I was putting ink to paper in my journal the other morning and wrote the following –
“Balance. That’s the key here, I think. Not too much of any one thing, but just enough of everything.”
I think that balance is something we desperately need in our lives, but very few of us strive for it. What I mean is, our brains have a habit of fixating or focusing on one or two things. When that happens, the everything else takes a back seat. While it can be useful to focus on a couple of big, important things at one time, I feel that it can overwhelm us and prevent us from accomplishing more.
Of course, I’m not saying we should allow ourselves to be distracted by every shiny thing that catches our attention. I’m talking about moderation. To me, moderation is the ability to have multiple projects going on, working on each one a little bit as time allows, and not getting too caught up on any one thing.
Some creative types only work on one thing at a time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just their work style. For me, however, I often have several creative projects in progress at any given time. I have several short stories in progress, a novel, a podcast, and other miscellaneous bits and pieces. But I find that I when I focus on just one project, I begin to feel guilty that I’m letting the other ones gather dust. Must be my Catholic upbringing.
What works for me is to seek balance with my creativity. A little writing one day, a little podcasting the next, maybe some drawing practice or fiddling around with my guitar in between. I feel like working this way keeps my mind fresh, allows me to experiment a little more, and gives me the opportunity to approach each project with fresh eyes.
I know that when I’ve gone on a writing binge, like the first draft of my novel, I worked on that beast every day for three months. It was nothing but the novel. And towards the end of that run I felt as if my brain was drained and I had to struggle and push myself to make it to the end. It wasn’t fun. Or at least, the initial love I felt for the project was tempered by exhaustion. I didn’t like that.
With finding balance, I maintain that higher level of creativity, I stay in love with my various projects, and I seem to have a constant stream of ideas and things I want to try.
Do you try to keep your projects balanced, or do you work on one thing at a time until it’s complete?