No more BIG projects in 2015

Queen Anne's Lace, mobile photography from this past fall, a pursuit I discounted because it wasn't working on my BIG project. http://instagram.com/melissadjohnston/
Queen Anne’s Lace, mobile photography from this past fall, a pursuit I discounted because I wasn’t working on my BIG project. http://instagram.com/melissadjohnston/

Has a creative project ever mattered so much to you that you simply did…nothing? Or next to nothing in its pursuit? Has it ever mattered so much that what you did in every other creative area in your life—and maybe even every other area in your life in general—didn’t register as “counting” for anything at all? It’s the “I’m moving forward in my BIG project or I am a total nonproductive, lazy slob” mode of life.

My life for the past few years. I’ve been trying to write a book, based on research done in grad school, about how stigma gets internalized as punishment for people who are bipolar (I happen to be one of them) and how that distorts their relationships with themselves and others. I’ve had my bumps along the way conceptually and in terms of life’s surprises (a bout of cancer being one of them), but really, the problem is that I made the project so very BIG in my mind. That was a sure road to paralysis for me.

Of course I’m only now realizing this—and the toll I paid in not honoring the other creative projects I was working on. So, no more BIG projects in 2015. I have the book, and, because it will take quite a bit of my energy, it is a “big” project (but not BIG). And the other projects—my digital art, photography, mobile photography, and now video—will also share honor, as they should. And all my creative work will enjoy space on this blog, which is a new thing I’m beginning in an effort to keep “big” in lower case letters. It just might work.

Have you ever given so much importance to one creative pursuit that your efforts in any other area weren’t respected? Did you ever find yourself paralyzed? What were your coping strategies?

6 responses to No more BIG projects in 2015

  1. avon4brenda@windstream.net says:

    I agree with what you said in this. love you, Mom

  2. I spent years being frustrated (to the point that it seriously damaged my enjoyment of life) because i so wanted to do what I knew I could do given the proper amount of time, but couldn’t–and can’t–do while earning a living at other work. The solution I found was to spend my time as I found it on small things that could be combined later into one big thing. For example: a series of linked poems or a series of small drawings linked by style and theme that could be mounted and framed later as a single piece. This method has worked pretty well for me.

    Last year I wanted to write a BIG poem and never got around to it. However, I wrote several smaller poems on a similar theme and style. I told myself they were rehearsals for the big one. I still plan to write the big one, but allow myself to get involved spontaneously in smaller projects.

    Hope this helps, and looking forward to seeing what you do!

  3. Thanks, Mark. It is helpful. I think I’m taking a little of the same approach–the smaller projects adding up to a larger one–at least in some areas. And I think I have to think of the book that way as well. I like the idea of you writing the big poem but allowing yourself to get involved spontaneously in smaller projects. Spontaneous projects, even though they can be a distraction, also seem to be necessary somehow to my well being (lol). Good luck with your projects this year! It’ll be interesting to see what both of us come up with this year. 🙂

  4. Wes762 says:

    So basically what I get is that the only “BIG” project this year is the book?
    By the way, the book is on a very interesting topic, whether one is bipolar or not. 🙂

    • I think I’m going to try and keep it to a “big” project and the others projects? Thanks for the vote of confidence!!! It means a lot. 🙂

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