People always ask me: how on Earth do you have time for all your hobbies? How do you focus on one thing, when you’ve got a thousand creative projects happening in that little mind of yours? Speaking of, doesn’t your mind go a million miles an hour?
The short answer to those questions is: Patience. Love. And YES!
A little about me– I’m working on a children’s book, two poetry collections, and a high-fantasy romance novel. I’m a poet and fantasy writer, though I recently got into writing some short stories and flash fiction during grad school. Speaking of school, I have my BFA in Musical Theatre from Florida Southern College, and I’m currently in grad school at Lindenwood University, where I’m working towards my MFA in Writing. I work as a professional actress and I teach voice and dance at local studios and high schools. I am beyond fortunate to also work as the Associate Editor here at Nymeria Publishing! Oh, and occasionally, you can catch me as a party princess, a freelance writer, and a freelance editor.
You may be thinking that I’ve got too many irons in the fire.
Too many hands in the pot.
Or you might be thinking: I have a million passions, too! But I didn’t think I could pursue them all!
I thought I would take a crack at explaining the inner workings of my mind, if only to inspire you to pursue your multitude of passions, too. You see, it all started when I was seven years old. Gosh, I’m totally kidding. This is not going to be an expose on my life—if you want to read about that, perhaps you might pick up a copy of Fragile Hearts Club, my debut poetry collection. Shameless plug. Sue me.
Here’s my two cents about life. (Hang tight because it might get poetic.) You get one chance. One chance at this crazy thing called life, and I decided that I didn’t want to spend my life wondering if I should’ve written that children’s book, or worked on that novel, or performed in that play, or gone to that school.
Disclaimer: I recognize that I have a lot of privilege. And for some, it may not be so simple to just do the thing. There are full-time jobs to be had, there’s money to be made. And I’m fortunate and privileged that I get to make money from my art.
This article is not meant to shame anyone for their lack of time, resources, or mental energy. I want to encourage you to go for your dreams, whether they are small or grand. A dream is a beautiful dream. It’s never too late, or too early to do the things you love.
Gosh, Rachael, you make it sound so easy.
It’s not. It can be grueling and overwhelming and confusing. But so incredibly worth it creatively. I want you to think of the things that set your heart on fire. If you’re here on Nymeria’s website, maybe that’s writing and reading for you. Or maybe you’re passionate about poetry or children’s books or novels or cozy fantasy.
Great! If you’re like me and you like all of those things, then let’s talk about what it’s like to compartmentalize all those passions in your mind and go for it.
Disclaimer #2: my mind is a scary place. You will know this if you read my forthcoming poetry collection The Meaning of Stars.
Here are my top tricks to pursuing your multiple passions:
Go ahead and buy many journals. Or make separate folders on your computer, phone, or iPad. Buy loose pieces of paper. Write everything, everything down for each idea. Don’t assume you’ll remember it all. I’ve lost many poems and story ideas to the void this way.
If somebody tells you that you can only do one thing (i.e. you can only be a poet and nothing else because the industry doesn’t work that way), do me a favor and don’t listen to that advice. The world is complex and vast—there is a place for you and each creative outlet that interests you. Besides, many different industries like to see that you’re passionate about other things (I’m looking at you theater world), because life is too short to put all your eggs in one basket.
Never stop learning. This was the best advice that anyone ever gave me. Do you like acting, fiction writing, and yoga? Find classes that interest you in all of those fields—strengthen those muscles (literally and figuratively). And if you’re like me and the idea of spending money on classes frightens you, Youtube has an insane number of educational videos in everything. Rely on your friends. Read or watch each other’s work. Share notes.
Don’t feel the need to prioritize. You might be thinking, WHAT did she say? Listen, as a gal with obsessive-compulsive disorder, this is a tough one for me. But hear me out, fellow multi-passionates. Some days, you’ll feel really inspired to work on your fantasy novel. You might get a burst of inspiration and write 3,000 words. Great, run with that! The next day, you might be inspired to write some poems or edit another work. Awesome, I love that for you! What I’m trying to say is, unless you’re on a deadline (and we can all hope for a publishing deadline at some point, right?), work on as much art as possible. Work on what fills you with joy. What I tell myself is this: a little progress on multiple projects means that eventually, I’ll have multiple finished projects. And the things I learn along the way benefit myself, my world view, and my other projects.
Creative blocks are the worst, but they can be tempered by working on another project. This coincides with number four. Currently, I’m working on a high-fantasy novel that feels equivalent to working a full-time job. Sometimes, my mind simply can’t put words on a page. Sometimes, my mental health gets the best of me and I don’t feel like it. When I get these creative blocks, I work on something else. Whether that’s a new poem, or a flash piece, or reading a new play, or reading a book. These are all the ways I’ve found to get out of that dreaded (*gulp*) writer’s block. Focus elsewhere and your inspiration will come back to you.
Block out chunks of time. Some days, you might be super inspired to work on multiple projects at once. Block out time for each project. Some days, you might have a million things going on (work, school, family, appointments, etc.) but a lot of creative energy. Block out time to focus on your creative projects. If it helps to create a schedule in advance, or make time on the fly, do what works best for you!
And lastly, remember that if you put words on a page, you are a writer. If you sing in the shower, you are a singer. It can be so easy to let society give you imposter syndrome. (Trust me, it’s one of my greatest downfalls) But when you recognize your worth, and if you genuinely love what you do– you will find fulfillment. You are worthy to make all the art you desire.
It can be so easy, too, to let other people dissuade you from doing what makes you happy. Critics might say “you don’t have time for that,” or “you can’t make any money from your art,” or worse: “you’ll never be good enough.”
You are good enough. Whether you want to pursue one thing or multiple creative avenues, there is always a need for what you can provide to this world.
Each person’s creative journey is different. Some of these tips that work for me, may not work for you. And that’s totally okay!
Art is limitless. Passion is what drives us forward and makes life worth living.
I encourage you to harness the power of you and let your heart be the guide.