If you make art and/or write fiction on a regular basis, then you’re going to run into mediocre days every now and then. These are, of course, those days where everything you produce isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either. It’s just kind of …. well…. mediocre.
They’re the kind of days when you’ve finish writing or drawing and look at what you’ve made and your instinctive reaction to it is “Yeah, it’s ok, I guess”. The kind of days where you aren’t really proud of what you’ve produced, but you aren’t really ashamed of it either.
If you’re having one of these days, then don’t worry – here are a few tips that might come in handy:
1) This happens to everyone: Yes, even your favourite writers and artists have mediocre days. Even if they’re extremely famous and/or talented, then they will still have the occasional mediocre day. Everyone who creates anything will have mediocre days. No exceptions.
Do you want to know how I know this?
It’s simple – everything is relative. In other words, for your amazingly creative days to feel like amazingly creative days, there have to be mediocre days to compare them with. Even if you didn’t have mediocre days and just had amazingly creative days, then these would eventually start to feel mediocre.
So, if you’re having a mediocre day, then just remember that it’s there to make your creative days feel great by comparison.
2) Look at your old stuff: Remember how I said that everything is relative? Well, this also applies to how you perceive the quality of your work too. If you’ve been writing and/or making art for quite a while, then something which might be “mediocre” by your current standards would probably be “amazing” by your old standards.
So, if you’re making mediocre stuff, then find some of your really old art or old stories and compare your “mediocre” modern stuff to the best pieces of your old stuff.
Suddenly, your “mediocre” drawing or story will probably start to look a lot better by comparison. After all, if you’ve been creating things regularly, then you will have improved over time. So, take another look at your “mediocre” stuff and try to think about what your past self would have thought about it if they were somehow able to see it.
3) Context and inspiration: Unless you’re a bestselling published author or an artist who has sold a lot of work and has had your stuff shown in a few galleries, then it can be very easy to think “what’s the point of creating anything?” if you’re having a mediocre day. If you aren’t careful, this thought can lead to writer’s block or artist’s block.
Likewise, when you aren’t having a mediocre day, I can bet that you probably feel that everything you create is meaningful. When you’re really inspired, you know that there is a point in creating things and that there’s a reason for it all. Usually, it’s the kind of strange and nebulous “reason” that is more of an emotion than an idea you can really put into words. But it’s there. And it makes you feel inspired.
So, if you’re having a mediocre day, try to re-kindle that inspired feeling by reading and watching interviews with all of your favourite writers and/or artists. Go onto Youtube and listen to all of the creative people you admire talking about why they create things. Don’t compare yourself to them (since this might make you feel more uninspired), just listen to them and try to remember that they’re just another writer or artist like you.
4) Take a break: Sometimes mediocre days can happen if you try too hard or if you’ve been trying too hard for too long. Sometimes they’re a sign that you need to take a short break and do something fun or relaxing for a while until you’ve “recharged your batteries”, so to speak.
The reason for this is that we all thrive when we’re having fun. I’m sure that you’ve probably noticed that, when you’re having an inspired day, creating things just feels fun and exciting. When you’re having a mediocre day, creating things usually either just feels neutral, boring or like hard work. Notice the difference?
So, start having fun and, when you feel like creating something again, then go for it!
5) Make something else: Sometimes, but not always, a mediocre day can just be a sign that your current creative project isn’t really a good “fit” for you. So, put it to one side and think “if I could create anything and I didn’t have to show it to anyone else, what would I create?”
It could be anything and it can be as weird, derivative, shocking, bizarre, comedic, nonsensical, geeky, abstract etc… as you want it to be. All that matters is that it’s something that you really want to create.
Once you’ve come up with an answer, start a small project based on your new idea. Don’t aim to make something great, just aim to have fun and mess around. Whilst this won’t help you with your current project, it may well make you feel a bit less “mediocre” and unenthusiastic.
Anyway, I hope that this article was useful 🙂