Keeping Creative Momentum after Graduation

By Jessica Molčan

As I’ve tackled university graduation once already, I distinctly remember the emotions surrounding it: stress, elation, exhaustion, happiness, and this shiny positive outlook that everything will work out ‘just right’ after walking up to that podium to receive my diploma. I also recall the disillusionment afterwards. Finding a job in my field was difficult with a focus in English Literature and Visual Art. Producing art was challenging without deadlines and professors holding me accountable to my production level or the pressure of starting graduate studies in the fall. I overcame a lot of these challenges, and I’d like to share my experience with you. Whether you’re heading into the work force or biding your time before graduate studies begin, here are some ways to keep your creative momentum after school ends.

Seek Out Opportunity

Opportunity doesn’t come knocking, and good things don’t happen to those who wait. You need to get out and find opportunities that speak to you. A way to give yourself a deadline is to look for open artist calls or juried shows for which you will have to submit recent work. Challenge yourself to create something new. If you’re a writer, keep an eye out for writers’ calls in art publications. Don’t expect opportunities to show up just because you’re talented—go find them.

Make A Schedule

If you want to make art, film, design, or writing your career, you should treat it as that: a career, or more simply put, a job. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be less passionate about your work, but showing up, acknowledging you may fail, and attempting to create something can help assist you find something new to be excited about. Creating a schedule will also help keep you accountable in creating new work.

Make What You Want to See

They say, “write what you know,” but author Austin Kleon begs to differ: “write the book you want to read”. This same advice can apply to other disciplines. Make the film you want to watch, design the product you want to use, create the painting you want to see, and write the book you want to read. Get out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons.

Band Together

Find a group of peers that want to get together after graduation to help create a space for your work to evolve. One of the major events we take for granted as students are our critiques. It’s so rare that we get people together to give us critical feedback of our work. If you have a peer group that you can meet with once a month, not only will it give you the momentum to keep creating, but you’ll also glean valuable feedback on your work.

Hopefully some of this will help you keep momentum when it comes to producing after graduation. Have any ideas that have helped you stay self-motivated? Leave them below.