Focusing when you have multiple interests…

Getting focused via besotted blog ii

We were happy to see that our focus post started a dialogue and it is one we hope we can continue. So, where were we? Focus…and how I don’t do it and how my friends and associates that have focused, have achieved wild success. I on the other hand feel like I’m alternatively in a constant state of duress because I am trying to make ends meet or elation because I discovered something shiny and new, that sounds a bit manic, but it’s how I feel at this season in my life. Guess what? I am going to take the plunge and try my hand at focusing! I’ll give it a go, a solid with all my heart go and see where it leads me. Michelle and I have been having hours of heart-to hearts after that post launched discussing focus and what that would look like. Are we even the type of individuals that are capable of focusing? For me personally, I had to sit down and decide what I needed to take off my very full plate in order to achieve said focus (btw, I don’t know what it is I will be focusing on–yet), all I know at this point is that I need to cut the fat, remove the clutter so I can start seeing the proverbial forest through the trees. The first most logical thing for me to remove from my plate (and one of the hardest) is that I would need to close down Besotted Brand my stationery shop. This has been on my mind for a while, it’s not something I cared to admit to myself that the pleasure from it was not there anymore and that the logistics of it (shipping, sourcing, etc.) were not feasible with a toddler and my limited time. I think the logistics part put a huge damper on the passion part. Yes, I have entertained the idea of selling it, it was very successful (for a business I couldn’t devote all my time to, when I launched I had a serious  7-7 job and then we moved cross country and then I got pregnant…) it was featured in two books that list it as a resource and two huge magazines, so if you would like to step into the Besotted Brand captain shoes and take it the next level shoot me an email. For now though, it is closed. I will be selling off all the samples, inks, embossing powders, papers and the like just so I can make room in my small office/closet or as Michelle has dubbed it my ‘cloffice’. I put a lot of my heart into that project, but times have changed for me and it’s just not feasible. Michelle and I after careful consideration will also be shuttering our branding/creative studio, we have done some AMAZING projects, but we think we need to put our considerable energies elsewhere. We are in the percolation stages of how and what this new focus will look like.

This is my first step to getting to focus, well, I guess the first step, like any good ‘recovery’ program is to admit I have a problem. I am Tristan and I don’t focus. Or won’t focus? I do know that my first focus will be on business (is that oxymoronic, since first implies there’s more than one thing to focus on?, hmmm?). I feel like I could scale back on my varied interests/hobbies. That bit of me I am going to see if I can wrangle in. Our good friend Sanae recently did a giveaway on her blog of Maybelle’s Modern Calligraphy kit that she bought, because she admitted to herself that because of her current obligations it was a ‘pipe dream to take on another hobby’. Honestly, I was surprised because those kind of mature, rational thoughts never cross my mind, but I am going to try!  I want to be successful in the way that I define success and part of that definition for me does include being financially secure, not so I can go on shopping spree’s mind you but because I want to be a responsible parent/wife, good example to my daughter, be able to do things that would become great experiences and memories. I happen to think this is all possible, it’s the optimist in me I suppose. I am also realistic and know that this can not be possible if I am trying to do 150 things at once. I have had a lot of little successes and created some truly amazing projects that I am proud of, but what if I had picked one of these projects and focused on it? Would I be sharing my multi-millionaire story with you right now? Perhaps! True story–when I went to my the future partners for my fragrance I created (yes, I created a fragrance in another lifetime), the initial meeting to become said partners my pitch concluded something like this-“and then I want this brand to have a hotel…” I wish you could have seen the faces on these businessmen. I had one fragrance, they were interested in that fragrance, not becoming hotelier’s. They were single-minded and focused, they have ended up multi-millionaire’s. I am not even close. The moral of my story I suppose is it’s great to look at the big picture, but I think (and I don’t know yet) but I think if you focused on one thing and garnered some success from that then you can build out but you need a strong and solid foundation. Also, not to turn every interest and hobby into commerce. I am learning. This is a to be continued, but I am all ears if anyone else has found a way to focus and garnered success, if you are struggling with this or if you too are planning on doing anything about it, if so what?  I was so happy to read that Michelle and I weren’t alone in this struggle!


