The Struggles of a Creative Person

So I’ve noticed recently that I’ve been getting these strange pangs of jealousy when I see other artists and writers and creators in general. And not in t he way that some of you may be thinking. I’m not jealous of the art they create. I know I can create some amazing art myself, even if it’s not the way that others do. I know my writing isn’t all bad, so it’s not that I’ve become jealous of the quality of other writers’ work.

You see, I’m not an overly jealous person. Not in any way. That’s not to say I’ve never felt what it is to be jealous, but I keep it under control so well that it never really rears its ugly head. What I’ve noticed is that I envy those who only have one real passion. It sounds stupid, right?

Let me explain. I had a table at a local market this past weekend, and I took a walk around at one point to look at what other people had made to sell. I noticed that every other table there had a very specific style and medium. There were painters, crafters, and people making amazing food. But the thing they all seemed to have in common is that they only did one thing. And I realized while looking around that I was envious of them.

I’ve never known what it was like to focus all of my time and energy into one medium. I’m a writer, but I’m also a photographer, and an artist, and a fashion designer, as well as constantly feeling the urge to try new things. And even my art spans more than one medium and genre. I paint landscapes and flowers and skyscapes and stars, but I also draw a lot of darker fantasy type pieces with pencil crayons that look absolutely nothing like those paintings. The same can be said about my fashion. I love designing and making really avant garde outfits, but I enjoy making simple and elegant pieces as well as fetish pieces just as much.

It got me to thinking about how much more uniform my displays would be for markets and conventions if I was to choose only one aspect of my work to showcase, but after days of considering the options, there is no way I could choose one over the other. The paintings I do are mostly practice and because I can do them so fast that I can create several in a couple of hours so that it feels like I am accomplishing something, but the drawings, the pieces that make people think, the ones that showcase the characters from my writing – those pieces are my real art. They are also the pieces that don’t really sell here in my hometown, as they are so far out from the conservative and folk art types that they scare people. I’m not saying the paintings aren’t real art, as I have actually fallen quite madly in love with some of them, and they will be hard to see go when they sell. But that’s my point. I want to do markets so I can get my work out there and sell some pieces, but even between my art, I would have to bring both genres, and they are nothing alike.

I have so many styles that I love working with, and so many mediums I enjoy, that I can never be one of those people who just shows up at a market with their goods and can say with certainty that they are a painter or a photographer or a baker. I envy the people who know what they are down to a single word that is so specific that anyone who hears it will understand.

My single word is creator. But I can’t very well advertise that I am a creator when I do events like these, so I have to put more than one category down. And when someone claims to be more than one type of creator, most people are driven to brush them off as not having found their field of expertise yet – but that’s not the case with me! Writing and art are my passion. They have been for as long as I can remember. Fashion and photography came later, but they are also things I can never walk away from, nor will I ever stop offering them to clients, even if it is just on rare occasions.

Am I the only one out there who is so passionate about what I do that there is no picking or choosing between those “hobbies”? I feel like there must be other people out there like me, people who are so equally in love with certain things they create, certain mediums and genres, that they could never choose which is more important. I feel like the odd one out in a world where people pick one thing and stick to it, and I feel like people judge me for it. It’s like people think I am not committed to my writing because I am so in love with my art, or the other way around, and that’s just not the case. I love both equally, and I need them both to help keep myself sane.

I know that not all of the things I love are perfect for me to do for work for the rest of my life. I had the opportunity of a lifetime three years ago to take my fashion design to the next level, and I could probably have untold riches by now had I followed through, but my soul wasn’t in it the way that it’s in my art and writing and photography. Making the same garments over and over in different sizes and colours is not creative, and it was taking a toll. Now I look at fashion design the way I did before all of that. It’s a way to express myself and create something out of nothing without the restrictions that come with doing it for money.

My photography, on the other hand, has been the best way I’ve found to stay creative with my work, but still make my clients happy. And it means I haven’t gotten sick of photography and had to shut down shop and walk away because I felt like I was selling my soul. You win some, you lose some. Unfortunately fashion wasn’t the right path for me, no matter how much I do still love it, and I made that choice when I realized the toll it was taking. Unlike the fashion, my photography has been booming and it never stops being fun.

