Hello, my name is Carrie and I’m a DIYer. I love figuring things out on my own. I’ve made small car repairs (a LONG time ago), created and designed my husbands wedding band, made general fix-it repairs around my home, and I’ve hemmed all kinds of goodies. I’ve heard this kind of dabbling nature, or lack of focus, hinders my creative success. Or, does it?

My Makeshift DIY Photo Studio. This, a lot of makeup, and some Photoshop later I have 3 new Feature Images for the website redesign 🙂

Artist Strong is 4 years old now and everything I’ve done for this blog has been on my own. I’ve looked up how-tos for just about everything dealing with blogging. I moved from WordPress.com to WordPress.org all by my lonesome (and with *Bluehost’s wonderful online tutorials)… I discovered theme layouts, learned a wee bit of coding, formatted images, you name it. I’ve learned A LOT. So much so, I’ve forgotten some of the overwhelm I felt when I first started. I really enjoy toying around with new projects, new ideas and learning how to run them. I like knowing how to do it all. Some might say I lack focus with such wide and varied interests. Obviously, toying around with lots of different and new skill sets means I’m less likely to be an expert at any one. Doesn’t this mean I’m hurting my chances of creative success?

One constant message I’ve received via many online sources (blogs, social media, general tips on the arts) is to commit to one skill set and work that for all it’s worth. That is how you “make it.” And yet, it is my breadth of experiences building my blog, dabbling in different artist media, that have allowed me to reach exactly this point in my life. Not only do I manage a successful blog helping creatives own their interests and dreams, I’m building it exactly the way I want it. My redesign is possible, all DIY, because I’m willing to play through YouTube How To videos over and over, because I social media (yes, it’s a verb), because I enjoy photography, drawing, painting, flute playing, music, yoga and cookies. I may not know how to code, but I know I can redesign my website. And I’m doing it; I’ve dabbled in so many things, I know I can tackle this new goal. (I’m so excited to show off the new digs!)

Artist Strong and my artist practice is now my full time mission. If that is so, you say, why am I not yet investing money in it? I have. But wisely. Frugally. Because the online space makes being self-made possible. Because I want to make enough money to begin investing in myself and growing Artist Strong. And because as Artist Strong grows, having experience dabbling in all of those many skill sets will help me fully understand and support my team. So, DIY in fact could be a blessing to future ventures and projects associated with Artist Strong.

The same holds for our creative processes. Being a DIY dabbler can inform our larger creative goal. If we get too focused on the details, for example, I must be perfect at drawing myself before I can do portraits of other people, are we hindering or helping our true focus?

I ask you, would Artist Strong exist today if I wasn’t a dabbler? Perhaps. But I know my lack of focus around web-based and visual skills has led me to this moment. Leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators can’t commit to one skill set. That kind of focus might actually lead them away from the risks they need to experiment with in order to realize their dreams. Creatives, we are no different! Yes, we may have a theme or medium we explore consistently in our work. That is A-OKAY! Overarching focus is useful and important for our success. And yet, all we need to do is look at Da Vinci’s journals or read a bit about Thomas Edison to realize success can come from DIY dabbling.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Is your focus single-minded or goal-oriented? How can you use DIY attitudes to help you reach towards your creative dreams? Share in the comments below.

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