5.20.2009

Hey Creative Types... Watch This

Yeah, I know it's been a few days since my last post, but some interesting (hold on, let's make that INTERESTING) things have been going on this week. I'll be announcing one of them Friday, and the other in the coming weeks (this second one is the "Next Big Thing" announcement I promised when I reached 600 Twitter followers, which happened approximately two months quicker than I thought it would - but who knew that I picked the precise moment of the rising tide of Twitter becoming a trend to do that?)

But anyway, the point of this thing:

I want you, whether or not you're a creative type, to watch this fantastic TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert ("Eat, Pray, Love"). It's important to me that you do. I can't really explain why it's important to me, except that she really nails how I feel about creativity in a way I could never possibly relate to you. So thank god for the Embed tag:





Now, I don't necessarily think that genius / creativity / whatever are ethereal forces that exist external to us and work through us... That's kinda silly. I can't suspend my disbelief enough to believe exactly that. But I've ALWAYS thought that ideas are things we do not and cannot own. They're not ours. They float on the air everywhere, and we encounter them. In fact, I'm going to say that this happens to us hundreds of times every single day.

The thing is, we rarely if ever recognize these things as ideas or concepts, they're just things. A funny video of a cat playing a keyboard after a guy whacks himself in the nuts with nunchucks. This is not an idea to us. It's just a thing. Same with articles about swine flu, or a Tesla coil playing Rock Me Amadeus. They're consumable bits of media, entertainment, education, information, or just pleasant noises.

To me, this is because our conscious mind is like a radio, tuned to a particular program, and the rest of everything around it just exists with it. Sometimes that program is work, sometimes it's play, and sometimes it's "God, all I want to do is veg out on the couch and watch this Seinfield rerun."

But every so often, our little personal radios are tuned in to a frequency where the stuff we consume and interact with turns from "stuff" to actual ideas. We see the constructs behind it (or rather, feel them). We get something from them that isn't usually what we get - we see this stuff as building blocks rather than "stuff."

And sometimes, this happens without us even knowing it - we consume it now as "stuff", and later digest it as "idea." We get inspired, we write stuff or paint stuff or record stuff that relates what's going on in our head as an interpretation of all this ingestion, and voila. Creation.

This is why I don't hesitate to tell people my ideas, long before they are even close to existing. I share my concepts freely (or as freely as I can), because I don't see ANY ideas as my own. None of them. All I am is the voice that spoke it's name... That doesn't mean I gave birth to it, I just gave it something someone else can call it by.

Now, there are definitely times - like with this Next Big Thing announcement - that I keep it under wraps not because I don't want someone stealing the idea, but because sometimes surprise is just plain fun. I'm not holding back information right now because I'm afraid someone else may take it and run with it - if they do, they'll do it whether or not I do my version of it, so who cares who's first? But there's definitely something to be said about announcing a thing when it's ready to be announced. Once enough of it is together to start conveying the pictures and concepts in my head in a way that you'll actually see what it is I'm doing, rather than my asking you to please just imagine it.

But yeah, this talk is great. And I hope you enjoy it and get something from it.