Why Every Creative Needs to Intentionally Consume

Why Every Creative Needs to Intentionally Consume

Over the last month, I’ve been writing and posting everyday. It’s one of the steps I believe I have to take in order to reach my goals. During this, I’ve learned something that I honestly didn’t believe to be true.

Every creative needs to consume as much as (if not more than) they create. And here’s why I say that.

Before I started writing heavily (which would have been early December), I knew that every creative needed to consume in order to create. You have to put good in to get get good out.

If inspiration is taking what you know and have experienced, and queuing all of that into something tangible, then obviously you have to consume something in order to create anything. What I didn’t realize was how much consumption it actually takes to have enough ideas and thoughts and epiphanies to draw from so that you have enough with which to create.

I’ve been writing and posting everyday throughout the last month. I thought my largest hurtle was going to be disciplining myself enough to find time everyday around my day job. That part’s been relatively easy. The hard part has been coming up with something to write about everyday. And I’m 100% confident it’s because I’m not consuming enough.

Last year, my goal was to read a book a week for the whole year. It was great! I was consuming so much enjoyable, educational material that the only problem I had was finding time to write about all of my (subjectively) great ideas. Now the situation’s reversed, and I’m always struggling to come up with ideas!

I know I’m not the only one going through something like this. This has to be a common obstacle for creatives. But I think the solution is surprisingly simple. Do less in order to do more.

Spend less time trying to create, and more time building your pool of ideas. In my experience, I need to spend at least as much time consuming as I do creating just so I have fresh ideas when I sit down to write. I’m confident this will help you, too. Set aside intentional time to consume, so that you’ll be a better creator.

Creating Your Best Work

Creating Your Best Work

There’s a piece of advice that I keep coming across again and again. it applies to anyone with a creative side, but it always leaves me befuddled. That piece of advice goes like this.

People will often encourage you to create what you know. Don’t do that. Create what you like. Paint the picture you want to see. Write the book you want to read. Make the film you want to watch…

This advice comes up often (seemingly) as a cry to actually create rather than just copy what you see others doing. If you create what you’d like to see created, it will be something new or different. If you create something you know, you’ll effectively be spitting out the same art you take in. Or so the theory goes.

I have a hard time figuring out what this piece of advice means for me – for anyone, really. Usually if I come across a piece of advice and I can’t make sense of it, I just leave it. I forget about it. But this tidbit has come up time and time again in my reading. Either it’s really good, or the people saying it aren’t applying it to themselves.

I know what I write and create could be more interesting. It could be better. By intentionally sitting down to write everyday, am I not inevitably creating what I’d like to create? Or does the frequency actually cause the inverse? Do I end up writing just what I know in an attempt to get things done, rather than waiting for creative inspiration to strike?

It genuinely confuses me. I don’t have an answer, or even a concise response! I’ve read various elaborations on the point, but few seem to clearly define the difference. Maybe that says something about me? Maybe I should pay attention to my misunderstanding and contemplation – maybe create from that instead. That would would be following the advice, right? Creating something for me instead of creating per advice? Would the right thing to do, then, be to neglect all the advice and do what I want? Do you see how this gets confusing?

We all naturally create what we already know. We can’t exactly pull from any other sources. Isn’t creating what we like the same thing as selectively creating what we know?

I think I get the point of it. Create whatever you want to create and you’ll get the most out of yourself. But there’s also cases everyday where so-and-so artist or creative does some kind of copycat, uninspired work to pay the bills and build a foundation for growth. Bills are pretty important! A foundation is necessary for any skyscraper!

It’s confusing. What should I – what should we as a creative community actually create? What are the artistic needs that we should provide? Where are the creative voids it’s our duty to fill?

If you’ve made it this far, please comment, give your feedback, share on your social sites and blogs. I want to start a discussion. I want to hear from you!

As creatives, we have to create. It’s like oxygen for us! How can we do that in such a way that we make our best work and serve a need or fill a hole? I think that only by combining these two pieces will anything we create matter. How do we do that?