Do One Thing and Do it Well

One of the recipes I developed, created, and photographed during my food blogging phase
One of the recipes I developed, created, and photographed during my food blogging phase

Like most creatives, I have this “thing” (I prefer not to call it a problem…) where I want to do everything. You know those days I’m talking about, right?

You want to paint.
But you also want to practice calligraphy.
And then you want to build a sculpture.
And after that you want to cut apart your old clothes and sew them into curtains.

I love, love, love my small business I’ve built for myself. It keeps me extremely satisfied in the creative department day in and day out. But I also love to develop recipes and cook. So at one point in my life, not too long ago, I had a food blog. So I spent the majority of my day designing and doing administrative work for my business, and then my evenings and weekends developing recipes and cooking.

Sounds awesome, right? (Only…insert two of your favorite creative things to do).

It was awesome. At first. I loved switching gears from one sort of creativity – drawing, designing, and typography – to something completely different within a matter of minutes – playing with food, experimenting with flavors, and photographing.

Until it wasn’t awesome anymore. I got so burnt out from being “on the go” too much. I was tired and had my fill of creativity from working all day and then felt like I needed to cook for my blog. What was supposed to be a fun cooking blog turned into something much more (in my head). I felt as if I needed to constantly update my blog with new recipes, which meant I needed to constantly cook, which meant I constantly had loads and loads of cooked food in my kitchen that would never get eaten and had to be thrown out.

One day, I decided I couldn’t live my life this way anymore. I wanted to enjoy cooking again. I completely abandoned my website. In fact, my website is no longer viewable on the internet. I also deleted the Facebook page I had started for it. I won’t pretend I wasn’t in mourning, because I definitely was.

As the days passed, though, I realized I was beginning to enjoy cooking again. And, moreover, if I didn’t want to cook one day, I certainly didn’t have to.

I also realized I was much more satisfied with my full-time gig now. I think I had taken it for granted before, and now saw that I could expand my creativity in that one arena, without the need to cook and develop recipes all the time. The things I loved so much about cooking – the textures, the colors, the organic qualities – I had now figured out how to intertwine in my day-to-day design business.

These days, I pour my heart and soul into my design business. I cook when I feel like cooking, and I thoroughly enjoy it when I do, but I don’t feel pressured to create a new recipe every day.

Sometimes it takes this burnout to realize you don’t have to do everything in life – you can pick one thing you love and do that one thing really well. The other sources of creative energy will be there when you’re ready.

Have you struggled with trying to do too much, creatively, in the past? How did you overcome the feeling of burnout while still being able to practice all your favorite creative outlets?

4 thoughts on “Do One Thing and Do it Well

  1. Your article really resonated with me because I am always trying to do more, more, more, until I don’t. Your words have me thinking about my own creativity and setting limits. Great perspective, Amanda!

    1. Thanks, Fiona! I think the problem with doing more, more, more is we don’t put enough heart and soul into that ONE thing, whatever it may be, and we also lose the thrill of having “hobbies” just for fun! I am certainly guilty of piling things onto my plate, but it’s so refreshing to remove some of those things and only come to them when we have time!

  2. Your article triggered my thoughts and subsequent article about the trip to Abilene! Thanks for the reminder of how life is meant to be lived!

  3. Uh, so this is 100% me. Like you, I’ve been juggling a lifestyle blog with a stationery business and have reached the point where it’s not awesome anymore. I’ve eased back on the blog to make it a hobby again and am putting my focus squarely on my business again. Thanks for the great article, it’s good to know there are other people in the same boat.

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