The Hungry

🤕 I have a severe condition

Published 7 months ago • 4 min read

Today's post is a throwback (June '22) to an idea that resonates as much today as it did when I first shared it.

I share some updated thoughts at the end to lend some modern context

I suffer from O.N.T.S.

(I had to check WebMD to ensure this wasn't an actual thing. It's not.)

O.N.T.S. is a chronic non-disease that stands for Overwhelmed by New Things Syndrome, and I have it, or at least I did until a few weeks ago.

I’m feeling much better now, but there’s always a chance it will return unless I take steps to better care of myself.

Jump back in time to a few weeks ago after my previous post. I was eager to start a new, prolific writing career when I wrote that post. And then I disappeared.


On top of starting this new creative outlet, I was also trying to do several other things.

  • I started a new business practically from scratch
  • Shuttered my old business
  • Launched not one but two newsletters
  • Redesigned my entire website for the new business
  • Pledged to produce several new digital asset packs for artists and designers
  • Researched and planned a new advertising campaign for the business
  • Wrote, recorded, edited, and launched a new poster design course
  • Wrote, recorded, edited, and uploaded a new YouTube every week
  • Worked one-on-one with creative coaching clients
  • Co-organized, juried, and hosted a 50-artist gallery event

I also have all my home-life duties, like taxiing my son to school and swim team practices.

The problem isn’t that I had a lot on my plate but that many of the things I had on that plate were relatively new, and an amateur’s inexperience plagued me.

That’s not a problem on individual items, but loading up several new things to learn all at once made me feel like a rhino wearing lead boots while stuck in a sinkhole.

Going Nowhere but Down

At a tipping point, I recognized the problem and immediately cut ties temporarily with all the things that weren’t directly pressing.

I intended to tackle everything on that list, but how about we put them in a pile and work on the one at the top first instead of trying to juggle all the proverbial plates at once?

It worked, mostly.

Even as recently as yesterday, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, but a well-timed phone call with a friend got me feeling much better about things. They were also suffering from O.N.T.S. themselves and also cut ties from all the bad stuff that kept them from focusing on the most important things.

Sometimes, commiseration is the answer to the problem. There’s a risk of feeling more overwhelmed in those moments because if they are feeling bad too, we’re all feeling bad, and the world is screwed!

Or, we can remember that the world still goes on whether we finish everything on the list, and if we miss our self-imposed deadlines, the world doesn’t have access to our calendars to check up on us.

The truth is, most people are too caught up in their own O.N.T.S. situations to pay attention to ours.

The TL;DR (a bit late in the game) is that I finished several items on the list, and the clouds are parting from a cluttered sky.

And that means it’s time to figure out what I’m doing with this space.

If you know me, you already know I have a plan, which will be good.

The eventual goal is to post three times a week, with two posts being public and one for paid members. That may take a while to get to that production level; we’ll see how it goes.

And I’m sure the next question is, what would a members-only post look like?

Some Ideas

  • Breaking down my art and design process on individual projects
  • Critiques (perhaps unsolicited) of other designer’s and artist’s work
  • More in-depth experience of things I might share in the public feed
  • Digital art and assets that I created specifically for the group.
  • And more

I always love the “and more” because it’s not a cop-out as much as it promises things I haven’t thought of yet.

Side Note: Those ideas above are no longer valid for reasons I'll explain below, but know that I do have thoughts on how to add value to the Makers. Become a Maker today and get 10% off.

For now, onto the next project, which is to figure out my workflow for everything I’m committing to and get my butt on a schedule.

There's currently no cure for O.N.T.S.

We have the tools to manage it, but please refrain from talking to your physician about O.N.T.S. because they will not know what you are talking about.

Same as It Ever Was

Although my focus lately has moved away from creating art and more on sharing thoughts and ideas in written and video format, I still struggle with my mind wandering from one new project to the next.

  • Should I create a course?
  • Should I add posters again?
  • Should I kill my main website and operate strictly as a newsletter?
  • Should I sell strictly on marketplaces and prove my theories?

The only way I know how to push back on the impulse to chase every idea is to first understand where I want to be in the future and then only lean into the things that help me get to that point.

Pick a point on the horizon as a goal, and no matter the drifting currents and tides, you do not waiver from that objective.

I call this the Magellan Method, and if you'd like me to talk more about it in the future, CLICK HERE.

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The Hungry

By Dave Conrey

The Hungry serves up practical and actionable creative business news, information, and insights twice weekly. Join thousands of other artists, designers, and creative professionals looking to demystify marketing, strategy, selling techniques, and the technology necessary to run a thriving business.

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