Jack of All Trades, master of none, that’s how it goes. Right? How do we know what our calling is when we have so many?
I studied Fine Art in college. I focused on painting. But I never find myself able to commit to any one idea.
When I moved to Germany, my new group of friends asked me about my art all the time because that’s how we had met, through art. I knew enough to never admit you’re an artist because that’s a really arrogant thing to do. But I meant it. I’m not an artist.
Artists have passion for their work, and me? I’ll work if you threaten me, or give me really pretty male models to work with. I can still remember a time after picking my major where I sat and thought, what did I do? I have two artist friends who I consider close, no matter where they live. Both are artists at their very core. One of them, listened to me talk about just why I’m not an artist.
“I know how to come up with nice compositions, and I know color theory backwards and forwards, and I know how to get good grades in art school,” I told him “But I don’t have a passion for it, and if I have something to say, I’d rather use my writing to get the points across.” I felt oddly respected by my good pal after we had that conversation. He told me that’s fine, and that he appreciated that I could say that about myself. When I told my other friend the same, he just told me I didn’t work enough. I didn’t work on my art enough.
So what’s the story. Does passion inspire work or does work breed passion?
I thought I had passion because I wanted to see my characters on canvas. The Jack of All Trades in me half assed the work I could have been doing in university because the passion was displaced. I find myself doing things like this all the time. The next project for me is sculpting BJD Dolls and taking commissions for other writer’s characters. Let’s hope for the best.
But even now, my passions are slipping and sliding all over the place. I’m finishing up a manuscript based on characters I’ve loved for years. My darlings. But I keep finding more and more projects to fulfill my time.
I’m curating a book of short stories called Crows on Heartstrings and am completely immersed with corralling the artists and writers, talking about the business behind marketing and selling a book, trying to find funding, talking about the layout and cover. Does that mean I am meant to be a curator rather than a writer? I’m not giving my book the attention it deserves and I feel like I’m not doing anything of any importance with it.
The answer is no. I don’t think that by being a bit of a Jack of All Trades I’m sacrificing the integrity of one project over another.
Learn to distinguish between the excitement of a new project and true passion. It’s easy to get distracted with shiny new toys disguised as new projects. It’s okay to be passionate about more than one new idea. Please, keep those juices flowing and keep sharing your creativity in whichever means it chooses to manifest.
The only thing you need to remember is to finish what you started. If you find yourself drifting off as I am, remind yourself just why you loved your project in the first place. Don’t be afraid of scrapping everything and starting again. But, be wary of the infinite loop of perfectionism. Don’t settle for a little bit of everything. Don’t stop until you’ve completely indulged yourself in everything and reveled in the success of finishing all your projects as they come.
For me, I want to be a writer. I want to write stories and bring characters to life. I do that most comfortably with writing. But being a Jack of All Trades, if I can call myself that, has forced me to see the world in a more well rounded manner. If anything, it enhances my work.
Aubrey Meeks is a writer, editor, and for lack of a better word, artist, from New York City. She is currently working on the (hopefully) final draft of her manuscript Archer and the Lust Boys for #NaNoWriMo2015 keep updated with her progress with her on twitter @aubreymeeksart.
Crows on Heartstrings, her next project, is a collection of short stories featuring 13 artists illustrating 13 doomed love stories. Keep posted with all her work on aubreymeeksart.com!