With multiple talents, which passion do you follow?

October 18, 2012

How do you choose which of your passions to follow when there are so many creative things that you like to do? How do you know at any given time, given the amount of ideas you are generating, what project to choose, what creative endeavor to concentrate on and move forward with? I have been at this crossroads of thought many times. I have thought through this problem from many different angles and ways, and I’ve come up with some helpful solutions.

First, I want to offer you this quote, from Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7, which is important to me, as a driving force to get your passions accomplished:

“…I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

For each of those figs you can substitute your own creative dreams: writing, music, photography, acting, film script, memoir writing, organizing family memories into beautiful collections, inventing, leading a corporate team to millions in revenue, having a 3rd child, etc. Don’t let them wither and fall off the tree! This is the driving force: avoidance of that.

Now that inspiration to move forward is instilled from the above quote, here are a few things I’ve figured out:

-solitude breeds creativity. be alone with your thoughts, away from tv, phone, bills, and people. Your brain will naturally release into its thoughtful creative zone.

-Choosing one thing does not forsake the others. Once you choose one thing, the others will magically weave into it. For example, if you’re writing a memoir, your acting sensibilities will funnel into making your dialogue scenes dramatic and believable, your scene descriptions will be vivid and memorable because of your filmmaking aspirations, etc. Therefore, it’s important to realize that choosing one thing, does not mean that you are forever saying goodbye or even divorcing yourself from participation with your other interests. They sneak their way into your chosen path.

-Maybe your different interests are manifestations of creative qualities that attract you, not separate directions. Isolate the characteristics of each thing that you like, and maybe some are methods that you would enjoy applying to the One chosen path.

-Following through with one focused endeavor will create the necessity for regular breaks from it. It is in these breaks that the more mundane aspects of life will be enjoyable. It is also in these breaks that you can enjoy one of the interest paths not followed as a lighter hobby.

-It’s important to realize that there are distinct periods of creativity:
Absorption: this may be a calm quiet time where you are only absorbing your experiences and surroundings. You are not producing anything, but this is an important time to feed your subconscious with the experience you need to be able to Proactively produce later. It’s important to realize that you shouldn’t feel bad for the Absorption period, where it feels like you aren’t doing anything. As long as the passion to creative is strong in your heart, you are absorbing the elements needed to be able to create in the end.

Sowing seeds: you begin to make connections to how your experience relates in a specific way to your Ultimate Creative Endeavor

Immersion: you a have period of intense creativity, where you are writing/acting/performing/whatever a lot, a lot of the words are coming out perfectly, you get stuff done. It’s an island, a sort of vacation, where everything else rotates around it, and it is the focus of each day or free hour. Especially the free hours, because we hardly ever get a whole day truly to ourselves, you know? Especially as women! The men and children need to be fed, for one thing. Hahahahha. (Unless you manage to prearrange that with leftovers or takeout.)

Reaping benefits: you get some feedback, acclaim, or a relevant contract. Or the small rewards: you finish a chapter, get a role, record a song, etc.

These periods of creativity can last years or days, each is equally important. It’s important to honor and recognize each of these stages. When you are immersing yourself because your creative flow is there, you must let other things slide. Forget the housework, sleep, or errands. It’s important to be STILL and let these stages work themselves out, because they tend to be brief.

Good luck to all in accomplishing your dreams.

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One Response to “With multiple talents, which passion do you follow?”

  1. Kait Says:

    Love the tips. I find that all of these are right on. Now, finding time to be still..that’s the trick but thankfully, as I’ve made that a priority the Universe (aka my husband) has stepped in to give me space and time for that and my twins have graciously allowed me out of their tiny person sight for an hour at a time. Thanks for posting this!


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