It takes a lot of time to create something you're proud of. It takes tons of practice to create something you don't hate the next day. Like others, I've struggled for years at creating work I'm truly excited about. I've been drawing since I could hold a crayon and I've always had the feeling inside of me that I need to create. Yet it hasn't been until recently that it doesn't feel like I'm struggling to find the purpose in my work anymore.
As a professional, it's easy to get caught up in doing the work others tell you to do. You need the money so you need the work. You're good at it so you do it. Then you do another project and another and before you know it you're known for work you're good at but you don't really have a connection to. You can easily find yourself in between a rock and a hard place because easy work sits pretty well in your bank account, but for some that can only last a while.
The best part about this path is that it's ok. The struggle can be necessary and if you're like me, where you give yourself a harder time than anyone else ever could, you're going to feel a lot of internal pain about your work. All I can say is work through it.
Work when you don't know what you're doing, if it's only to sit down with pen & paper and see what squiggly lines come out of it.
Work when you don't feel like it because something good will come out of it. If you put your hands into motion your brain will come around and it's more likely than not inspiration will find you.
Don't expect great work. That seems kind of sad to say, but in reality, don't put pressure on yourself to make something amazing every time you sit down. Instead, start from a place of joy because you're sitting down to do something you really love and you're excited to get better. Every time you sit down with that attitude, you will get better. It's undeniable.
Surround yourself with a good network. Big or small, it's extremely helpful to have friends you can count on for feedback and encouragement. One good sounding board can make a world of difference.
I'm still not where I want to be and I'm sure there's plenty of funk I get to work through in the near future. I can say I'm happy where I'm at, for all the work I've put in and for all the work that lies ahead.
That's all I could wish for anyone.
Side Note: If you're looking for a network of creatives to connect with, please consider CreativeMornings. Whether you're looking for an online network or you love meeting up in person, this is where you will find your people. It's one of the reasons I enjoy being a host so much. A fun and inviting atmosphere full of creatives connecting and sharing their journey's, it can't be beat.