The Mismanagement of a Dozen Hobby Projects (and why I never get anything done)

The Coping with Creativity podcast has been on hiatus as I struggle through my own journey of getting out of this hole that I’ve dug myself in. Even those of us who proffer self-respect and ascribing value to our work could to well to heed our own advice–and just like you, sometimes it’s hard to stomach.

I am someone who has a ton of things going at the same time and that’s something I’ve always disliked about myself. Why can’t I ever focus on just one thing? With some self-reflection and meditation last night I think I got to the bottom of it:

I am afraid of not living up to my own expectations of myself, which are shaped by other people’s expectations of me.

This anxiety causes me to hyperfocus on several projects at once, allowing me to pour my energy into Project B when my self-doubt for Project A starts to take over. What worries me is that there are entire communities of creative folks who would classify this behavior as productive and healthy; I’ve received so much praise in my personal and professional life for how many things I am working on at once that I feel like most people don’t understand how incredibly frustrating it is to never finish something.

I always feel like I am 75% done with a dozen projects at any given time. Is this just how I have to live my life? Is this just who I am?

I did an experiment in January 2019 where I only focused on my writing. I told myself that my sole purpose in life was to work on my book, and that I am a writer by trade and at heart. I spent as much time as I could working on my story or reading (a necessary component to being a good writer), and now that February has rolled around I’ve been reflecting on that experiment:

  • When measured by word count, I was more productive than I am normally when I don’t focus exclusively on writing
  • When measured by anxiety, I feel a little more anxious. It’s like there are a dozen other projects that I just ignored for a month and now I need to divert my attention back to them (like Coping with Creativity)

I have been tossing around the idea of rebooting Coping with Creativity as something other than a podcast even though I know there are people who enjoy the podcast format. My thinking is that my talents are better spent on writing, as that’s what I really enjoy doing. Additionally, I think I can reach more people and HELP more people (my ultimate goal) by offering a more ubiquitous medium.

And shouldn’t I be able to give myself permission to build out these tools and resources in a way that is beneficial for me? I love audio work and podcasting, but sometimes I worry that I am limiting my audience by making this exclusively a podcast.

This is something I am still working on; the idea is still brewing. What I am hashing out right now is some kind of podcast program that supplements a primary body of content, like a blog. Stay tuned!

Updates on Other Projects

  • The BLANK PAGE audio drama won quarter-finalist at the 2018 Austin Film Festival for their fictional audio drama competition. My goal was to get a casting call going and develop the first three episodes for fun and to see if I can garner enough support for future episodes. It’s still on standby as I continue to prioritize other artistic pursuits.
  • The second book in the SPIDER series is being actively developed. This one is way better than the first book. My confidence in my writing has improved, the storytelling is just better, and I think it’s really going to be a good foundational improvement on my career as a storyteller.

Leave a Reply