I’ve never been particularly good at figuring out who I am, from a work standpoint. I’m good at a lot of things, but passionate about fewer things. Still, I’m passionate about a number of things, and I can’t seem to land on one of them. I think of myself first as a maker, a dabbler in the creative arts. Writing, painting, sculpting, designing, taking photographs — all of these activities give me the greatest amount of satisfaction among the various types of work.
But I’m also a good relationship builder, communicator, researcher, team builder, analyst, and strategist. These skills are more marketable as a professional, but ultimately less satisfying on a human level. They pay the bills, as it were, so that I can spend my free time (what little there is with my brood of children running amok in the world) pursuing the creative arts. To what end? For the joy of it, surely, but also for the elusive promise of commercial success, the ultimate validation of the artist in the modern world.
The Internet has surely changed things for creatives. There are so many outlets for your work, and you feel this overarching need to cram as much of it as you can into as many venues as possible. Some of these venues are for mere exposure or sharing, others are so you can make a buck. Some are professional, others are personal. Right now I write for at least five different websites, have my design work front and center (though uncredited) on my company’s website, have artwork and photos in at least three different places (not including Facebook), have opened an Etsy store for my sculptures (only one little minion in there now who happens to be pretty damn spendy, give it time though…I have a shelf full of them and they won’t all cost that much), and have a bunch of t-shirts and bumperstickers dispersed through several stores on Zazzle and CafePress. None of this includes the creative sharing that’s happening on an almost day-to-day basis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or the content creation I do through Snip.It so I can hang on to all the bits and pieces I read/view/gawk at to fuel the creative process. Oh, or the 13,000 some-odd words I’ve put into my NaNoWriMo novel this month, which I obviously won’t finish in time but hope to at least finish some time.
It’s like death by a thousand cuts. I put too much effort into too many projects in too many different places, and sometimes I wonder how many times I can go back to the well. I haven’t written in this space since freaking August. That’s crazy to me. In the back of my head, I also have this idea rattling around that I need to re-purpose this space to better reflect all the different projects I’m working on, and this ethos of being a maker of stuff, but it’s all so fragmented I don’t know how to capture it. And it takes so much damned time to do it all myself, pulling together all the pieces and finding the right technology to showcase it and turn it all into something that forms something like a coherent whole.
I’m probably doing something wrong. But this is how I roll. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be more focused. It’s probably pretty neat, but then again, if my mind weren’t constantly bouncing from thing to thing like a crack-addled pinball I don’t know how it would affect my process. I piece together so many disparate sources of inspiration when I make things, and I only do that because I’m all over the place.
Are you focused? Are you not focused but have found tools to help you get there? Inquiring, ADD-riddled minds want to know.