art, creativity

Hooray for Gear-Switching

Sometimes I fret about the way I flit from one thing to another. Why can’t I focus? I’ll wonder. Why can’t I devote myself to one thing and practice it until I’m really good at it? But lately I’ve been trying to see switching gears as positive.

The other day I broke out the paints and brushes for the first time in maybe a whole year. One thing that got me motivated was my niece, who’s decided she wants to learn to paint for her senior project. She’s coming down to get a lesson next week, which is mildly terrifying, considering I don’t know what I’m doing even when I’ve been doing it a lot! So I thought I should at least try something on my own before I have to show her what to do.

Another motivation was a change to my work room. I got rid of an old recliner that I never sat in—it was basically acting as a giant dog bed, except when it was covered with junk—so with that gone, and the purchase of a folding table from Home Despot, I suddenly had what I’d been longing for: three different spaces for three different activities. Now I can let my desk be messy and use it only for writing. I can cover my drawing table with paper and pens and pencils. And I can leave tubes of paint and brushes all over my painting table. The room’s a bit crowded, but not having to clean up one mess before making another is well worth it!

Finally, the last reason to squeeze out those paints: I needed to. There’s been a lot of stuff going on this month, and I’ve found it hard to concentrate on my YA-sci-fi revision. So I decided to just set it aside for a few weeks. But without writing, I haven’t been indulging my creative side, and that’s made me cranky.

Which is why it felt so good to paint this peacock. It’s not a masterpiece, but that’s OK. It was nice to switch gears and go back to something I haven’t been doing lately. And meanwhile, I’m letting the writing ground lie fallow for awhile. When I get back to it, maybe it’ll be really fertile!

Sure, having a laser focus can be a great thing—but don’t discount the joy of dabbling.

4 thoughts on “Hooray for Gear-Switching”

  1. I just read your book “She Made a Monster,” and wanted to know more about you and your work. Congratulations on the success of this incredible picture book. It was mysterious and entertaining, and I enjoyed getting a peak at Mary Shelley’s creative process. By the way, this blog post is also awesome. I switch gears/projects all the time and usually feel bad about it. Just this morning, I told myself that I wished I could focus on one thing at a time; perhaps I would get more done. But your perspective on gear-switching has made me rethink that. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Rita–Thanks for your comment! I’m glad to hear from another gear-switcher–and I’m glad you liked She Made a Monster. I think some of us just aren’t made to devote ourselves to one thing, so we might as well be positive about it, right?


  3. Hi Lynn, Responding to your Bio here… I didn’t know you received your BA in English – very cool! Have you written any stories about horses, time travel and magic?


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