There is no end to the amount of information, input, entertainment and opinion out there to lay claim on our time. So it pays to occasionally remind ourselves that time is our most finite resource. Once spent, it’s gone forever. There is no getting it back, so we better make sure to spend it wisely.
The other day I took part in a webinar about storytelling through photography with Tjalling Halbertsma organised by The Creator Space Mobile Digital Arts Lab (no affiliation). He said at one point (I am paraphrasing) that once you turn off your Netflix and put away your phone, when you stop and mute all those inputs clamouring for attention, when you strip all of that away, what is left is you and what you want to say and do. Your message and passion.
Your life, your ideas and your fantasies are the best thing you have, and above all, they are unique. They are your gold mine for being creative and making something new in the world that wasn’t there before.
Give yourself time without any inputs so this new thing has a chance to form and come forward. It might be uncomfortable at first after years of surrounding ourselves with a wall of ‘noise’, but it will be worth it. It will be time well spent.
Yes, of course it’s important to learn from others, but at some point it’s time to put that on the backburner and go out there and make stuff. There is a wealth to learn by actually doing. That’s what they always say, isn’t it: Your writing will become better by writing. Your art will become better by making art. Not by passively reading about it.
What he said told me to start approaching my time and creativity with the mindset that what I have to say is more important than what they have to say. ‘They’ being the limitless world of streaming, endless scrolling and the cacophony of voices out there, all making their cases, all busy taking up time and space. Do I want to prioritise being a consumer of others’ creations, or do I want to create? If I don’t join them and take up my space, something important will be lost.
This felt radical. And fantastic. And so very, very energising.
I am spending this Saturday making things. Important things, silly things, first-time things, even edible things. What will you make?