If you can’t be a million places at once

…then it could be time to narrow your focus.

(This is a brain dump post and will be of little interest to anyone. You have been warned.)

That’s sort of what I’m doing. I’ve spent quite a time wanting to pursue so many different avenues of (potential) career and hobby interest that I end up getting bogged down with the weight of all the options. It’s in that state that I make progress in no direction at all. So I’ve whittled it down a bit: what is important for me to pursue?

Writing: but what type of writing? It’s true that writing for women’s weeklies can burn your creative soul to a crisp but that it is a potentially lucrative and steady arena for publication. What to do? It is not a priority. It is the distraction when the ‘real’ writing isn’t happening. It is fast-food. A candy bar. Not an area – at least not for me – to focus too much energy.
Book writing and competitions hold far more of my interest and attention. Focus there and let the other stuff fall in when I need the constructive distraction or exercise. Before analysing the areas I enjoy, each was fighting for attention and in that muddled mess I found nothing stood out enough to work on with real focus. It was all equal noise – and too easy to drown out completely. Now the projects know their place in the pack.
Of course, this pecking order has a flaw: the writing course I’m on is currently focused on those soul-zapping, intellect-stunting women’s publications. So, the primary focus needs to be for me to just get through it until the next assignment takes a different path. It would seem that this invalidates the order of my plan, but in fact just knowing that there is a plan is tremendously helpful. It’s like seeing the island on the horizon – there are still miles to go before I reach it, but the waves somehow seem a bit smaller for knowing where the shore is.

Code: Hot damn! I love code. There is so much I want to learn and do. I seem to have a general knack for the whole CSS/XHTML cross-browser/cross-platform thing, and that will remain in my forefront, although a pace behind the writing. I have the desire to learn PHP, Code Ignitor, and other geeky mojo, but these will have to be indulgences in the vein of having a hobby. WriteRelief is the exception to new code/geek projects, as it is already in development motion, is involved with writing, and a damn fine service in the works. However, it cannot become my reason to drop writing in favour of learning new stuff. The ‘stuff’ will have to fit in as a hobby. It is all too easy to be completely distracted by something you enjoy. I require discipline here.

Music: Part of my life in the states involved always having a PA set up and a drummer in the house. Aaron and I made musical noise with some regularity and I miss that. I now live in a flat, not a detached house, and cannot indulge in that sort of creativity without upsetting neighbours. I would love to channel this into learning Reason as music is an important part of my creative self. This too, is being categorised as a hobby interest. The writing still comes first, no matter what.

Art: I don’t paint as often as I should and that’s fine right now. The art part of me needs to be resuscitated, but not now. Some things just need to be stored in a precious box on the shelf for another time. Clearly, I have plenty to work on without it.

Photography: I am really loving the growth I’ve acheived in this area over the past couple of years. I’ve always loved to take pictures but now I’m understanding what makes a good shot, how to post-process for better colour and sharpness, and beginning to understand what all those other settings on the camera are for. I’m finally craving a better tool to use – perhaps a Canon or Nikon digital SLR, but these are not inexpensive tinker toys. I think I’ve got enough under my belt to take my photography to the next level, but making some money (through writing) is necessary to warrant such an upgrade. (I have fortunately left my credit cards to gather dust for most of nearly two years and though it would be easy enough to get the camera I want with credit, it is not so easy to pay for it. I’m becoming way too sensible for my age.)

That’s about it. For now. I needed to dump this out somewhere and my blog seemed a logical place for it.
I have been given an incredible opportunity to do what it is that I enjoy, but as you can see, I enjoy too many things! With any luck, this loose prioritising can get me on track and rocketing towards success – which for me, is enjoying what I do and being able to pay for the privilege of doing it. I think I can manage that. I see my island.

Now it’s off for a mid-morning shower, then some lunch with the in-laws.


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3 thoughts on “If you can’t be a million places at once”

  1. As you go into the shower, I come out of a bath thinking basically the same sort of thing. I keep obsessing about how much I could do; how much I want to do, but I never factor in the time and energy quotient, as well as the strong desire to earn money.

    I have a few creative projects in mind, but with so many other dull (but necessary) commitments it’s difficult to slice up my life, and I often forget to ‘schedule’ in the leisures.

    I hope you find your optimal outlet – at least it is better to be full of ideas and choosing between them, than to have no ideas and a complete void!

  2. Wow, Sven! You get a gold star for wading through my brain dump! 😀

    It’s funny how enjoying so much can be absolutely torturous! Sounds like you are also never bored… it’s both a curse and a blessing, isn’t it.

  3. It’s all too easy to go on a camera buying spree, just look at my camera bag! 🙂

    As it is, I’m seriously thinking of ‘downgrading’ to the new Nikon D80. My plans to take my photography full time aren’t really coming to fruition and therefore I don’t really need the monster that is the D2H.

    As for code, I’ve recently picked up Learning Perl again and am serious about getting beyond the first couple of chapters this time. Time will tell.

    – Neil.

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