the reality is that it ignores the fact that we still need rest. Sometimes I feel like a conveyor belt of design just pumping out graphics one after the other, after the other. Everything starts looking the same and when I realize I’m reusing ideas, it gets discouraging that I haven’t been as creative as I could be.
So stop. Seriously, take a break. Go to meditate, watch a movie, or read a book. There’s no shame in just not creating for a little bit. I used to feel like I was giving up when I did this, but then I remembered I’m a person before I am a designer. Yes, I love to create art and graphics, but that’s not who I am. I am a person that gets tired, and don’t mind if I assume the same about you.
I realize not everyone may have the luxury of taking a break, but I think most of us do eat at some point. Try having a meal with a friend or alone outside. Don’t touch your phone or check your email. Just eat. Enjoy your time away from work. This is no time to stress about life; this is time to take care of yourself.
Join the Conversation
What is something you can or already do to reignite your passion for design?