I was lucky to be able to attend the SCBWI NY Conference this past weekend. Several speakers talked about doing a project that's calling to you, instead of following trends or the marketplace.
Sometimes you need to write a story or paint a picture that's just for you. It's the kind of project that keeps you up at night, or the brilliant idea that nobody but you will understand. It could be inspired by a story on the news, your kids, or a trip to a museum. You're passionate about it. You lose track of time while you're working on it.
Your evil inner voice says, "No, don't do that! Nobody will want that project! It Sucks!"
Tell your evil inner voice to be quiet. Create that story or artwork, even if you think that nobody will ever want to read it or look at it. You'll never know what it could be unless you let down your guard and lose yourself in that crazy idea you have.
The funny thing about "just for you" projects is that they have the potential to be your best work. Art directors and editors love to see art and read stories that the creator is passionate about. When you take emotional and creative risks, it can bring out universal truths that resonate with everyone, not just you.
Write that weird story you think will be boring! Draw that odd image that you think will be ugly! You might be surprised what happens when you stop thinking and just create.
Do a project just for you!