Many Irons In the Fire

and why, for me, that’s a good thing.

I heard it again, today: “since you’re not busy or anything” said with a whole heaping dose of good-natured sarcasm. (It’s actually being facetious–non-malicious–but I don’t know how to say that in the right tense for that sentence!) I get that a lot because folks who know me, know that I always have a lot of projects going at once. My usually answer to ‘how’ve you been’ is ‘busy, but in a good way.’

Let’s just take a look at my list of current projects:

That’s  just the ones that get some attention each week. Not mentioned (aka back-burnered) are both webcomics currently on hiatus, a couple of knitting projects (one needs finishing, one is an idea waiting on a swatch and a design) and the party (maybe more than one, I’ll know more later) I’ll be throwing later this year. I was fiddling around with some beads and came up with a beading pattern project that I want to finish and write up. There are canvases waiting to be painted for the living room and 3 couches to cover.

And I just accepted a commission for a painting.

Why? Because I like being busy!

It’s more than that, though. I am capable of focusing solely on one large project at a time, totally immersing myself to where it’s all I think about outside of the day-to-day requirements of human interaction.

But with such focus comes a price: burn out.

For years before culinary school I was obsessed with food. If I wasn’t decorating cakes (or teaching others how) I was baking for the office (oh, if I only blogged back then, right?). If I wasn’t baking, I was watching that new channel, Food Network, reading a copy of Cooking Light or planning the week’s menus. I got into school and there wasn’t time for anything else–I worked 8am to 4:30 pm, changed clothes, grabbed something resembling dinner on the way and was at class from 5:30 to 10:30 or 11 o’clock at night 4 nights a week.

Total immersion.

Then it stopped. The internship led to a job but that job couldn’t keep the bills paid. When I was looking for a second job to keep my car from being repossessed, the opportunity to return to my old desk job was presented and I took it.

And I stopped cooking. I stopped reading cookbooks, watching food shows, dreaming of my own bakery or catering company.

It was nearly 10 years before my passion for food returned.

10 Years is a Long Time to Go Without Your Passion

Since then I’ve become a bit of a dilettante (the lover of the arts and a nod to the root–delight–not so much the superficial interest bit).

It’s a defense mechanism against tunnel vision. Against obsession. Against burn out.

Having multiple projects going simultaneously means I’m always happy to get a chance to work on any one thing. It’s always fresh. And if I hit a road block? Just choose a different project and wait for the other to clear out.

Going back to culinary school for a minute, it was a private college that taught in modules. 16 days of focus on a single subject. 1 subject a month. For a lot of people this style of learning works well because there’s little to no distractions. No other classes are competing for the student’s attention, no other homework getting in the way.

But there are no breaks, either.

In contrast, middle and high school and the majority of public universities prefer schedules with multiple disciplines being taught over the course of a day or week. They switched to block scheduling at my old high school when my brother’s were there and, while it played hell with extracurriculars, it was the middle ground between 7-periods a day and 1 module a month.

I liked high school.

I liked the multiple classes because it kept everything in motion. It might feel overwhelming from time to time (tonight, a little, but my schedule’s been off) but, all in all, it serves me well.

So I don’t mind when folks rib me about all my many projects. Sometimes they admire me, and I–always working on accepting compliments gracefully–thank them. I think it’s given me a skill set not everyone has and I revel in that, too.

~~~oOo~~~

This has nothing to do with the 64 Arts (other than it’s the perfect project for someone like me, someone who likes to change things up on a regular basis), just something that was on my mind and I wanted to share. We’ll get back to flowers and what to do with them, soon.

Until then: where do you fit? Do you prefer a single focus or a broad spectrum?

There is no wrong answer, as long as it’s right for you.

6 thoughts on “Many Irons In the Fire

  1. Dorkys says:

    I also like having multiple projects on my plate. That way when I get bored with one or need a rest from it, I can turn to another for a bit and just keep my mind engaged with different tasks.

  2. Jenny @ Kerrfect! says:

    A lot of blogs can get to be a pain in the neck! for over a year I had a craft/vintage living blow (sew swank), our home renovation blog (dreams & dust). I also had a wildly successful military wife blog called The Navy Wife Life. Even though I hardly ever posted to it in the past year or so, people still flocked to it for some reason. Then I added a blog about our small town where our house is called Beautifully Bedford. They all looked really fabulous (I think designing and making the graphics sometimes is my favorite part) but they weren’t getting posted to like I wanted. When I got tired of blogspot and decided to use the wordpress account that came with my webspace I figured that would be a good time to combine everything. Now I have my one blog and I’m a much happier person. LOL. It is of course in constant rearrangement mode, but it’s better than 4 or 5 in infinate progress. I have so many back posts from the other blogs that I am still transfering over to the “new” blog one at a time to make sure they are done right and the photo edges rounded. I’m a bit OCD about that sort of thing… LOL.

    Most days the blog is my main concern, I feel the need to promote it even though I don’t advertize or get anything for it, lol… I just want to share all the cool things I find with everyone. As far as other projects go, lol don’t even get me started! I have a garage full of half refinished furniture and picture frames. I have little piles of fabric that I’ve matched up for projects that always seem to get interupted by dishes or somethign more important. I’ve got STACKS of books I think I may NEVER get to read, recipes to try out, misc crafty projects I’ve been thinking about for years in some cases… LMAO… Then I have the organic jungle that used to be a very small garden in the back yard HAHAHA it nly gets worse when it gets around to the listing of items in my Etsy store… which I have about 50 that need to have photos taken for them and listed, but I just can’t seem to ever get around to most things, I don’t know why… I likve my entire day with no human interaction (until 5:30 when hubby gets home) to distract me… LOL

  3. Grace says:

    I don’t know how you keep up with 3 blogs. I have trouble with one! And not that you’re asking or anything, but I’m going to have to say I love the sips and shots best of all.

  4. FabuLeslie says:

    OH my goodness. I’m exhausted just READING your lists; I can’t imagine doing them all. Keep going, though! Follow that bliss!!

  5. Pooba says:

    WOW. I think you deserve a nap! Makes me want to get back into the things that I have a passion for, it’s definitely been too long!

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