While there are many different kinds of multipotentialite, most of us tend to be either serialist or cyclical when it comes to our interests. The serialist moves sequentially from one interest to another and is unlikely to ever return to an interest once they’ve left it behind. The cyclical multipod, on the other hand, finds that many of their interests rotate round and round.
I’ve been reminded recently just how much my interests rotate in a cycle and how lots of my projects move onto the back burner for long periods before they circle round to the fore again.
About four years ago, I put some serious time into developing a range of kiln glass jewelry. I was totally fascinated by the medium and experimented extensively to hone my technique. I was pretty fired up (no pun intended) about this work and had big plans to get the range launched in boutiques and galleries.
Then one day I realized I’d become totally fed up with it. It had become more frustrating than fascinating, so I took the decision to quit working on it for a while. My focus moved to the next shiny new thing – web design.
Before I knew it, a couple of years had passed and I’d barely given the jewelry a second thought. Now, totally out of the blue, I’ve started thinking about it again.
My mind’s buzzing with ideas for new designs and I feel inspired again. The time is right for me to pick up that interest again and start where I left off. How long my interest will be piqued this time, I have no way of knowing. But I do know that my interest is back.
If you’re like me and know that some of your interests will return, here are some ideas to help you settle back into them smoothly when they do.
1) Keep notes – lots and lots of notes
I have so many sketchbooks and notebooks. Seriously – it looks like I’m some kind of stationary fetishist. I scribble down loads of notes, partly for fear that, if I don’t write my ideas down, I’ll forget them and partly because I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
These notebooks are like old friends as they hold a snapshot of my whole thought process. When I’m ready to pick up an interest again, they help me to step back in time and it’s almost like stepping back inside my own head at the time I last was working on that idea.
2) Create a body of work
I know some people feel like they’re taking a step backward by returning to something they thought they’d left behind. This is where a shift in mindset can help breathe a whole new meaning into previously discarded projects.
Consider the concept of creating a body of work, made up of lots of different phases rather than one single lifetime achievement. I’m talking here about combining a number of small wins into a bigger body of work. There’s no reason some of those small wins can’t come from the same project, but they don’t have to and, if they do, they could come from different stages of its development.
I’m applying this philosophy to my jewelry work as I start an entirely new phase of my project. It’s not about going back to complete what I was doing before; it’s more about taking it to the next level.
3) Mothball projects
Many of us are familiar with the multipotentialite tendency of leaving a trail of uncompleted projects behind us. If you know you’re likely to rediscover an interest at at later date, you won’t want to chuck everything away. But what do you do with all that stuff in the meantime?
Unless you’re living in a mansion, you’ll probably run out of work space sooner or later, so it’s worth having a system to archive your belongings until they’re needed.
This could mean physically packing all your resources for each project into boxes or archiving them digitally, depending on the nature of your interest. Think of it as mothballing them or putting them into temporary stasis. Then you can relax, knowing that, when you’re ready to pick your project up again, you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips.
A lot has changed in the time my jewelry work has been sitting on the back burner and I’ve come back to the art form having gained new experiences, insights, and skills. It’s almost as though I needed to go through a period of transformation in order to come back to it fresh and with new insight.
Perhaps taking a breather is something everyone, not just multipotentialites, should consider building into their projects. Maybe a break is what we all need to get that motivation back?
Do you have interests which go rotate in a cycle? How do you deal with them as they come and go again and again?