I love arts and crafts. I love writing. I love to do many things, often at once. I am the queen of multitasking. However, even I know that you need to focus if you want to succeed. I get sidetracked, just like anyone else does, with projects that will soon fall by the wayside when I remember my true purpose and calling. You can't work on multiple projects all the time, spreading your interest and energy across too many platforms at once and expect to have them to turn out to be good. There will always be at least one of your projects that gets less attention than the others and might not be as well-made or well-written as the others.
You can have more than one outlet, more than one hobby for your creativity, even more than one creative endeavor that you turn into a business, but you need to ensure them equal focus to make them successful. You need to be able to remain passionate and in love with your projects if you want them to be all they can be. I have a friend that runs a perfume business, a soap business, teaches vocal lessons, and has a band... She manages herself well and gets the things done that need to be done when they need to be done. Sorry for the repetitiveness there, but I wanted to make sure you get the point. You can do more than one thing when it comes to creative endeavors, but you need to be great at planning, time management, multitasking, and managing yourself in general. Here are a few tips to help you stay on the right creative path (or paths) and stay focused!
Decide Which Projects Are the Most Important to You
I start new projects all the time. I will see something that inspires me and on a whim, I'll get the goods I need to do it. But then I get bored with it, or I get busy with the projects that are actually important to me and find I've wasted money on a project I no longer have any interest in.
I seem to do this every few months; look at the projects you have and determine which ones mean the most to you. It’s a helpful strategy. Determine which projects are part of your path, part of the true you. Those are the ones to keep at. I love to create things, but I am a writer above all things. My new goal is to ensure all of my projects revolve around writing. My passion for mixed-media collage art can be integrated with my love of writing by creating my own tarot deck and accompanying booklet (one of my side projects).
Don't keep items from past projects around, ones that might tempt you to stray from what you are truly passionate about. I just gave away a load of art and craft supplies that I knew would never serve my true purpose in "creativity" and would only get in my way. It was enlightening, and part of the inspiration for writing this blog post.
Set Achievable Goals
To be successful at anything, you need to have goals. Don't give yourself too many goals, as not reaching them is frustrating and will tend to set you back. Have achievable goals for all of your projects.
I am only 3 cards into creating my own Tarot deck, and I've been working on the project for a couple months now. I figure it will take me a year, minimum, to complete it. I am only working on the cards when I am in need of "art therapy" time. I feel this is an achievable goal, and in that time frame I can save up the money I'll need to have my art turned into a professionally made card deck.
At any given time I have numerous work assignments from a few different writing gigs. On top of that, I am always working on more than one book, whether it's poetry, a wellness book, or a children's picture book (which means it's time to create even more art). I set wide open goals for my books. My work assignments are most important, so I have daily goals when it comes to them.
Write down your goals. Have a list of daily and weekly goals. Set deadlines for your own work that doesn't have deadlines. Make sure those deadlines are attainable. Be motivated and be accountable.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
It helps to have a workspace. I have a couple. I have my own office/art studio. It's my safe space. It's my place of spirituality and creativity. I picked the color for the walls, I decorated and organized the entire place myself. However, sometimes I feel boxed in, and I move myself to the living room couch, where I will work for a day or two before moving back into my office.
The point is, you need an area with the space to get the job done. A space with little distraction. Sometimes I need some distraction, other times I need complete silence. I get these different things between my two different workspaces. Maybe you'll even have space outside where you can work. Nature can be inspiring and invigorating.
Downsizing can really help you get focused. I am working on a book about clutter and have read a million of them (I may be exaggerating a little bit here). I am a recovered packrat, daughter and granddaughter to a couple hoarders that knew their game well.
When it comes to downsizing in an arts and crafts space, you need to be careful. Know that you aren't ever going to need that item again before you let it go. It's better to hold onto a couple things that you're not sure about than to have to spend a great deal to replace them when you need them again in a month.
The key is to keep only the items that work with the projects you are passionate about, or that have a universal purpose. I was going to start making jewelry again, so I bought a set of jeweler's tools, and then changed my mind. I kept the tools and got rid of the other supplies. Why? Because I wear jewelry and the pliers and snips have already come in handy numerous times.
Keep Your Space Organized
Lastly, make sure that everything has a place. A cluttered and disorganized workspace is a distraction. You'll never get anything done if the room is a mess. You'll continually be drawn to the piles of junk around you.
Invest in some shelves and some drawer space. Organize your items so things are easy to find when you need them. Label shelves and drawers if you need to. You'll spend more time focusing on creating instead of the mess you need to clean up or digging through clutter trying to find the particular item you need.
When you're done with a project, put the stuff away. Don't put it off until later. If you do, before you know it your comfortable workspace will be a cluttered mess and you'll fall behind on deadline trying to clean it up!