What you invest in is where your heart will be.
My wife and I just bought a gym membership. Yup. Anyone who knows me well knows I have about zero love for physical fitness. As I write this email I'm sitting in front of my computer eating Skittles. From a bowl. My daily work uniform is pajama pants and a graphic T. I hiss like a vampire when I step outside and see the sun.
I've always said my heart just isn't in all that fitness stuff. I don't care about it. It doesn't matter to me. I mean, I want to want to do it, but I don't want to do it. Do I desire the energy that comes from working out? Sure! Am I willing to put in all that effort to get it? "Nah, my heart's just not in it that much."
And yet this time, I wanted to commit to 100 straight days at the gym with my wife just as much as she did (note: the pic above links to her Instagram, which is where she's posting what we're up to).
For those of us in the creative community, we know where we want our hearts to be. It's in whatever we're creating, right? It's the change our work can bring, or in the joy of creating that perfect feeling in our audience. Or at least, that's where we feel our hearts should be.
But what about when it's not? What about when our heart just isn't in the work, or when the words won't come, or we're frustrated with imagining where we thinkour work should be and knowing we can't quite attain that yet? What about when our hearts just aren't in it; when we want to want to, but we don't want to?
Plenty of people have offered their perspectives before on tactics for getting out of a creative funk, and many of them have far more wisdom to offer on the subject that I do, but it still gets me thinking. I've noticed my creative heart goes wherever I am. It absorbs everything I absorb. And that can be both good and bad. Good, when I'm immersing myself in the creative community and learning from all the amazing people I find there. Bad, when some new addictive iPhone game beeps at me every hour assigning me new "tasks" masquerading as play. Good, when I invest my time in other peoples' work, and pick it apart like a rack of ribs. Bad, when I waste my time watching a TV show I don't even like all that much. Good, when I spend an hour at the gym, just being there and familiarizing myself. Bad, when I haven't seen the sun in five days.
I know motivation to get fit will come as I find myself at the gym every day of the week, just like I find my motivation to keep moving on my creative projects when I'm surrounded by other creative people and their work. For now I'm willing to commit, to invest my time and resources, and "dress for the job I want to have." I don't have to give up all the things that lie outside that sphere, but I do have to recognize that those mundane activities require a piece of my heart, too.
Maybe you're feeling that lack of heart in your work. Maybe you're having a hard time figuring out that next thing, or wanting to solve that issue, or just getting your butt in the chair. If that's the case, start investing your time in creative people and the creative process as a whole. And maybe where you invest your time, your resources, even your money, there your heart will be, too.