The creative journey is an interesting path to walk, filled with many twists and turns into the unknown. With much effort and persistence, great success can be obtained. But, more often than not, it can lead to a frustrating dead end.
This end point is the place I found myself during 2016. After eight years of successful and fulfilling creative endeavors, my paper engineering experiments came to a bittersweet end.
In this article I’ll share three main factors which contributed to this abrupt stop. My hope is that this personal experience will serve as a word of caution for all readers who are embarking on or continuing their creative pursuits.
1. Shift in Focus
Back in 2008 when I first began working on my side projects, it was all about having fun and trying new things. My little experiments were unknown to the outside world, which gave me the freedom to try anything, any time, on my own terms, completely worry free. But, as the work began to gain more attention, everything around it gradually transformed.
The simple pursuit of making fun personal projects slowly turned into worries about audience engagement, sales, manufacturing, promotion, and everything else which flows into running a small operation. My focus shifted, and with it my passion began to increasingly feel like a burden.
2. Creative Repetition
As mentioned above, my initial experiments were filled with many new fun challenges to solve. Eventually, as revenue and audience requests grew, I began to repeat the output with every project, turning to the safety of what seemed to have worked well for me in the past.
This gradually lead to a lack of creative innovation, which in the end resulted in a major decline of audience interest. This creative repetition caused the once exciting novelty aspect of the work to wear off.
3. Life Change
While sometimes life may seem stable, everything can change completely in a blink of an eye. People told me becoming a parent changes everything, but that didn’t really mentally sink in until my son was born January 2016. Happy new year, life will never be the same! Simultaneously, I started an amazing new job one hour away from home.
These are obviously good changes which I am extremely grateful for. But, the near endless amount of time which I previously had to fiddle with my creative projects had instantly vanished like a vapor.