Who knows, maybe I can’t write or paint for money and do it happily, but I will never know until I try. As it stands, I love what I do, and I never stopped loving fashion, I just never fell in love with the repetitive motions of making the same garment countless times. I fell in love with the creative process behind making a new design. Art and writing lets me do something different every time, and expects exactly that.

So yes, I do envy other creators. Very much so. But not for the reasons that most would. I envy their discipline and their knowing, their sureness. I envy that I have too many things I love equally to ever be just a writer or just an artist or just a photographer. I envy that simply labeling oneself as a creator is never enough for most people, as they don’t like that you seem so unsure of your profession, when really it’s that your profession includes so many different aspects that using a more specific term takes away from the work that goes into the other aspects.

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14 thoughts on “The Struggles of a Creative Person

  1. 7128788elf says:

    Hi Kimberley,
    I am mainly a poet, but also draw, paint, compose music, (used play in a local Rock band), make collages (though wouldn’t really call myself an artist), also am a research bookseller lecturer, librarian, garden designer and builder. In feel that all these feed off each other, though at the same time feel if I had have concentrated on one of these completely I would have achieved far more than I have. But I am not that interested in being well known, but rather that I create well, and that people share and enjoy what i do produce. I have never actually taken any of my work to a market, so have not experienced the problem of having to say what I do, or produce. I think it is wonderful that you can work and fell comfortable in so many creative fields, so carry on and enjoy your creativity. Best wishes and blessings, Charles.

    • Kimberley Crawford says:

      It’s good to hear there are others out there like me, who are interested in too many things for their own good. I’m a paranormal researcher, a writer, an artist, a photographer, a fashion designer, a carpenter, etc. It’s so hard to keep track of all of it, and what I tell people I do tends to just depend on the situation for the most part.

      • 7128788elf says:

        For me, in a way it is a bit easier, as I have always called my self a poet, right back to when I was about 14. I always try and write poetry first, and then do some of the other things. I am now trying to write a novel, so watch this space in about 20 years time!

  2. freakinjane says:

    I can’t tell you how much I relate to you here!!! I’m a writer, singer/songwriter, artist, and jewelry creator. I’ve tried them all but outside of writing, I lose interest in the others at times and each own just ebbs and flows through my life. I really enjoy jewelry but like you I can’t stand making the same thing over and over. The only way it would work is if I had a factory to make the jewelry and I could just come up with new designs. Unfortunately I don’t have those resources lol!!

    My hope is that I can find a way to creatively combine these in a way that’s appealing to consumers. I’ve written and recorded some songs to go along with the novels I’ve written. It would be very cool to do some paintings and maps to go along with them too. But it’s hard to find enough readers in the first place. It’s tough to be an artist!!

    So yeah, no focus here either. Nothing peeves me more than hearing a story about someone who “always knew” they wanted to be a (fill in the blank) since they were a kid. Argh!!! The only thing that fits that bill for me is I always wanted to have my own business. But there are a trillion different kinds of businesses one can have!!! I’m jealous too. But then I keep thinking there must be a benefit to being like is, somewhere. If you figure it out will you tell me??

    • Kimberley Crawford says:

      Haha I will definitely let you know! And I totally agree, it’s hard enough getting one thing out there for people to see, let alone a whole handful of things that all connect in some way. My art and my books all link up in some way, and even some of my photography, but I figure if I focus on just getting my writing out there here on the blog, and use other outlets for my photography and my art, maybe it’ll help all of them.

  3. freakinjane says:

    I can’t tell you how much I relate to you here!!! I’m a writer, singer/songwriter, artist, and jewelry creator. I’ve tried them all but outside of writing, I lose interest in the others at times and each own just ebbs and flows through my life. I really enjoy jewelry but like you I can’t stand making the same thing over and over. The only way it would work is if I had a factory to make the jewelry and I could just come up with new designs. Unfortunately I don’t have those resources lol!!

    My hope is that I can find a way to creatively combine these in a way that’s appealing to consumers. I’ve written and recorded some songs to go along with the novels I’ve written. It would be very cool to do some paintings and maps to go along with them too. But it’s hard to find enough readers in the first place. It’s tough to be an artist!!

