Thursday, December 15, 2016

When Being Too Creative is a Crutch

I'm a writer. I'm an artist. I write books. I create book covers for myself and for others as a freelance business. I also draw portraits in pencil as a hobby and sometimes, for commissions. A plentiful cornucopia of artistic endeavors. And that might be the problem.

Too much and you might choke one or more of those endeavors. Scattering one's energy and talents can leave you drained, with little time to devote to one entirely. And sometimes, if you're like me, you need to remain focused on one thing in order to fulfill it to the best of your ability. Giving of yourself in piecemeal affects the quality of one and all, I feel.

I've always been both an artist and a writer. I began my love affair with both at about the same time. One led to the other. They came wedded to each other. I dabbled with my drawings, but suddenly realized how much more in love I was with words. I wrote short stories and dark poems that got published in fanzines, or better described as magazines and publications that were privately, or fan produced, labors of love. Some paid me minuscule amounts, whole others were all for glory and exposure and yes, for fun. Pure fun. This was the early 70s, mind you. I wonder if many today even know what a fanzine was back then. They were the lifeblood of writers just starting out. And all of them were print. There was no digital revolution in 1970. Artwork was done by hand. Magazines and fanzines were printed on paper, some of them printed in mimeograph paper. Remember that? Well, maybe not many of you do. Google it.

As a writer, I have won multiple awards for my books. I had the glitter of stars in my eyes. I dreamt of multi figured writing contracts offered by the big New York publishers, fans lining up for my books and fame and glory. Ha. That never happened. My dream never happened. Every author dreams of signing a big contract with a big publisher and landing a real job as a writer. I settled for being self published, a very select reader base, and pennies as income for my books on monthly basis from Amazon. At least my fall from the top didn't hurt much because I never made it very far to fall from. But the failing of my dream still nags at me, making my discontent with my writing almost a form of hating the idea of writing or publishing. It was easy to turn my back on it and concentrate on my artwork instead. Yes, I now have a freelance business creating eye-catching covers for other authors. And I also draw portraits of my favorite television or movie celebrity and attend conventions to meet the stars and have them autograph my drawings. It's a wonderful hobby. But both my book covers and my drawings have taken much of my creative energies. It has left no room for writing. And writing has never wanted to go quietly into the dark. It still throws punches at me, demanding to feed it.

So, this is where I stand. I have two current WIPs (if one could call them much progress, really not much) that are punching harder at me to return to them. To finish the tales wanting to be told. I have new and exciting genres to explore, as well as some of my old favorites. Something must suffer. I don't work well with my attentions scattered so far between my creative endeavors. Maybe it's that fact that as I age, I can no longer accomplish so much. It could be that I truly do feel the reach of my own mortality getting shorter and shorter, and fear I may not be able to accomplish everything I wish I could.

Well, the conundrum is of course, exacerbated by the dire straights of society around me as well. When one is struggling financially, and with health concerns, it certainly does not aid the serenity of mind, the feeling of hope, we all need to feed the Muse. Feeling secure from being out in the streets or sick and dying is a human need.

If you've read this far, I do hope you won't feel cheated by my very simple conclusion. Follow the heart. And as in romance, giving your heart to more than one leads to trouble and heartache. Concentrating on where my heart leads is where I'll be in 2017 and beyond.