Fade to Black

I sometimes wonder why I do any of what I do…which, as it turns out, isn’t anything of much consequence. I call myself an artist, but I can hardly ever focus enough to create art. I call myself a blogger/author, but I hardly ever can concentrate enough to write 300 words on a single train of thought. I call myself a visionary/dreamer/”idea guy”, but for the great ideas I’ve had, it’s always been others who’ve manifested them. I’m not saying directly from my ideas, good ones come in there time to many people. So really, what the hell is it that I do that’s worth anyone’s time? I’m drawing a blank, and it’s frustrating the hell out of me!

would more than five or six people ever realize that I no longer existed?
I mention in the ‘other things I do’ section of every blog I have that I also write for a magazine blog, but that doesn’t even come to fruition every month. The editor has asked me on at least one occasion of I’m still even interested in writing for the publication in any meaningful manner. I said I am, but that hasn’t helped me focus on content for it…or any of the blogs I still have.

My inability to apply my focus as I desire when, and on what I choose, has become such a hindrance that I as so irregularly do anything that matters that when I actually do, no one notices because sporadic fits of content don’t attract a following or even a steady interest by anyone. I’ve even be thinking that no one who actually notice if i just disappeared from the world, particularly the internet. I mean, my family would notice that I’m not calling them or cooking dinner, but would more than five or six people ever realize that I no longer existed? I genuinely doubt it. And if that’s the case, why should I write or create anything more

By the by, this post is just around 340 words and took two days and eleven revisions.

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3 Comments

  1. So much of what you have written here strikes a chord with me that you _really_ got my attention.

    I’m a master at starting things and then just petering out … as for writing (so many people once believed that I’d be a writer, and I mean non-related to me people, that I had a bookstore owner who used to order in special educational materials for my kids make me promise I’d return for signings when she had my work on her shelves), I have been writer’s-blocked for so long now (just under 15 years) that I think my muse has found permanent accommodations elsewhere by now. I only started writing again this past week whilst visiting my l’il brother in San DIego and, if I’m being honest, I’m not entirely certain I can stick with it to produce a start-to-finish story — we’ll have to see.

    I think, the biggest danger a creative/artistic person can skirt is trying to make themselves march to the tune of the expectations of others … and I read it again and again in your work (blogs and facebook). You undertake to do this, paint that, write the other but not necessarily because you want to do it — rather it is because you either think/feel that you _ought to_ or because someone else wants you to –> which either works for you because you have a challenge, a concrete deadline and an accepted obligation (like they already paid for it) or it doesn’t because there’s no contractual obligation spurring you on and you have no innate desire to accomplish it.

    You’ve voiced this frustration a few times since your brush with death and I find myself concerned that it keeps cropping up.
    That you are a creative individual is beyond a doubt, my question to you is “why are you being creative?” .. what is your true motivation?
    Are you seeking creative outlet? Are you wishing to fulfill a role (like that of known/recognized celebrity in the oh so fickle Pop-Pagan “community”)? Are you seeking recognition? Remuneration? Is your purpose for creating something that actually feeds your soul? Or drains it?

    My answer to why should you write or create anything more is because I’d notice and I’d miss seeing your art expressed but, far more importantly, if you are doing it for the right reason … that reason which is correct for yourself and not me or anyone else in the world … you’d be creating simply to be creating regardless of whether there is anyone else who sees, hears, or appreciates.

    As for focus .. well, for that I have a non-existential solution if you are serious about developing the art. But you’ll need to tackle the more esoteric questions in the previous paragraph to know if it’s even worth attempting.

    I’m sure you’ve heard that your brain is a muscle (of sorts) and, as such, the way it develops qualities such as concentration and focus (and even how it learns) are gradual and require much repetition. You wouldn’t expect yourself to get out of bed one morning and successfully compete in a triathlon without any previous training or preparation. Well, much the same way, you can’t expect your mind to be able to focus on a task simply because you expect that it ought to be able to. You have to train it the same way you would approach endurance based activities.

    Give yourself a set place and time to exercise your focus each day (example -. 1 hour at 12pm every day) … Start with five minutes at a time – even if all you accomplish is a line on a drawing or a single sentence or word the point is to be in that place and time and acknowledging that you are going to exercise your focus. Initially, establishing the habit (which will take approximately 30 consecutive days) of sitting down at your focus exercise so that you are faithful about doing it each day is the most important goal (and not the production of anything worthwhile of a creative nature — though if that does happen, gravy!).

    During those five minute intervals (use an auditory timer/alarm set somewhere you cannot directly see from your position and need to get up and walk over to in order to shut off) do your best to concentrate on the task you have selected as your practice exercise. When your attention wanders ( AND IT WILL ) do not judge yourself, do not criticize, do not waste your time and energy making yourself feel bad (you may have to tell yourself this out loud for the first few days .. I did) just get back on task until the alarm goes off. When it does, get up and turn it off, reset the alarm for another 5 minutes and go back and start over. Rinse and repeat until your hour is up then go back to your normal day.

    As soon as you get are able to focus yourself for the full five minute intervals during your proscribed hour practice, it’s time to set the alarm for ten minutes, then fifteen, twenty … eventually extending your practice exercise to two hours, three, etc.

    It is slow going, but I can attest to the fact that it does work ..
    If focus, and not motivation, is your real problem.

    In Service,
    Medb

    • Wow. That’s a lot of words to go through…I’m pretty sure you’re a writer of some sort :P I cannot force myself to focus as an exercise, I know I can’t, that simply isn’t how my brain works. I have to have an interest in the task/subject or my brain will not comply…my algebra teacher can attest to this, as can my mum. However, you’ve hit upon the point, where’s my motivation (I picture Shatner overacting while reciting that, by the by)? My wife can attest to my constant concern over our finances as being a driving/distracting factor in my creative endeavors. I create to earn a living, but those creations are fake, they aren’t creativity, they’re industry, and they’re killing me. I’m so far gone I can’t even remember what it’s like to create something just for the sake of the act.

      Thank you. I may not have a solution, but you’ve helped me narrow down the issue a lot better.

  2. Yes, long winded is me ^_~

    Just to clarify … the project you would be working on during the focus practice would need to be one of your own choosing. So, something that you wanted to do for yourself – for the childlike pleasure of doing it and none other… if it’s not something you are interested in, it fails — I get that totally.

    It’s not for everyone, I understand that … but for some, it helps.

    For the rest, you’re welcome!

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