Marching to the beat of my own drummer... again

Carolynn at A Glowing Ember left a comment on my last blog post that has given me yet another epiphany. (Actually, her comment is the only comment that's been left. And I think I know why.)

First, here's Carolynn's comment:
"It sounds like an interesting read. Author, Barbara Sher offers a different perspective in her book Refuse to Choose. It spoke to me, because I have so many diverse interests and have always felt paralyzed and unable to take action because I felt I had to choose to do just one of them. Her website, has more information on the books she's written."
I read and re-read the above comment. I let it mull in my brain.  Here's what I think...

I think the majority of creatives are like Carolynn describes herself above. The full title of Barbara Sher's book is "Refuse to Choose: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams". Most creatives need permission to pursue anything they want and not have to focus their efforts in order for them to be inspired, bloom and produce beautiful things.

I think that the minority of creatives are like me.  Today, I realized that for my entire life I've thought that if I am capable of doing something well then I was obligated to include it in my repertoire of "what I do". Just as Barbara Sher suggests, my mental script was definitely allowing me to have as many creative pursuits as I wanted.

I believe this mental script is a product of growing up in the unique household I did where the general family motto was (and still is) "How hard can it be?" If you wanted something but were on a tight budget you figured out how to make it yourself. It didn't matter what it was... a fashionable outfit... delicious artisanal french bread... a finely upholstered piece of furniture... a house. It didn't matter. The motto always applied, because, heck, somebody has to make it so why not that "somebody" be me?

Well, there's a downside to that way of approaching life...

Since I have been encouraged to be proficient in many things, from tiling my own shower to sewing my own clothes, when it came to my artistic pursuits my repertoire has become unwieldy, unmanageable and paralyzing. I currently sit in a studio surrounded by the supplies to make just about anything imaginable. I have bookmaking supplies to make and bind a book from scratch (and I mean "scratch"). I have every kind of paint in every color you could slap on a canvas or piece of paper with the proper paint brushes for each medium (I've got the blank canvases and paper too). I have sketchbooks full of illustration sketches that still are waiting to be finalized and brought into being in full technicolor and idea notes hanging on my bulletin board reminding of me of illustrations that don't even have sketches yet. I have enough supplies to provide the floral arrangements for an entire wedding and not have to buy anything but the flowers. And the sad thing is that most of what I've just listed remains in its original packaging untouched and unused.


That's the place I've been at for quite some time now... the place of "Why?"

If I have a dedicated studio and all the supplies I could possibly imagine, why am I not creating something with them? Why am I seemingly paralyzed?

Now anyone following my blog all this time is probably thinking, "You weren't paralyzed. You were posting photos and creating stationery designs all this time. You were creating like crazy!"

Notice that my case of creative paralysis affected every creative pursuit in my life except photography and stationery design. Every time I've felt like I'm drowning in all the creative projects and supplies that remain untouched, I have retreated to the place that makes me the happiest and still lets me feel the gratification of creating something--the "go to" creative outlet of photography and/or stationery design.

Yes, I'm probably the odd ball for having given myself too much creative permission (it wouldn't be the first time I'm an odd ball). I'm also probably in the minority among creatives when the thought of narrowing down my creative pursuits to only two focuses feels like the most liberating and freeing act I've done in a long time.

Yup... the more I think about it, I really am an odd bird.

This male Anna's hummingbird didn't crash into the water fountain, he isn't dead and he isn't taking a nap...
he's taking a rather vigorous bath and loving every moment of it.

I have no affiliation with the book mentioned in this post.
I don't receive any compensation for having mentioned the book.
I don't receive any compensation for you clicking the link 
that I've provided for your convenience.

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  1. To thine own self be true Cindy and I applaud you for having the internal fortitude to just say no and devote yourself to your photography and stationary designing. You have a real gift for it and we are thankful that you have chosen to march to your own beat. Love the hummingbird photograph, amazing! And if you're looking to clear out that fully stocked studio of yours, I happen to know a diversified creative who'd be happy to take some of those untouched supplies off your hands ;O) Deb

    1. Thank you, Deb! I really appreciate your encouraging words. It has taken a lot to make this hard business decision but it feels SO good!

  2. Cindy, I glad that you are finding your creative way! Do those things that make you happy (but you already know that).
    Hugs and love,

  3. I totally understand what you're saying in this post. I find myself in the same position. I have a lot of interests, a lot of things I do well, and I am often paralyzed by what to do next. I definitely can't do it all.


  4. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.
    Philippians 4:13 NKJV

    I believe that God gives us many talents and a time for each to be manifested. I love to paint, create cards, scrapbook, decorate, sew a bit and more~just not all at one time. (heehee)I love reading about your creative endeavors. Keep on creating, Cindy and enjoy every minute of it, dear.

  5. I loved this post, and find myself agreeing with so many of your points..

    I think I came from the same kind of family as you did. We made so many of our things too.

    Cindy, I am so sorry not to read your fabulous posts, I just can't seem to keep up with everyone lately.

    But I am trying.


    1. Oh Jen! You are truly a kindred spirit (in the words of Anne Shirley). Don't even worry about whether you've read my blog posts. You've got a lot going on.

  6. Cindy, I TOTALLY get what you are saying. I, too, hoarde art supplies but most of it sits unused. On rare occasions, I branch out and start a painting but they are often left unfinished. Photography has definitely been my "go to" for creative satisfaction lately. To me, it is quick and rewarding and fits into my busy "stay at home mom" life right now. There are seasons for everything and right now if photography and stationary designing makes you happy then revel in it! The day will come when painting may feel more right. Who knows? Creativity is a vibrant, living and rather unpredictable energy. Us creatives just have to make peace with that and enjoy the ride. :) Right? Great post and I love your work! xo. Ivy

    1. Yup, Ivy, you totally get it! I know I'll eventually paint something again. But the next time I do it will be simply because I want to and not because its a core component of my business.

  7. Claudia--How did I know you'd probably be one who would understand? Thank you!!!!

  8. Charlotte--I completely agree that God gives us many talents for the many different seasons in our lives. I'm probably slow on the uptake but I finally figured out that not every talent He gives me needs to be a business/career focus. :-)


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