Diluting creative output: can it work?

A lot of the famous and successful writers you come across describe themselves as being obsessive or living to write. It makes sense, of course. If you spend each waking hour with the written word, you ought to be pretty good with them.

If I’m honest, though, that’s not really me. I hugely enjoy writing, but it isn’t my raison d’etre. Mostly, I just get too distracted by all the other awesome-cool vocations out there that I can’t decide what I like more. Sometimes this makes me wonder: can you be successful with a divided attention?

If you focus on your vocation, you will obviously further your skills in it. So it stands to reason, taking only this into account, that the best writers will be those that work hardest and longest at their craft. And to a degree, this is true. Does this mean those of us that are undecided or took a while to find the right thing are destined to be hopeless “masters of none”?

Nope! As much as this fear sometimes nags me, it’s worth remembering that there’s more to writing than a proficiency with language- just as there is more to art than shading techniques or volumetric form. When we create, we draw upon all areas of who we are and what we know. A breadth of knowledge is as important as the depth of it.

My many┬áhours of flying give me a pilot’s knowledge on my works. As an artist I have a vivid visual sense of the world I’m writing (and will sometimes use drawing to work through ideas). My understanding of games and emergent systems affects how I build plots and implement causality.

You do need to put in a lot of hard work to excel at any craft worth doing, but don’t be afraid to diversify a little, too. It’s what makes your work yours.

2 thoughts on “Diluting creative output: can it work?

  1. Your words have raised a question;
    Is it better to be successful and yet unhappy OR to under-achieve and be happy?

  2. Indeed. You might even wonder what it means to be successful. After all, if I were to create something that garnered a passionate but niche audience who adore the work, you could argue I’d be more successful than someone that makes millions from a bland franchise. But if niche appeal is under-achievement, it’s the kind I can be happy with.

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