Time to unleash that wayward multi-tasking artist

I’ve noticed recently that my interest in artistic work isn’t what it used to be.  My work output has just been deathly quiet for a long time and I really struggle to get any work done.  I just can’t feel enthusiastic painting and drawing as I did when I was younger.  I suspected this was just a result of me becoming older and losing that buzz, or that my frustrations with other aspects of life had just dampened my enthusiasm.  Those seemed like reasonable explanations.

So this general feeling of “meh” led me back to doing my morning pages – writing stream-of-consciousness for 3 pages each day.  And some meditation each morning too.  I wanted to find out what the problem was and return to a more productive workflow.

I did my morning pages today and realised that I had a much simpler problem.  I’m bored!  Instead of letting myself create different types of art and crafts alongside each other, my sensible side decided that I must focus on one discipline and not deviate from it.  No matter how much I wanted to stop drawing and make some jewellery, I didn’t let it happen.  I forced myself to specialise. One by one my specialities were abandoned after the forced specialisation got too frustrating.  My mind simply resents being told it must stick on one path, stamps its little foot and tantrums.

I admire anyone who is genuinely delighted that they do the same thing each and every day.  But for me it’s like some advanced mind torture. Rather than improving my output and making me into a better artist, it drove me crazy, killed the output and made me worse.  Screw that for a game of soldiers!

So, I had a think about this and here’s what I decided:

  1. I’m miserable if I stick on one path.  Even my sensible side admits this was dumb 😀
  2. Each time I leave crafts and favour a speciality, those skills get rusty through lack of practice.
  3. Rusty skills mean wasted time practicing to get back up to speed.
  4. Considering 2 and 3, it’s better to have all my skills sharp at any given time.
  5. More sharp skills enable mixed media/technique work which would make me stand out in the artistic crowd.
  6. I would have a range of stock to sell at different venues.
  7. I’m not going to be putting all my eggs in one basket depending on 1 single discipline for my income.
  8. Variety during the day will prevent me sitting too long in one position which is better for my body than sitting over the same thing all day long.

So it’s official… I’m going back to multi-tasking!

Moving forward I’m going to return to a previous workflow that I enjoyed.  Where I allow myself one project for each discipline – one knitting thing, one crochet, one painting and so forth.  Then I can switch between activities for variety but I don’t accumulate a ton of unfinished work.  I’ll probably be more relaxed than that – I’m very good at finishing work even if I don’t feel it’s going well.  But I am certainly going to let myself have variety in my working day.

2 thoughts on “Time to unleash that wayward multi-tasking artist

  1. Thank You! I don’t feel so guilty anymore. I haven’t drawn anything for weeks, and know I’m getting rusty. I’ve always reasoned out that I need to specialize on drawing and that I need to get better at drawing anatomy, but recently, I’ve found out that I like working with my hands to “crafty” work. I tried to draw something yesterday and it came out awful. But it’s been too much fun fixing the garden and building stuff just using the materials at hand like tree branches and bamboo. It’s fun, and i can’t say that I’m not being creative. It’s challenging to do something useful and attractive without spending any money.

    What you’ve posted really resonates with me and makes me think that maybe I’m not wasting my time at all by doing all this. Thank you so much.

  2. I’m so glad you found my post useful 🙂 I always find gardening is great for both inspiration and also when you focus on a manual task it’s like the creative bit of your mind suddenly has space to pop up with ideas. It’s handy always having a wee notebook and pencil in your back pocket so you don’t miss any. I’ve been known to write poem ideas down in the middle of a field of sheep hehe. And you could always try sketching what you’ve done outside into a journal.

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