10 ways to kick your butt back into gear

"A Quilting Bee in the Olden Time" by H. W. Pierce, an 1876 print

Blargh. Sorry I haven’t posted much lately. I needed a bit of a break after NYC and then there was then last week something pretty awful happened that threw off everything.

*deep breath*


I thought I’d write a bit of a blog about how to find inspiration and motivation again when you’re feeling crappy about OH GOSH… LIFE, THE WORLD, AND EVERYTHING. NBD.


Hiding does not make the cosplay projects go away, Cat.

Each person is going to have a different way to get their passion (for cosplay fashion) back, but I thought I’d share a couple things that have worked for me and my friends in the past. If something works for you that I haven’t listed below, drop me a line in the comments! I’m always looking for more ways to stay motivated.


How to Kick Your Own Butt

1 – Do something else for a while

Workshop part 1

Oh my god, so clean. I need to clean my current workspace ;_;

Go for a walk, clean up your place, go out for lunch. Nap. If you’re unmotivated because you’re stuck on a problem, I find that a walk to get tea or something helps my brain stop fixating. It’s usually on the way back home/to the project that I figure out a solution.

One of my profs in school told us that working on something for longer than 8 hours will reduce your abilities to basically being drunk. This is why cramming or all nighters aren’t as productive as working in smaller chunks over a longer period of time.


2 – Break it down


Speaking of smaller chunks… If you’re staring in horror at the blank, uncut beautiful silk velvet, and you’re terrified at the enormity of your project (hahhhh *sob*) take an hour or so and break down the project into manageable pieces. I’ve talked about this before, with my CPP post. (I’ll be writing a follow up to this one on how to use OneNote to it’s absolute most awesome!)

Once you’ve got smaller chunks, work on one at a time. Celebrate finishing a piece with something you like. An episode of your favourite show, hot chocolate, dance-your-pants-off-party, whatever suits you.


3 – Have a social get together with fellow cosplayer/makers.

ColossalCon Crew

Sometimes being around other motivated people helps. Hell, being around other people who are unmotivated but share the same hobbies as you can help. Do something fun, either fabric shopping, lunch, or a game night. You can complain about what you’re stuck on and swap ideas on how to get past it.


4- Try something new

Close up Wild elf

I hadn’t worked with leather in a loooong ass time.

If your specialty is armor, try a simple sewn costume. If all you’ve done lately is poufy ball gowns, what about a sleek superhero? Spice up your cosplay life with variety. I do suggest though, that when you’re trying something new, start small. Getting over-ambitious can be a real problem and actually make staying motivation even harder.


5- Alternate what you’re working on


I’m taking a nice long break from armor after WCSC.

Breaking up monotony can help me stay motivated. If I finish a large sewing piece, then instead of moving onto the next sewing part, I’ll work on the wig or a prop for a bit to give myself something ‘fresh’ to do. Much like point 4, alternating components gives you a breath of fresh air (so to speak. Fumes of hair spray and paint aren’t fresh) so that you don’t get bogged down.


6- Host a Stitch-n-Bitch.

"A Quilting Bee in the Olden Time" by H. W. Pierce, an 1876 print

“A Quilting Bee in the Olden Time” by H. W. Pierce

Either in person or over Google Hangouts, hanging out with friends while you work is a great way to stay motivated. It’s a little bit of peer pressure (the good kind!) that guilt-trips you into working, a little bit of supervision when friends notice you’re not working, and a little bit of excitement over watching other people’s cosplays come together.

Not to mention, it’s super easy to troubleshoot by holding up a piece that’s not working and asking a friend for help.


7- Watch/play some of the source material

YMMV on this one, but if I’m working on a longer term project, I like to put on a video of it to watch as I work. It helps remind me what I loved about the series or the costume, whether it’s a movie, anime or a Let’s Play of the game.

I might also make faces/act out the character’s lines/reactions that I’m making.

Don’t judge.

Bedazzling Cat

Cosplay cat judges enough for the both of you.


8- Google some tutorials about the part you’re stuck at.


This is literally the main page of Instructables right now.

Maybe there’s an easier way to do something you’re frustrated with. Maybe it’s easier to know that other people have struggled through the same frustrations and setbacks, and they made it through. Youtube and Instructables are amazing for finding image heavy tutorials and step by step guides.


9- Browse tumblr’s concept art and fan art tags

Josh Corpuz's Red Knights

wonderful designs by Josh Corpuz

See if anything triggers that gut-hook reaction of “OMFG I NEED TO MAKE THIS”. Sometimes you need to play the field, yo. I’m not advocating abandoning projects the moment you hit a snag, but it’s okay to set something aside for a while if you really absolutely can’t look at it anymore.

BUT. If you start things, you should still work on finishing them. I know I have a backlog to work through, but the only costume I’ve really abandoned was Connor, because I’d have to start the ENTIRE thing over. Stupid thick fabric, breaking all my needles.


10- Take a break.

Relax. Live. Put away your sewing machine and heat gun.

Villa Patio

Enjoy life. Awh Yiss.

Don’t force yourself to work on something that you’ll wind up hating your hobby over. Unless cosplay is your livelihood (a la Nigri, and Yaya) then there is absolutely no reason to force yourself to keep going. Finish out your con commitments, and don’t make any new ones until you’re reinvigorated and happy.

Don’t stress out over a hobby that you no longer love.

hope this helps people out, just writing it has lit a fire under my butt to get stuff done again. <3

xox Calamity

2 thoughts on “10 ways to kick your butt back into gear

  1. Are you tired of me telling you all your posts are awesome? I think this is one of those big issues cosplayers have that they don’t really talk about, so bless this post.