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I'm Pursuing Multiple Things & It May Be My Downfall
How you can love to focus and the flow state but also do many, many things
I've been told in mass that I need to focus.
Focus on one story at a time, or else you get confused.
Finish your drafting story; don't restart it. Ever. Get to the ending first.
Focus on one artistic pursuit at a time.
Don't jump from art project to art project.
On top of that, productivity videos talk about grouping similar tasks, avoiding distractions, and prioritizing the flow state (which, admittedly, I thrive in). All these beat the in idea that focus is the goal and anything else is subpar.
I'm not here to bash focus. In fact, I've turned off phone and email notifications with great success overall. But I do think we miss the nuance of living when we primarily focus on focus.
You see, I decided to start creating what came to my mind. Do I hope to make some money off it and maybe one day have it replace my job? Yes, I do. But I primarily want to create and then share it with others. Making money or gaining followers isn't what I'm after. I want to follow where my creativity takes me.
I'm tired of playing it safe. I want to take risks.
Currently, this looks like building a newsletter and a thriving community around it, launching a small art "business" with various mediums, and pursuing writing stories — all at once.
I can hear the judgmental beliefs:
"You can't do everything."
"You need to slow down. You're going to burn out before you get started."
However, I don't feel burnt out. My life doesn't feel chaotic. Well, at least any more than usual. Instead, I feel alive. I feel more joy than I have in ages, creatively, spiritually, and emotionally. But I'm also not doing it the way those who gave me all those warnings did.
I'm not creating to produce. I'm not setting more than two hard deadlines at once. Because, unlike a lot of those creators, this isn't my source of income. My creation is for the sake of creating.
I wrote a horror short for a contest.
I submitted some older poetry.
I’m learning book-binding. And I bought the stuff to do it.
I started dabbling in lino cutting again.
I invested in a Polaroid printer to print pictures for myself and to sell.
I entered a local "Art Affair" this June with no products besides the books I put on my Esty that didn't sell due to lack of promotion.
Yeah, okay, that last one sounds terribly chaotic.
Yet I know how I'm motivated. Outside pressures and deadlines work wonders for me. Personally, set deadlines fall flat every time. Therefore, I know at least a few listed above will get done solely to not upset the people who put on the event. Because, boy oh boy, do I not want to upset people.
Better yet, I've found that when I'm frustrated with a creative project, I like to switch what I'm working on. For a good majority of people, this wouldn't work. They'd never finish any project. I, on the other hand, am making more progress than ever.
I'm staying dedicated until I reach a certain boiling point. Then I'll work on something else. When I get tired of branding for my art shop, I'll work on my lino cut. When I forget that the entire word needs to be inverted to print correctly right before I fall asleep, I decide to work on my newsletter the next day instead.
My desire to finish my lino work isn't gone.
I want to figure out what to do with the completely-not-inverted letter "P" first. And it's not that I suddenly dislike working on my newsletter. Writing has always been a passion of mine. I don't see that going away anytime soon.
Something I've learned over the years is the sheer amount of paths available to us. Choices and lifestyles can't be contained in the bubble of mass media -- in YouTube, scientific studies, or television. There are more shades of gray than three or five.
There are thousands upon thousands.
One small choice in a series can look disastrous to an outsider. One that could be the downfall of everything we started. Yet it may be the perfect next step. And, sometimes, we need to use what we know works to get us started, even if that way isn't the healthiest or wisest option in the long run.
As Campbell Walker (struthless on YouTube) said in his video If you answered no, watch this:
"Personally, I'm all for using whatever you have available just to get things going. Because the thing that actually matters is all the stuff afterward. And the thing that sucks is seeing people never even start."
Sometimes you have to be a little crazy when starting. Because starting is better than doing nothing.
PS. Apologies for the late newsletter. I miscalculated my weeks and thought last week was an off week when it wasn’t!