These are just a couple links I found the other day that are food for thought…

Should you combine your many passions or choose one?

How to focus when you have many interests?

TedTalk: Why some of us don’t have one true calling? I haven’t watched yet but over 2m people have and I plan on it too.

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and the fastest way to clean + digitize your lettering and line art –Lettering Rx | Paper to pixel and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

13 thoughts on “Focusing when you have multiple interests…

  1. Oh Tristan, you know this struggle is mine as well! I don’t have the answers yet, but I can tell you what I’ve done that’s been helping (at least in terms of focusing, psychologically, if not fiscally). I made a list of all the wonderful things that I want to do/learn. I check in on it every once in awhile, just to take stock and see if there’s anything that I’m interested in taking OFF the list. If not, I leave it as is. But, in the meantime, I picked one hobby (paper flower making). I do it nearly every day, improving techniques, learning, just staying with it. I don’t try to do it for money, more as a discipline. And I find that sitting with that one thing has actually opened my mind to how I can connect the dots through the other skills that I’ve picked up along the way. It’s too early to tell whether I can connect the dots and make things happen, but I do know that it’s making me feel more stable. And when I’ve focused and focused and focused all week, I treat myself to a dip into something else on my interest list – a bit like having dessert. I can’t change my personality and my unlimited curiosity , but I CAN figure out ways to harness my interests. xo (P.S. I think you’re brilliant.)

    1. Thank you sweet Suzonne for your kind words. I have noticed your focus! I think you could do anything you set your mind to and obviously you have and you succeeded beyond measure! Thank you for adding your thoughts here, I think it helps all of us that are feeling the same way!

  2. So sad to see Besotted Brand (your stationery store) go… it was the source of many wonderful gifts (for myself included). But completely understand where you are coming from… Once you have a small child, I definitely feel as though your focus changes dramatically and as a self employed mama myself who is a serial dabbler, it now feels as though you now need to reign in to make every minute of your working life count – kicking those goals to make a life more financially secure for your little family. It definitely feels for us time poor mamas that razer like focus is the only way to get there with our busy, busy schedules. Argh! I wish you the best of luck with your “focusing ” :) I kinda think you ladies have a gold mine sitting under you with your FotoRx actions ;) Maybe I’m wrong but I think they are brilliant!!!

    1. Thank you Jess for the kind words and visit, it is sad for me too! But if I am not going to take Besotted Brand to the next level (wholesale, etc.) I think it deserves to either be in someone else’s hands or closed down. Both Michelle and LOVE our actions and what we thought was going to be a huge assistance to so many people but our target demographic of newbie’s to Photoshop may need more support than we originally anticipated, we are trying to see how that idea may fit in with our new focus. This is an epic challenge because yes, time is at a premium now. We don’t know what any of this looks like for the future, but we will promise to keep everyone along on our journey because if we can do it than we know anyone can, lol!

  3. I too am a serial non-focus gal. I dabble in web/graphic design and also enjoy sewing lots of different things. Once my baby girl came along I had to learn how to say no. It wasn’t something I was good at. I was good at being a ‘Jack of all trades’. I’ve found freedom in saying no. I still have no idea ‘what I want to be when I grow up.’ Right now I do marketing and design for a local Realtor part time but it’s not a focus. It’s just a way to make a little money in the very few hours I have to spare. I want to find a focus and for it to be a way for me to help provide for my family and for me to have a creative outlet. I think eventually I’ll get there, but it’s definitely going to take some time to figure out what I want to do.

