My first thought for a title for this post was ‘Keeping Those Balls In The Air’ but I realised that this sounded rather rude. However, it is rather a good description of my creative life
So, to explain myself…
I have a horrible habit of getting obsessed by something, learning everything I can about the subject and then either getting bored with it, or, more usually becoming diverted by another obsession while I am still obsessed with the first. Which would be fine except there are really not enough hours in my waking day to fit everything in. At this current moment, my list of ‘things about which I have a great deal of useless (to most people) knowledge is, in no particular order:
- Early 14th century Medieval history
- Celtic mythology
- Special Forces
- Viruses and diseases
- Writing techniques
- Beeswax candle making
- Herbal medicine
All of these things give me an ‘oooooh’ feeling when I find out something new about them. All of them make me weak at the knees. In other words, I am passionate about them. Multi-passionate.
This has been a problem. Not so much for me, but for other people. To the mainstream culture of today it is usual to pick a career that you may find, hopefully, at least a bit interesting when you are at some tender age, go to university to study that career, and then find a job in it – although the last bit is not quite as easy to do these days. Usually people end up not really knowing what they want to do, or what they feel passionate about at all. But in any case, traditional wisdom states that you should only have ONE TRUE CALLING… not anything from two to twenty-two for heaven’s sake. And because it is a problem for other people, those people have then made it my problem by frowning on my butterfly methods of working. I used to feel somehow freaky. I used to feel like no-one took me seriously. I used to feel like a multi-sided peg trying to fit into a narrow circular hole.
I felt alone. But then I discovered I wasn’t the only one! By chance I came upon the term ‘multi-potentialite’ which then led me to Emilie Wapnick’s excellent site Putty-Like. It is all about being multi-passionate and, more importantly, successfully multi-passionate! Here is Emilie speaking at TED and explaining the whole darn thing a great deal better than I can:
I now know where I’m going and it is not so much a straight path as an infinite slinky shape. My passions, I now realise, can be grouped around writing and craft-work, which means I can indulge myself and still be productive and fit things into my working day – it’s just a matter of organising myself into projects that are current, in preparation, or are still future ideas. In that way I can still work on everything I want to and not get bored. I feel more relaxed working on what’s in front of me at any one time because I don’t feel any more that I have to ‘choose’ between passions. And so I am happier, saner and a good deal more motivated than at any time in the past. I hope this has been of use to someone out there – to any who have felt the same as me. Being multi-passionate can sometimes be difficult, but above all, it is a blessing, and if that’s who you are, good luck to you.