The Joys and Perils of Creativity A-D-D

That’s me!  Long before attention deficit disorder became a diagnosis, I’ve been acutely aware of my selectively short attention span.  My self-diagnosis is selective because when hooked – say on a good book – I can and do maintain focus and attention for hours at a stretch.



But all it would take is one look at my collection of arts and crafts supplies (if you could find all the squirreled-away places they hide in my house) and you’d know without question that I have a classic case of Creativity A-D-D.

That spend-10,000-hours-on-any-one-thing-to-be-an-expert notion will never fly with me.  It’s not that I don’t believe it, and it’s not at all that I don’t admire people whose laser focus on the art (or science or whatever) of their choice earns them mastery.  I do! I envy their mastery. I long for their skill.

But, wait! Here’s another cool new thing to learn! I see something at a craft show or in a magazine and I want to try my hand.  (Let’s not even talk about Pinterest which my nieces aptly call THE BLACK HOLE!) I jump in with unbridled optimism, sure I can create a product that rivals the glossy picture that inspired me – after I purchase all the necessary supplies of course.

And when hooked – as I’ve been with Friendly Plastic, fabric painting, glass painting,  stained glass, peyote beading, and now wet-felting – I create and create and create some more. Often I’m only marginally successful because I have no patience to take a class. But since I gravitate toward creations where only a little skill is required, my stuff can turn out lovely – to the untrained eye. I parade my creations on my person and in my home, I gift them to family and friends, and occasionally find someone willing to feed my passion by making an actual purchase.

Until the next enticing project comes along.  Which will inevitably require purchase of new and different supplies and equipment.  And will offer new opportunities for the 10,000-hours-devotees to shake their heads at my squandering ways.

I see their point.  I really do.  If I wrote a page for every trip to Michael’s, that second novel might be in your hands by now. Alas.  And yet, I like trying new things. I don’t mind the wad of goofs – free-form crocheting that will not conform to a wearable garment and others – or the stash of fabric paint that may dry up before I feel inspired to unearth it again.

I look at my creativity A-D-D as therapy – and it’s abundantly clear I need more therapy than I can wear, give away, or sell to some unsuspecting soul.  The hundreds (probably thousands) I’ve spent on supplies?  Still cheaper than therapy.  Surely.

So that’s my story and my self-diagnosis. And hey, I have to go.  There’s something on Pinterest I want to try.

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