    1. Hello Lindsey! Yes, amazing how different my life is now with baby, but weirdly enough I still have 2,000 balls in the air, I guess I had 10,000 before? Lol. We had been taking on design/branding clients so we could have an income and work on our other projects without starving, but it really eclipsed everything and was hard for us on our limited time to devote on other projects that may need attention. We also were in holding patterns with clients, for whatever reason on the clients end, not malicious just life and it really effected how we could work since we have such limited time. I almost think though this limited time has made me better at time management (another one of my problems in my former life, lol). We wish you success in figuring it out, and if you do before us please let us know;)

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this post, Tristan! I have been having the same feelings lately…I love dabbling in many things as well and often find it hard to focus. I think a lot of it has to do with being confident in the direction you are going. For me, I never want to feel “stuck” doing something and it’s often hard to envision a successful future – but I’m learning that you shouldn’t be afraid to succeed (or fail). I am trying this whole focusing thing out as well (hence my blog name change, etc.) However, it’s also important to note that having different hobbies on the side can be useful too, especially in expanding yourself or getting your mind out of a creative rut! Sounds like this is the year of changes! Looking forward to new and successful things for you both!!!

  5. Thank you Jess for the note! We saw about your name change and think that’s a fabulous idea! Whatever you do should be a hit, we think you are amazing! While we are trying to formulate this ‘focus’ I think we are looking for the convergence of our interests and skill sets and how that looks and whether it would be feasible for us to focus and turn it into a viable entity, thus all these heart-to-hearts, lol. Of course, we won’t find something that will encompass ALL our skills and interests, but some skills and interests we may not want to use for this focus/project. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree it’s good to have other hobbies/interests outside of your ‘work’ but my problem is that I have TOO many, thus mastery of none and I have a wee problem with getting super excited easily and thinking that a hobby could become commerce and exploring that avenue. I don’t know if that’s a problem for anyone else, or if it’s the new easy access to a marketplace like Etsy that makes it so easy to do so. The people I mentioned that I worked with or partnered with prior have focused on their ONE thing (and have achieved great success) are still living wildly creative lives, it didn’t stop them from being curious and creative I think it freed them from the cacophony and constant stress of having too many balls in the air and not knowing which project will bring in income. I am ready to take that plunge and see if a way I haven’t ever tried, a way that seems to be a tried and true method toward success, if I too can achieve it if I focus!

  6. Tristan, this post really caught me as I’ve been on a ‘journey’ to simplify and FOCUS. I’ve been a graphic artist/designer since my teens and my parents owned and ran a printing business. Of course with this background you can imagine all the materials at my disposal. Our family was part of a church that had lots of celebrations and events, so I was either a teacher of art classes or the person in charge of art direction. Like you, I also had an Etsy shop called Three Good Things where I sold greeting cards. I recently got back into wedding calligraphy and teaching modern calligraphy workshops. Lately, though, I’ve had a yearning to pare down. My interests, my art materials . . . just everything. I’m reading a book called The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. He takes us on a journey to understand how our consciousness is tethered to the ego and how to move into a state of inner freedom. Honestly, I can see that I’m all over the map in terms of interests (Jill of all trades) but I am endeavoring to become a master of one. I recently took all of my work down from my studio walls to remove all visual noise. Just doing this one exercise allowed my eyes to breathe again and feel a state of inner freedom – and in the process, I realized that there is a significant difference between doing something intentionally vs. mindlessly. Like you, I’ve seen friends achieve wild success because of their focus. Finally, after 60 years on this planet, I see the need to do so as well. Though it’s difficult to be closing your Etsy shop down, I want to encourage you to keep moving forward with your new focus. And I wanted to tell you that of all the blogs I subscribe to, yours is my favorite. It has a quiet voice and visually, it appeals to me. Just as you’ve steadily grown your blog, you will steadily improve your focus. So from one creative to another, I wish you the very best.

