Painting pictures, playing instruments, writing books… whatever it may be, it seems that everybody has creative pursuits that they wish to pursue. Except that most of them will never be pursued. People promise themselves to make time to draw, write, paint, [insert verb] without ever actually getting around to it. I understand though, life is busy, and we have to make time for immediate tasks such as making money for survival (having a job) and entertainment. I find this is often because creative pursuits offers neither of these rewards to most people – they don’t get paid and they want the enjoyment of finishing a project rather than enjoyment from the process of learning / performing it.
Over recent years I have dabbled in the creative pursuits of blogging, website creation, writing books, and making videos, as well as other projects which I don’t share. I remember the first time I started a blog, and the excitement of starting it all, discovering new tools like this and choosing a name, writing my first post, getting my first comment. Since then it has continued to bring rewards – having the blog has served as a creative platform where I can share some of these creations and allows me to share information I find relevant in the hope that it may be useful for others. I have used many blogs during my own research of upcoming ideas and I find it valuable to see other people’s honest accounts of their experiences. The blog also allows for feedback, thus allowing both welcome and unwelcome responses, largely due to the fact that if I don’t enjoy my time in a place, I will say so – invariably this upsets people who live in the places I haven’t enjoyed. I originally titled the blog Great Big Scary World as I undertook a hitchhiking journey with many highs and lows, choosing to share both positive and negative experiences rather than making everything sound like it is extremely positive, so will continue to do so, but it is always a curious experience to read personal attacks from strangers when they occur. Aside from the odd negative comment, most interactions through this site have been largely positive and I have had the pleasure of meeting several people in person after first becoming acquaintances in the digital world. Even more importantly for me, I have connected with like minded individuals across the world who I wouldn’t have otherwise found and these individuals (or groups of people) have given me many more ideas with which to fill my notebooks.
Somewhere back in England, I have notepads full of unrealised ideas. Each of the creative pursuits that I have undertaken takes time, but do offer some reward. Blogging has creating many fulfilling online interactions with readers, website creation offered financial return to fund my lifestyle, writing books was an enjoyable process and I enjoyed the interactions with readers that resulted, and making videos is both a fun process and a happy memory for the future. Unfortunately I am yet to find a creative pursuit that offers both pleasure and financial reward to continue my lifestyle – not that I need much.
Over the past year I lived in Australia, largely working 70+ hour weeks and I found my drive to do anything creative was completely diminished. By the end of each working day I was fairly exhausted and wanted to relax idly, either reading or spending time with friends, not working on creative pursuits. As a result, I made very little.
Since leaving Australia, I went (unsuccessfully) cycling in New Zealand and then visited the west coast of North America (San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria), before arriving in my current location, Detroit. For the next few weeks I have lots of time, which is a rarity, and the question now arises regarding what to do with it. I could be creative, but what to focus on? Do I pick one task and focus on that, or spread myself wide (and thin) following up on multiple ideas at the same time? And how do you keep that focus / drive going for extended periods of time? Any feedback on this from others with similar experiences would be appreciated.