Why I turned my back on making and why I am lost without it

I turned my back on making for a few reasons. At the time these reasons seemed pretty logical, reasonable and even a tiny bit positive. Now I am realising I am TOTALLY lost without my next-level-doodles and ‘abstract paintings’, and I miss my hands being covered in an unusual mix of acrylic, glue and inkjet; my eyes aching from film-editing on the world’s brightest screen.

The main reason that spurred all other reasoning was this: I thought I had to choose.

I experienced a whirlwind of events, emotions and self discoveries after leaving Uni. I got a job, loved my job, hated my job, left my job, became unemployed, became self employed, became employed part time, figured out what I didn’t want to do, figured out what I wanted to do, figured out I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, figured out how to do what I wanted to do, ended up here.

In amongst all that uncertainty was the strange idea that there was always going to be a sacrifice. I decided with illogical certainty that in order to do something well, it must be the only thing that I do, EVER. I wanted to be an artist and I wanted to be a writer. Fearful of doing half a job and fearing I’d never have enough energy to pursue both desires to a successful end, I made my choice.


Don’t get me wrong, if I had to make that choice again I would still pick writing. It helps me in lots of ways and I’d be more lost without it than I am lost without making. But the point is that no choice is actually necessary. After all, I’m making a living from two different jobs, I enjoy more than one hobby, I have more than one favourite colour and I can play more than one song on piano, right? Liking Blue and Purple doesn’t make me like either colour any less.

I think the decision lay in the fact that it all came down to money. By ‘successful end’ I meant which is likely to get me the most income. And in that, I have come so close to killing what I love it’s pretty shameful.

I recently decided to take money totally out of the equation. If it comes along it’s a bonus, but the fact that I am able to support myself whilst pursuing what I love is enough for me for now. In that realisation I have discovered more – that without practicing as an artist, making paintings or exploring languages and emotions that mean nothing to any one other than me (and that’s why I chose writing), my writing is totally uninspired and boring. Writing is an effort and a burden in a way that it never has been before, and what’s ridiculous is that I already knew this would happen. I wrote in a post months ago that, for me, as an artist (be it writer or maker) my writing informs my making and my making feeds my writing – why did I give it up?

Without exercising my practical, creative desire, it is so much harder to engage my writing.

The reality is probably laziness, mixed with a little bit of fear. Chucking everything at something for it to probably not work out takes mammoth effort – emotionally, mentally and physically… but it’s not enough of a reason to not try any more. The unknown, though I may fear it, has got me this far, and the half job/no time compromise is ridiculous. If you want something deeply and truly enough, there will always be a way to make it happen. In this case, there will always be time.

I can’t wait for my working days to involve rolled up sleeves, dirty hands and the baffling reality of finding paint everywhere.



1 Comment on Why I turned my back on making and why I am lost without it

  1. Good article – here’s another 🙂

    Matthew 6:19-34

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.(NIV)


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