Embracing my dillettante nature

where I do a lot of thinking
 \ DIL-uh-tont; dil-uh-TONT; dil-uh-TON-tee; -TANT; -TAN-tee \
1. An amateur or dabbler; especially, one who follows an art or a branch of knowledge sporadically, superficially, or for amusement only.
2. An admirer or lover of the fine arts.

I am in an introspective mood right now, looking at where I have been, where I am going. Considering my long and short term goals, my vision of myself.

You may wonder why I am still working on my vision of me. Why I am still trying to find that elusive sense of 'Active Satisfaction'. Well, I think with having published a book I felt that my next step needed to be 'professional' - to do another book, to market my current book, develop a product line, be a teacher, move my blog to the next level of greatness. And somewhere along the way I thought that to be a professional meant I needed to focus on one thing, to develop one art further.

But that was stressing me out because in reality 1) I am a homeschool Mama of 5 kids under 10 and 2) I have never been an exclusive person, I like to artistically dabble. And I am tired of feeling like this is not good enough, that I am not doing enough. I am tired of not being satisfied with myself. Seriously folks, in 2011 I am going to get my head around this!!!

In my introspective mode I was looking at the blogs I have bookmarked. The blogs that I visit for inspiration, for comfort, to be close to those I identify with and like. And I noticed the diversity of blogs I like:

Mama/photographers like Shutter Sisters, Shannon Mucha
Christian/writer/photographers like Chatting at the sky, Amy Voskamp
Mama/organic/life like Soule Mama, Walk slowly, Live Wildly
Artist/poetic/life style like Kelly Rae Roberts, Liz Lamoreux
Journal artists like Alisa Burke, Donna Downey
Lifestyle/women/artsy like Wishstudio
Crafty/mama/homeschooling like Artful ParentAcorn Pies
Crafty/mama/shabby chic like Ruffle and Stuff, One Pretty Thing
Crafty/indie/mama like Made, I am Momma - Hear Me Roar
Artist/indie/geeky/urban like Etsy's blog, or Keri Smith
Poetic/artistic/photographers like Susan Tuttle Misty Mawn
Mixed media/crafty/shabby chic/lifestyle like CRESCENDOh, Cynthia Shaffer, Roben-Marie,
Mixed media like Create Mixed Media, Seth's The Altered Page
Product photography/house style like A Creative Mint, Decor8

All of these blogs have bits that resonate with me.

While I know my primary focus is, big picture, on motherhood and art - my style and process is really that of a dilettante. Yes, I dabble in different arts and in different styles.

I like shabby chic, artsy romantic, clean, white and urban, indie and geeky, layered, whimsical and happy, sad and decaying. I am all of these things. I love poetry - reading it and writing it. I love photography - looking and taking. I love pretty things in my hands - notebooks, altered tins filled with papers. I enjoy doing crafts. I like to write and inspire others.

I am ambitious for my creativity. But I don't want to be a professional anything right now. I don't want to be 'an artist', to market and sell my book/art. I don't want a shop or to be a leader. I just want to be here, raising my kids and doing something creative everyday. And isn't that the essence of my book?

So really I am full circle again. Just this time I won't get side tracked by the idea of being an advancing professional woman. While I admire women who are professional, think Jenny Doh or Kelly Rae Roberts, I need to be real with where I am right now. And if I am to be true to my vision as an artistic mother, fitting creativity into my life, then I can really only be a 'dilettante'. I need to actually embrace that and save the professional ambitions for later, when my kids are grown. 

I feel like I am putting my flag firmly in the ground, here I am and this is what I am. That feels freeing!!!


  1. Wow. This is well thought out and very cool.


  2. feel good about your decision...they grow up way too quickly!!!!xxx

  3. fabulous post! it's so easy to get caught up in others' "shoulds" that you had your "aha" and found clarity

  4. Well put, and good for you. What you are doing "now" for your children/family, will reap for the good years and years down the road. Your homeschooling days will be over before you can turn around. It is so important to pour yourself into your children and your home now!! We can enjoy the left overs...hehehe.

  5. Yes!!! But we need to remind ourselves still!

  6. Anonymous8:37 AM

    Heart felt art is just that, from the heart. If you do what you love, it turns out better! If you do what you think you should, it may not have life to it. Really, if you follow your process, you'll find yourself there anyway. I love a book by Sue Bender - Plain and Simple. In the end, she realized the process is important and rushing it only serves to take away from the end. Sounds like your process is going well.

  7. Everything you said here resonates with me. I learned years ago to accept and be okay with where I was yet I fight myself on that all the time. What is this feeling of needing to define ourselves? Of not doing enough? Being enough? Being an at-home-mom is the most rewarding job I could ever have yet I allow myself to feel as if it's not enough when I know deep down it is everything to me. Finding a focus outside of that? Nearly impossible for me it seems. I always thought it was something wrong with me or lacking in me. To hear some of the same words coming from another makes me feel less alone. Makes me feel justified in my focus on my children. Makes me know I am okay. If only I felt that way for myself all of the time.
    Well written post (much better than the response I just slapped together!).

    You Rock!!!

    now I'm off to check out some of your links. ;)

  8. You are doing the right thing. I know you won't regret it.

  9. This is a wonderful post, and while you are writing about you, you are also communicating a lot of freedom to this mamma's heart! I celebrate that flag-planting with you!

  10. Thank you everyone for the support and understanding.

    Vickie, thanks for the book rec.

    I woke up with another word - eclectic. ec·lec·tic/iˈklektik/
    Adjective: Deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. I like that.

  11. I have also struggled with the social pressure to take one thing to greatness and, therefore, neglect all the other things I love. I can't decide if I want to be a photographer, a sculptor, a knitter, a designer, or a writer. I finally read a book called Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher that talks about people who want to dabble in all sorts of things as "Scanners" and describes how this can be a wonderful and productive character trait. I really enjoyed the book and felt some relief after reading it. Greatness doesn't mean being the best at one thing, though the corporate world might like to tell you that's the case!

    Great post Shona.

  12. you are lovely and so is the work you are doing.

  13. I totally agree that this post is the essence of your book. Your book is tremendous. It has made a huge difference in my life. Thank you for that!
    You are a beautiful artist and poet and photographer right now. In my very humble opinion, being professional doesn't really add to that or take away, I think its like something different entirely. Your creations add so much beauty to the world right now. Just by your creation of them.

  14. Hi Shona, I'm so glad you are feeling better about where you are at with your art and your blogging.

    BTW, I awarded you the Stylish blogger award this week, though I was pretty sure you already had it. I wanted my readers to see a good example of a 'stylish' blog. :o)

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  15. I love this word dilettante....when I was a child I set myself a goal of reading through the dictionary so I could find exciting new words....needless to say that didn't last as I would get sidetracked by the next thing.
    Now I am going to bake cookies in the hope I can get my kids not to eat so much processed food (my fault I know).
    Love Deb

  16. I have been fighting a similar struggle in my head this past year to the point, sadly, that I pretty much avoided my studio.

    I am also finally wrapping my head around the fact that I don't have the same focus as some of my friends who are becoming "famous" and spending a lot of time promoting their work.

    Somewhere along the way I let myself think that my art was only worthwhile if the big wide world saw it and praised it. My Heavenly Father has been gently reminding me that creativity is good just for the joy it can bring to me and my family.

    Thanks for this post!

  17. Wow, this so resonates with me!!!!! Thanks for sharing. I am a hs mom of five, and really making artistic pursuits a big priority this year. I am a creative , artistic person, and want to honor that part of me instead of it being " just when I have time".
    Thanks again!!


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