Creativity: Crop Rotation, Pt. 2


I’d like to expand on an old blog post called Creativity: Crop Rotation. (

Especially if you live in Los Angeles, there’s a lot of pressure to give yourself an Industry Designation. You’re supposed to decide on some narrow job description like Guitarist or Photographer — and make sure it’s clear on your business card and in your email signature for the next billion years. You’re expected to climb that ladder, work it into every conversation you have, just in case a stranger can get you a gig doing it. And never do anything else, unless you want everyone to think (know) you’re an amateur.

If you happen to love doing more than one thing, it must mean you’ve FAILED at one of them, right? Or the thing you did AFTER the other thing is because no one thought you were any good at it and you gave up.

In 2008, I took a lot of interest in programming WordPress sites and CSS. It fascinated me. So I bought some books, learned it, and did it for a living. It was extremely funny to me that a client once asserted that I couldn’t know anything about audio because I was just “a web design guy.” I didn’t bother correcting him.

Over the years I’ve studied and succeeded in graphic design, music, marketing, advertising sales, writing books, directing videos, editing, producing, photography, web programming, animation… so when someone at a party asks me what I do, I can’t give a simple answer. (If they instead asked me my favorite food, I could at least answer with one word: Burrito.)

I get good at things because I get serious. I honestly don’t think I have much talent, and I beat myself up a lot for not being good at socializing or meeting people. But what I can do every single day is study a subject until I understand it. I buy books, look up the definitions of words I don’t understand, read websites and forums, watch training videos, listen to podcasts, ask advice from experts, and go to stores & seminars where I can experience the subjects up-close. I believe I’m capable of mastering something if I just invest the time.

I master things and move on, then learn how to mix them together.

Frank Zappa called this “The Direction of Many Things.”

I have no idea what I’ll be doing in a year or five years. Hopefully something where I can keep doing many things in parallel and series, because I enjoy it.

One thought on “Creativity: Crop Rotation, Pt. 2

  1. Holy Cow… you’ve described me very well.
    Jack of all trades, though I often feel “master of none” because they all excite me and I keep jumping around – web/css, video, photography, graphics, CAD, 3D animation, programming, basic audio, construction, mechanics. Right now I’m in school to be a physics teacher.

    And I’m an introvert.

    But since I have a wife and daughter, it’s hard to jump around, since there is no steady income, and the income I have received in the past was rarely close to enough. Hence the teaching…

    Press forward!

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