1. Limit your tools - do this by first focusing on one form of media and even substrate...not to say that you shouldn't experiment but it is such a good practice to create a body of work. At different times I even utilized only one size of canvas while limiting my palette to primary colours + white. It's a great way to stretch those creative muscles.
2. Don't listen to others - keep your work close to your heart for awhile...feedback is nice but not until you're confidant in what you do. One of the hardest things to do is to listen to that still, small voice inside that really knows what you should do...pay attention to what draws your attention.
3. Create a routine - and if possible, a space that you can leave your work-in-progress and materials without having to put them away. There are days I don't feel like painting but I will pop into my studio and look for awhile...which leads to just doing one thing...which leads to a couple of hours of happy work without even realizing. When I worked full time I got up at 6:00 am every day to paint for an hour before getting ready to head out the door. I still do that most days but fortunately I now get to paint for several hours each day.
4. Don't worry about perfection - this is a tough one. Sometimes we tend to compare ourselves to others, which is not a good thing. We each have our own skills, talents, experiences and genetic make-up so of course we will be different. And that's a beautiful thing.
5. Ignore trends - trends are created by doing something new and different. And in this ever-changing fast-paced world they come and go very quickly. It's good to focus on what you love, what catches your own eye and heart...and create your own trends.
6. Let go of the past - this can be a tough one...I know. I painted chairs for many, many years and then took a sabatical, which included not painting in acrylics at all. I experimented with different media and subject matter and after a couple of years came back to the chairs because it was comfortable. It was okay, but I had lost my passion for it, so I'm glad that I finally took the leap to allow myself to do whatever it was that interested me. And it's been a very good thing. Now I'm loving what I do all over again.