I saw a strange little tid bit the other day about productivity. Tim O’Reilly posted a bit of advice from The Information Diet, that we should strive to consume 10% and produce 90%. I’ve been letting this idea ferment for a while, and though I don’t agree with the numbers, I do agree with the principle.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being more creative. It seems to be becoming harder and harder to make your way in the world as a repackager of other people’s creations, whether they be physical or intellectual. I’ve worked in retail most of my life and it is become obvious that being a middle man is becoming increasingly difficult. In our growing information age, it is far too easy for the consumer to connect directly to the creator for there to be a great need for people in between to facilitate the transaction and take their cut.
All this leads to the decision that I need to find a way to get out of the middle. I want to create. It’s a simple statement and a difficult task. I’ve been taking baby steps. I am blogging more regularly. I figure that this little bit of writing is helping me to grow my skills, as meager as they might be. It’s pretty apparent that I’ll never be a writer if I don’t do some damn writing.
I was talking about this the other day with the a couple of cute baristas at the coffee shop. One of them has started a sketch journal and as she told me about it, it was obvious that she thought that the idea was childish. I don’t think that it is and I told her so. If you want to be an artist, you need to create as much as you can. Draw every day, even if your individual drawings seem silly and frivolous, the act of creation builds your skills. Creativity is a skill that must be developed and nurtured just as much as the technical skills that express it.
She probably thought I was just flirting with her, and I definitely was, but I still think I was saying something important, not just for her, but for myself as well. Over the last few years, as a dude with a couple of jobs and a small child, I’ve gotten a bit lazy. Not in the sense of not getting things done, but in the sense of consuming more and more brain candy, mostly in the form of Netflix. The result is that I am so wrapped up in the act of consuming information that I’m not creating anything. This is needs to change if I want to be any kind of creator.
So that is my goal: to spend more time creating and less time simply consuming. I’ll start be restricting my time spent watching shows on Netflix. I’ll keep it down to a single episode per night. To start ramping up my creation time, I will try to be more prolific in my blogging. I can try to get these posts over the 500 word count every day for one. In addition it is time to make a list of all the projects that have been languishing until I have ‘enough time,’ and start getting them done. I have some videos that I’ve been wanting to make for how-to posts and I want to re-pot some plants with Portmandia Jr.
Okay. I have a few goals. I have a list to make and things to do. Along the way I hope that I can find some passion that could lead back to self-employment. It’s time to get out of the middle and spend less time working for a boss and more time doing the things that I love.