2am Thoughts

The Problem With Having A Wide Variety Of Interests & A Short Attention Span While Needing Money

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Excuse the long title, I needed more words to make the word cloud.

I don’t really like doing these kinds of posts. The ones where you know I’m going to whinge about first world problems. But sometimes I just need to get it out of my head and onto the page or in this case, the screen.

Here is my dilemma: I like too many things and I’m not “great” at any one thing, and by that I mean not enough to get paid as it would seem. I can take photos, write, film, design, create music and sell products to some degree, but I wouldn’t say I’m best at any of them. I have too many interests and I find it hard to focus on one thing long enough to make it the foundations for a career.

Take this year for example. At the start I would have said that I am an automotive journalist, midway through I would have said I am a film maker and now I say that I am a designer. Most people say things to me like “wow! You’re so diverse, you must have so much money and get jobs really easily!” because on paper, it does look like I have all these incredibly creative tools at my disposal and years of experience to back it up.

The truth is, I don’t have a lot of money and I rarely get jobs, let alone ones that stick. I do know how to do all those things but it seems like, at least to me, that the industries that require the skills that I have are all full. Full of people who started years before me and focused solely on one thing to dedicate their time to and make a career out of.

And that is where my problem lies.

I always thought that having a wide variety of interests and skills as a strength. And it is, at something like a dinner party full of bankers and lawyers that are all dead inside. But in the real world, the one where people measure you based off of things like whether or not you own a house, it’s a weakness.

I come off like this amazingly successful person because I have written about cars, made videos, taken photos and written articles etc, etc. The thing is though, those people who are envious of me are actually better off. I did all those things for little to no money and ran my bank account into the ground to the point where I can’t afford to get any of my new ideas up and running. While I was flying to Brisbane to cover a motor show, those people were working 9-5, Monday to Friday doing the same repetitive crap over and over to earn a solid salary. Sometimes doing the corporate thing isn’t as bad as you might think.

I have been desperately trying to get enough money together to do a track car project – the one thing I have always wanted to do. But in getting involved with the automotive journalism industry and learning the ins and outs of how it all works, I managed to spend all my money. I was writing for Zen Garage and Mighty Car Mods, while being offered experience from TopGear Australia and it was all a dream come true. It felt like I was on the right track. But in order to step up my game from being a newbie who only writes articles about people doing something and actually have a chance to do my own thing, I needed money. I love writing for Zen more than anything. The support that I had from day one was phenomenal and intoxicating at the same time. I had a few ideas for articles that I could write that wouldn’t need any financial outlay and got amazing feedback for all of them. Then I had a lot of people sending me emails asking me about how to get into motorsport and I quickly realized that I needed to write about exactly that. From choosing the car to my first event, I had to detail every step involved. But again, I needed money to get a car worthy of doing that.

Fast forward a few months and I have to watch people do exactly what I want to do. Am I ticked off? A little. But not at the kid that worked his ass off to buy an MX-5 to be able to do a track project, I’m angry at myself. I can’t help but think that all the time I spent trying to get my foot in the door was a complete waste when all I needed to do was getting a shitty job and knuckle down long enough to be able to afford to do what I want.

What have I got to show for what I have done? I have a laundry list of people who have run my articles but that really doesn’t mean anything when the bills roll in. I know how to write a decent article for a particular audience but I have no means to take the next step right now.

So what should I do?

Taking all that into account, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do lately and this is what I have come up with:

Step 1: Focus myself and start trying to get actual work as a photographer, film maker, designer and writer.
Step 2: Earn money. Earn all of the money.
Step 3: Start track car project.
Step 4: …

That’s all I’ve got so far haha!

The one thing I do know is that I miss writing and film making. I miss writing for my own site, I miss writing for Zen and I miss writing in general. I want to get that back. Design is such a broad subject and has taken up so much of my time but I will be prioritizing writing a bit more now, so expect some good stuff very soon.

Mad rant huh? I already feel better getting it out, even if it wasn’t making a lot of sense.

Am I the only one with this problem? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @pikalew

– L

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