I used to live in a area where there was an ADD clinic we used to drive passed on occasion. The first time I ever noticed it was when I was in the middle of a conversation, instantly mid sentence I knew that I just had to point out this wonderful moment. Stopping the conversation with a sudden exclamation of "ADD Clinic?" made for a nice moment of beautiful comedic effect. We spent the next few minutes busting up over just how perfect the situation had been.
The thing is though that I do suffer from a serious case of self diagnosed ADD. I have a hard time spending serious amounts of time working on anything. If cleaning takes more that ten minutes I get bored. If a painting takes more than I week it usually gets tossed aside. It is not really a commitment issue, I love getting started on a project and I envision myself doing all of the work and see what needs to be done, but most of the time I get half way there and get distracted, and finishing the piece becomes a chore. I don't really want to keep working on it I want to move onto the other new shiny idea, because it is way more interesting that what I am currently working on. This doesn't mean that I want to completely get rid of this disorder. I love it, that is part of why I never really went to anyone to get help with it. Having this propensity to jump from idea to idea is part of my creative process, and to kill it would kill my creative half, but I cannot let it have too much power either.
This year I have been challenging myself to finish things. Well, not just to finish things. I already do that, but to finish them well, with the same amount of commitment and execution that I had dedicated to the beginning. I don't want to fizzle out. I want to be able to get done with a piece and have the result be a good as the original idea was.
I have been using different techniques of trying to get more out of my ideas. I have been slowing down paying attention to details. I have been working on my skills. I have been standing back for a day and getting perspective. I have been trying to distance myself from the work, so that maybe I can come back at it with more interest because I haven't had my head stuck in it for days straight.
Though I am more proud of the work that I have been doing since implementing this thinking to my art, it is like peeling my skin off. I am not going to lie, it is flat out torture to keep my mind on one piece for so long. I know that it is good for me to be pushing myself to put more work into something, but some days I look at the half finished piece and think, wouldn't it just be better if I moved on?
Reining in my natural desire to jump from project to project has been hard. I know that some people can spend years on a piece, it can consume them and take them for a journey. I have never found a piece of art that had made me feel that way. Sometimes I feel that I am doing things wrong because I don't have that kind of long lasting passion that others have. I know that my art could be so much better if I would be willing to put more effort into it. The thing is that, I don't need to be like other artists, I just need to be better than I am now.
I know that I am not other people and I do art differently than they do and that I am not making their art. I just need to be myself and make my art, but I also need to be better than just me. I need to push myself further so that I can grow while making something new,. Not letting my ADD run my life is part of that journey for me.