    So yeah, no focus here either. Nothing peeves me more than hearing a story about someone who “always knew” they wanted to be a (fill in the blank) since they were a kid. Argh!!! The only thing that fits that bill for me is I always wanted to have my own business. But there are a trillion different kinds of businesses one can have!!! I’m jealous too. But then I keep thinking there must be a benefit to being like is, somewhere. If you figure it out will you tell me?? I will return the favor lol.

  4. Patrick Jennings says:

    I love this. 🙂 As a fellow eclectic, I understand.

    <smile> I have an artist friend who devoted himself to painting flower blooms in a very specific color palette on small canvasses (typically, no more than a foot in any dimension), which were presented in sets of three or more canvasses. He did this for years, and with some success was able to support himself in part with his art.

    I could not wrap myself around such exploration within so narrow a focus.

    I watch hummingbirds fly. That whir of wings that is just a blur. The instantaneous, abrupt adjustments as they orient themselves in space, and time.

    I realize, I cannot comprehend their sense of time. I watch their flight in super slow motion, and see all the small alterations in the motion of their wings, and know that their consciousness perceives these changes in real time.

    And then I look back to my travels through Australia, the long drive across a couple thousand kilometers of its Red Centre, the Simpson Desert. Endless in its sea of red sand, mulga brush, gum trees and spinifex. I had been warned not to drive across this boring expanse of sameness. But I was fascinated by the smallest changes in flora and fauna, in the undulating geometry. Even in the vastness itself.

    There is endless variety in any endeavour, and I know my friend found this in his work with flower blooms. Eventually, he must have exhausted the variants, since he has moved on now…. to arrangements of long strips of coloured paper, in an endless variety of patterns.

    You and I? Perhaps we go to the other extreme. We find order in the disparate, rather than variety in the narrowly focussed?

    • Kimberley Crawford says:

      I just love the feeling of creating something new, of trying new things. I don’t like feeling tied down to just one thing. It makes me feel trapped, and my work then suffers because it begins to feel like work rather than something I enjoy. I can draw the same characters countless times and never get sick of them, but I couldn’t depict them doing the same thing all the time. Their outfits change, the poses, sometimes details of their appearance change depending on what I’m trying to communicate.
      With writing it’s the same. You can write about the same characters our entire life, and as long as you are writing different stories each time, and different scenes, then it doesn’t get boring. But I find I can actually focus better when I have other types of projects to work on. I can walk away from drawing and write for a while if I need a break, just so I can come back to the other thing with fresh perspective. And that way I’m still being productive, but I can take the time I need away from the thing that’s tiring me or isn’t working the way I want.

  5. Patman says:

    I feel like there’s nothing wrong with choosing multiple things or hobbies that are considered your passion because it helps expand more occupations.
    Besides writing I take pictures from my Canon camera and editing them with different filters, I read books, make greeting cards (not the common ones where people take the money and throw the card away), I cook food and mix drinks, I design voice and sound effects on my computer, and the last thing I’m known for is helping others with labor work, even though I don’t understand the project or job well it helps to to actually do it and get it done.
    I do all these things to keep myself occupied and sure I’ve had moments where I failed a lot, the important thing to remember are the ways in which you devote yourself and the mistakes you learn from them. I don’t aim for popularity or accolades either because sometimes all that pressure can be unbearable. As long as others take your work into account and accept it for what it delivers while remaining just, then it can be the happiest feeling you’ll ever get.

    • Kimberley Crawford says:

      I like that. I’m the same way, even aside from my hobbies and various jobs, I still have to be busy doing something. And I love passing knowledge on to other people. Not in a know-it-all way, but in a helpful way that actually makes it easier for them to learn something that I already know. I don’t mean just random facts or whatever, but for friends and family who don’t know how to use their cameras, or who might need help designing a costume, or maybe someone who needs tips on how to do some other thing I have experience with. I get bored too easily to do the same thing every day, so I try to make every day different, even if it’s just in little ways like switching up what type of project I’m working on.

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