  7. Hi Tristan, You really spoke to my heart with this post. I think a lot of creative people have this issue. My daughter and I discuss it all the time. We always say we want to do all the things (art, lettering, photography, design,etc.) She has a full -time job that allows her to fulfill most of her yearnings but it’s still a struggle to stay focused and not want to take her other talents to the next level. My problem is that I am just now trying to figure out what my business should look like and what direction I want to take. There are so many choices but I know I need to keep the focus on one thing. It’s touch when you have a specific talent and you create for pleasure and then those friends (who are so gracious) keep prodding you with, ” you should sell these, or you should open a business.” They don’t know their well-meaning remarks send my head into to a spin and the focus cycle starts all over again. I have been wanting to move my business away from calligraphy for weddings and do something more with stationery, stamps, prints. etc. I have been producing som product but did not want to open my shop until I was able to stock the shelves. I would love to get some info. on taking over your Besotted Brand. If you could shoot me an email and let me know what that looks like for you I would love to hear.

    I’m excited to see where your next adventure takes you!


    1. Well, Pamela from an outsider looking in, it DOES look like you have started to focus, and with that focus you have started to master a craft that I know from experience is very difficult! I am wondering if it’s because it’s so easy now to get your interests/hobby to market if that’s where the multi-creative starts thinking they can do all these things at once AND sell it? But maybe that’s where the practice of discipline comes in,deciding to focus on that one thing that makes your heart sing? The others become hobbies? I don’t know, I am definitely going to try to explore this avenue since I have never given a to focus. Like many who are in this boat with us, maybe fear of boredom? Or maybe not fear but boredom? I mean look at me I went from creating a successful fragrance (a huge accomplishment) to building a hotel and all that would entail, so I didn’t give the original product love or attention after it’s initial success and in writing it in public does sond like the thought process of an insane person (for years I held on to the belief that it made perfect sense). That fragrance is still selling and doing very well for my partners (whom I sold it to), they focused, I did not. I have had many experiences like this and I think maybe it’s a matter of when you are ready to, maybe all these years have been leading up to this point? I don’t know, but if I find any answers I will share my experience with everyone! And I most certainly will email you my dear! Thank you for joining the conversation!!!

  8. Sylvie thank you, thank you for joining the conversation! I feel when others share their experience as well the conversation is richer and I know I for one have taken many great nuggets from these notes and they are wholeheartedly appreciated! Thank you for the book recommendation, I have had several emails regarding these posts/topic and will collect all the book recommendations and place them in a post for others that are on this same journey. I love that you are going to try to master one, is it the lettering? I like the idea of removing the visual clutter and I think you are proof positive that it’s never too late, for everyone reading this that might be thinking that (I know I was guilty of that often when I was younger). I know that I am very lucky to have a partner/friend in Michelle to share this process with. I think if I was doing this alone I may have given up and saw something shiny the second after I had the epiphany to focus. We are wishing you success and please do keep us posted on your progress!

  9. dear tristan, i can relate wholeheartedly to so much of what you speak about .. and it is somewhat reassuring that i am not the only creative chasing my tail .. 6 years ago i was determined to have a blog and use it to springboard creating an income .. at that time i had already been doing interior design for over 20 years and as the industry was changing i wanted to ‘focus’ on going more online, writing an ebook, teaching classes etc. .. i have started and stopped my blog more times then i care to admit .. a great deal of personal life got involved (marriage, injury, legal battles, parent illness and loss, daughter graduating and on to college, house remodel etc) .. all of this took my ‘focus’ and i felt like my work/hobby life died .. i knew i still wanted the same dream so took baby steps when i could (photography classes, blog classes, learned photo shop, upgraded computer, bought a good camera, played with lettering, wrote poetry .. the list goes on) .. i think some people are really good at focusing and being consistent .. i struggle, i want to learn everything, know everything, do everything well, do it all myself and i think in the end it is working to box me in .. i have had instagram for a couple years and i have been focused, dedicated and creative with it .. however i still sit at just over 100 followers .. so i can feel your ‘pain’ .. i feel i am so knowledgeable, organized and hopeful .. but i can not seem to get to the ‘focus on one thing’ mode either .. maybe this will give me the incentive to follow along with you and see how you do and it will keep me more mindful of my own focus as well .. thank you so much for sharing !! (i used to read your blog all the time, but again life got in the way .. hope to stay once again)

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