Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Without boundaries

I'm a writer. There is no doubt in that fact. Not a day that goes by that I do not lay a few words down on a page of some sort, whether it's a blog post, an article, a tweet or a status update. Whether it be a paragraph, thought, a desire, a snippet...it's prose.

I'm a writer.

I'm also a huge American Idol fan. Music was my second creative love. Art was my first. Surprisingly, writing was my third. Go figure it's the one that might possibly bring the most success. Possibly.

As the guest artist on American Idol this week, Jamie Foxx was billed as having a career without boundaries. Now, in order to put this in perspective, picture me just waking from a nap on the couch, feeling pretty darned groggy, my eyelids sticky and trying to open, my brain attempting some sort of coherence. The show's theme song rips across the living room and then I hear some stuff (must have drifted back to sleep a sec) and somewhere in there I hear the words "career without boundaries."

I wake straight up.

Without boundaries. And I think, huh, that's a little like my writing career lately.

Make no bones, I am not the Jamie Foxx of the writing world. Never will be. Not even resembling one little chicken bone of a career that could mirror his. But the phrase grabbed me and yes, that IS what I've been doing of late--thinking beyond the boundaries.

Here's the reason why (at least in my feeble mind, remember, I could still be sleeping):
  • I quit my day job five months ago.
  • I'm a fiction author with two pen names.
  • I'm a nonfiction author writing under my "real" name.
  • I manage no less that a dozen web sites to promote my work. I designed all of them but one.
  • I blog (okay, that one has been a bit lame lately).
  • I play the social media game.
  • I do writing workshops and manage a budding online writer community and network.
  • I just opened a small publishing house, and am currently acting as web designer, cover artist, editor and publisher (that all will change in time) and yes, author.
Without boundaries. Many irons in the fire. As one of my writer friends says (and I love this phrase coming from her, cute little perky thing that she is) "balls to the wall." And I love each and every one of my roles in the writing world. I am, to quote a song from one of my fave movies, "having the time of my life."

But there is part two in this American Idol theme for tonight. Jamie Foxx also made a clear distinction with the four remaining contestants on the show. He told them, it's time to decide. Are you a contestant? Or are you an artist? You decide.

Again, I took that back to my own work. Which one am I?

At what point in our creative lives do we make the jump from contestant to artist? At what point do we truly know? And is there a time where it is okay to be the contestant rather than the artist? Or that it is appropriate to revert from artist to contestant?

Without boundaries.

I do not have the answers. Not for you anyway. I have them only for me. You? You have to answer those questions for yourself, and I truly believe, the answers will differ at varying times in our careers.

So I ask you, right now, which are you? In regard to your writing, are you a contestant or an artist? And...can you take your career to the point where you are without boundaries? Where all things are game? If you can, you might find that you, too, are having the time of your life.

You decide.


Tonya Kappes said...

I am both in my mind! I started out as a contestant to see if I could write that novel and after finishing four, I've become an artist in my mind.
Professionally, I'm still a contestant waiting to pick what's behind door number 1 so I can become the artist.

Maddie James said...

Tonya, I think it's fine to be both! We're always learning, so in a sense I guess we're always a teeny bit contestant. But oh, how cool to call ourselves artists, eh?

You'll pick your door when it's the right time, I'm sure. Best of luck! You're a hard worker, so I bet it won't be long!