My intent for this year is to create more and consume less (or at least be more conscious of what I consume).
I see myself as a creator, an artist. My job involves creating visual effects for video games and I love it. I also like to create other things – art, code, food. What I noticed recently was that I was spending more time consuming than I was creating, at least in my free time. And there are so many things to consume these days. TV, video games, movies, blogs, twitter, instagram. This list is specific to me but you get what I’m saying. What I want to do is shift that balance because I think I would be happier and feel more fulfilled if I were creating more and consuming less. There’s a very simple reason why the balance is currently in favour of consuming – it’s easier. It takes little to no effort to watch twitch or speed scroll through instagram. My problem is that once I start I continue much longer than is needed and I find I need an extra push to gain the momentum required to move back over to the creating side of the seesaw.
I want to be clear; consuming isn’t necessarily a negative thing. It’s the amount of it in relation to other uses of my time that can cause problems. Relaxing to read a couple of blog posts or look at cute kittens on twitter is often needed to give my brain a break from whatever intense gymnastics it had been doing previously. And then even within the idea of consuming there are different degrees to which the consumption can be seen in a positive light. The 2 things that come to mind are, do I need a break and how is this adding value to my life? I’ve already covered the idea of taking a break but what about adding value? How can I get something out of the consumption that will help the creating? I’ll take instagram as an example. I initially joined to find inspiration for my art. I would look at other artists work and feel this energy build inside of me that was bursting to come out in the form of a sketch or painting. It was what I would consider a healthy relationship. I would look at a dozen or so beautiful images and then move over to my tablet and get busy getting better at making art. But over time that changed. My art inspiration receptors became tolerant to the normal dose and I started spending more time scrolling through images. And bit by bit the images I tapped on had less to do with art. Highlight reels of soccer goals. People having fun at festivals. Beautiful blue seas filled with whales and dolphins. And now instead of me feeling excited to make more art I felt kinda numb. I was quite happy to sit for half an hour or more just following the endless wall of images instagram was willing to provide me. So at some point the consumption of instagram stopped adding value.
The question is what am I going to do about it? I’m clearly aware of the inbalance at least at a certain level. But I want to take the time to find these opportunities for creating and consuming and make a more conscious choice of which one I want to be doing.
So I want to ask the question, when I’m consuming how is this adding value to my life? I want to choose the way in which I consume that can be most beneficial. If I want to listen to a podcast I do it when I’m shading an artwork or going for a walk. The consumption is supplemtary to the making. Or I just set specific rules for myself to help avoid the consumption spiral. I have no reason to check my phone before lunch time so I won’t. I have no reason to watch tv until I know I’m done creating for the day. So the tv stays off until after dinner or a learning session.