Making music doesn’t really drain me out, rather it fills me up so I can go on doing daily chores with more energy. I honestly can’t recalled last time I felt I needed to break away from the studio and do something else to regain energy. Ear fatigue is one thing that stops me from going on for a long time, but really, sitting in the studio is the “resting” part of my day. Having a family and a house is a lot of work, and if it was just to “regain energy” I would choose the studio every time.
However, there are times when I get stuck with a track, get a bit tired or frustrated, and run out of ideas how to make it sound better. Usually what I do is close it down and open up another project, or start a new one. It’s always good to take a short break as well, just a quick snack or a cup of tea, reading the news, or lying down for a bit. Silence can be a great motivator. Picking up another instrument is always fun, or even better, buy a new one. Recently I’ve spent hours just comparing different jazz guitars on the web
When a track doesn’t sell, usually I don’t care much, other than trying to make a better track the next time. I don’t know if I really have another “driving force” than constantly making more music, I don’t know if that’s a bit sad or if I should be grateful. I have been trying other careers but I always come back to music. What’s interesting though is figuring out exactly what part of making music is the most enjoyable and motivating. It’s definitely not mixing, I can tell I think I have the most “flow” when I’m just starting out with a new idea that I’ve had in my head for a while, after recording a few tracks and getting a feel for how it sounds. The first hour or so into a new project, I guess that’s where the sweet spot is. Then it’s inevitably a lot of the somewhat boring fine tuning and tweaking, giving it a rest over night, final mix and upload.
Besides music… well I play squash, chess, watch movies, TED talks or a good stand-up. But not as a motivator, I guess. Maybe my ultimate motivator is lack of time, really. Try filling half your day with any other random things of a “chore” or “uninspired” nature, I’m sure you’ll find joy in music soon enough