Create more than consume

Find an audio version of this post here.

Have you ever stopped to consider how much information, entertainment and external noise you consume in a day? There is a staggering amount available in the palm of our hands and that is increasing at rates my brain cannot process. I have started to recognise the impact this level of consumption has on my headspace, my emotions and my creativity. I have acknowledged my distraction addiction many times. This intention on my 2020 manifesto takes it a step further. I want to create more than I consume.

A special few who paint, sculpt or draw are not the only ones with the need for creativity. I firmly believe that we are all creative beings expressed in a myriad of ways. Your creativity may be in words, problem-solving, dance, home decor, business ideas, photography or a hundred other possibilities. I don’t like the person I become when I quench that creative side of myself with busyness and consuming. Do you?

“Art is too important a term to be used just for painters. And sculptors. And playwrights. And actors. And architects of a certain type. No, I think we need to broaden it to graphic designers and salespeople and bosses. To lay preachers, to gifted politicians and occasionally, to the guy who sweeps the floor. Art is a human act, something that’s done with the right sort of intent. Art is when we do work that matters, in a creative way, in a way that touches them and changes them for the better.”

Seth Godin- Graceful

Consuming my downtime

If I am honest, I am still filling much of my downtime with consuming. I have crochet projects sitting unfinished, colouring books gathering dust, words that remain floating in my head and requested Lego builds sitting in pieces. I have not yet conquered the lure of technology but I am taking steps.

Last night, I began a crochet project for a friend’s baby due soon. It includes a stitch I haven’t done recently and required brushing up on my skills. I had to start over three rows in, due to mistakes. Once the initial challenge of starting was done, momentum built and this creation formed in my hands. I went to bed with a quieter mind and soul than I have on all the other nights I have mindlessly watched shows or played games on my phone. Why do I put off creating when I know the impact it has on my soul?

Apart from the impact on my soul, an abundance of consumption leads to a dearth of creativity. The words floating in my head become those of others and not my own. Consumption swallows up the space needed for a creative idea to germinate and grow. I start to compare myself to others and question the value of adding in my own voice. This impact is not limited to mindless entertainment and social media trawls. Even the podcasts, videos, books and articles that encourage and inspire can turn into endless consumption without the output of creativity.

Why create at all?

I never want to be adding to the noise for the sake of it. That thought challenges me as I write, post or create course content. It is a fine line between discrediting the value of your unique contribution and being selective in what you send out for public consumption. I need to remember this quote:

“You may not be the first to say it, write it, create it, or believe it—but you saying it may be the first time someone finally hears. Yes, someone else can say it better, but that doesn’t mean you can’t say it too. Throw out your inhibitions and spin around in this crazy world of recycled ideas. There is nothing new to say. Say it anyway.”

Emily Freeman- A Million Little Ways

This concept keeps me going some days. There may be just one person out there who needs to hear the words in the way that I string them together to experience a shift in their lives. If I am creating for public viewing, this lens of being of service to those who see it is key.

I continue to press into what this idea of creating more than I consume this year will look like. Some will be for you to see and engage with. Other aspects will be for those closest to me. More will be purely for me. Maybe this idea of creating more than you consume is what you need to press into this year?