June 04, 2004
Change of focus

creative perspectivesI’ve been floundering. I can’t seem to get anything finished. None of my projects are going where I want them to. There are lots of hurdles and blocks— some are of my own making, others not. It’s rather frustrating.

My frustration morphs into a series of bad feelings, irritable moods and depressed thoughts including all of the time-honored artistic temperament classics: Do I have any talent or skill whatsoever? Any original ideas? Why am I doing this stuff anyway? What’s the point? How can I possibly think my work is any good? Mr. XYZ is better at this than me, so why should I try? Wouldn’t I be better off with a “real” job pointlessly shuffling papers somewhere?

So my daunting digital pile of uncompleted work sits untouched. And so do my physical piles. Nothing’s getting done at all, even my normally tidy house is adrift in dust. The lack of progress aggravates the bad feelings, further preventing me from getting anything done. A vicious cycle.

have-lack.gifBut it’s breakable. This morning, I decided to look at the situation from a different angle:

I have accomplished a great deal. The unfinished projects are avenues for continuation and growth. Books, stories and screenplays started. Art underway. Footage shot but unedited. There’s effort behind it; look at how far I got. No reason to stop now. Let me add more to what I’ve already done and see how much farther it goes.

I think this is the secret to happiness in many aspects of life, not just creativity. People who focus on what they want but don’t have—whether it’s consumer goods, love, fame, creativity or something else—are rarely happy.

My glass is not half empty. It’s half full.

Posted by kuri at June 04, 2004 11:37 AM


(XYZ = Ultrabob) ;-)

This is so true! I really need to try to keep it in mind when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I should focus on how much I can get done, not how much I have to do. (slightly different from what you said, but in the same vein).

Posted by: UltraBob on June 4, 2004 12:02 PM

Believe in what you do and you will focus!

Posted by: Dad on June 5, 2004 05:57 AM

nevertheless, accomplishment is a terminus.
are you traveling with a particular station in mind, or, are you just riding the rails aimlessly.
daily, while you are having yr morning coffee, recall that there is a practical difference between just “utsunimya houmen” and “nikko yuki” in terms of accomplishment, though directionally they may be the same.

wake up. snap out of it. you’re in the pepsi generation you know.

Posted by: niji on June 5, 2004 10:11 PM

‘Risk…is the refusal to forget desire.’ (Peter Black, 2003)

This quote, along with your ‘Focus on what you have, not what you lack’, are the focuses of my attempts to get myself back on track today.

Good luck, and a spark or two of inspiration, to us!

Posted by: j-ster on June 7, 2004 12:23 PM

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
-Anthem by Leonard Cohen

I particularly like the last two lines. Doesn’t it speak of hope? I hope the phase passes over soon. You are not alone, if it helps. :-))

Posted by: KC on June 7, 2004 03:15 PM

Spot on. And just the encouragement I needed today.

Speaking of which, when I was a child, I never got bogged down in my projects because my Mom and four sisters were always starting something and their enthusiasm would ignite my own passions and keep them burning. Now on my own, I count on your “Creative Perspectives” for a kick-start each week. Thanks.

Posted by: M Sinclair Stevens on June 8, 2004 09:30 PM
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