I Needed a Little Time to Think Things Over

December 11, 2006

I realised that lately I haven’t done much personal blogging here, in the “being personal” sense. I started this blog as a place where I could connect with friends and just get my thoughts out there. I don’t want to lose that before the blog’s first year is out. Sure, a lot of other things go on here too but every now and again I start to censor myself, not wanting to go on about my life because it’s boring. However, is important to me to keep it real. What’s cool about this blog for me is that I look back on posts from a few months before and am often surprised by how far I’ve come, even when I thought I wasn’t going anywhere at all.

The last few months have been chaotic in many different ways and so often, these sorts of times are a period of transformation. A great shift occurs in my outlook and it’s sometimes more evident on the outside than others. Where I am going, what I am doing and whether I am growing are questions that I have to ask myself in a big way every few months, and probably consider in some small way every day.

Many of you will know it’s been up and down for me with my business. It’s taken a long time to get to earning a stable income and last summer it looked like that was under threat. As it turns out, it’s the nature of selling software that sales dip in the summer (quite dramatically, I think last July I sold half what I normally do) and I hadn’t seen that the year before because of the podcasting explosion. Just as well, really, or I would have given up there and then.

This year I’ve been so tired. The effort it took me to get here and to keep everything ticking over drained me mentally, physically and creatively to the point where I really lost interest a couple of months ago. This was coupled with a number of events in my personal life too, not all about me specifically, but the combination was noxious. I went numb. I didn’t have a plan B, I only had the slightest inkling that what I should really do was try to get a break, somehow. It’s difficult to do that when you have so much to do and your livelihood depends upon you doing it.

As it happened, things worked out by themselves by last month when I did a lot of travelling, edited a lot of videos, took a lot of photos and generally kept myself busy that way. By default I will work unless I have something else to do, which is why it’s so hard for me to take a break. Going to Vlog Europe (which only happened because Richard Bluestein emailed me following a suggestion from Jeffrey, The Gay Expat – thanks!) was really just what I needed.

I can’t stress enough how much I need creative outlets. It’s great having a job that is creative, but it is still a job and a lot of what I have to do is mundane or performed within commercial constraints. Having creative freedom without attempting to make money seems just as important to me. Maybe more so, because I always feel better for expressing myself.

So this was a completely unexpected revelation for me. I’m always saying to people that I’m not all that geeky, because I’m not obsessed with technology and there are so many other aspects to me. To just be geeky makes me feel like a machine. Without doing something that enables me to put those other aspects of me out there, I feel incomplete. It’s just so great that we have the internet where I can do all this and make amazing new friends in the process.

And the business? Well, on my trip to Italy I did a lot of thinking. I knew I was lucky, that I was involved with something exciting, important and rewarding and that as long as I could keep my sanity, pay my bills and be happy, that’s all I need. I looked at where my business could be in a year’s time and considered the likelihood of having grown again, being in a more realistically secure financial position and feeling greater satisfaction and decided that, yes, all those things were not only possible, but actually likely.

My mistake was in trying to run a continuous marathon. It doesn’t work that way. That is the way to burn out, both in the mental sense and in the creative sense. Yes, you have to keep going and not lose sight of your goal, but it’s no good if, by the time you get there, you collapse in a heap, particularly as it never works out exactly as you’d planned. You need to keep reserves so that you don’t feel like you’re running on empty all the time.

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6 Responses to “I Needed a Little Time to Think Things Over”

  1. swingnut Says:

    Wise words.
    Nice song title too 😉

  2. Andy Melton Says:

    I can’t wait to get a Mac so I can use your software (and give it a proper review, of course, lol). Then, maybe, as I fill the Mac up with all sorts of freeware I can tell you the type of software I simply can’t find for the Mac and you can write it and become super rich and famous!

  3. Steve Says:

    Ade – not an exact song title. “A Little Time” would be The Beautiful South’s number. But yes, you is right.

    Andy – oh joy!

  4. Tim Says:

    I’ve only recently (in the last two months) started following your blogs, but I think it’s great that you are able to do things like Vlog Europe and Scissor Sister concerts, yet still conceive, code, and maintain the apps you’ve written. I especially admire that you’re supporting yourself with your own creativity and knowledge.

    I downloaded (and registered) Feeder a couple days ago because I thought it was an innovative and intuitive app. But I also bought it because I felt it was something you poured your heart and soul into, so I KNEW it would work.

    I guess all I wanted to say is that you shouldn’t get discouraged. I love your blogs, vlogs, photos, and cool Mac apps. Keep on doing what you’re doing. (Do I sound like too much of an ass-kisser?)

  5. John Ong Says:

    Rides of life. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing. I can relate in many ways.

  6. Steve Says:

    Tim, thanks a lot, I feel honoured that you’re watching my stuff and linking here, since I know a lot of my favourite whores really dig what you do.

    And thanks also for buying Feeder – I really do pour my life into it, especially at times like now when I’m working hard on a new release (free upgrade, don’t worry since you just paid ;)).

    And John, yes, it’s actually out of some of our conversations about creativity that this blog post sprung, it just takes a while for my thoughts to fully form.


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