A lesson in prolific production

Back in university, I wasn’t thinking much about where I was going and what I was doing. Being so uncertain of myself and my goals was one of the reasons I chose to do such a broad course. I liked doing everything, but couldn’t put my finger on what I wanted to do most, and it was very stifling to my output as I could never just sit down and focus on creating. I’ve since come to believe in the power of understanding the different strengths and weaknesses of specialists and generalists, but that’s a different idea to explore another time. One of the ideas that I do want to share, and I still think about it to this day, is that even if you don’t know what you’re doing; understand the value of creating more than you consume.

The concept was explained in passing by one of my lecturers. He simply said (in very loose terms; my memory is shite) “You’re going to be working in the world of freely accessible information and media through the internet and technology. You’ll want to be creating more than you consume to better master and understand how everything comes together…” The course itself was on new media and internet technology, so it made a lot of sense to have this level of thinking.

The bit that stuck out was how applicable this concept is to many aspects of life. Planting a seed will give you a crop of many more during its cycle. Turn an empty page into a story of ideas. Give more love than you receive, and you’ll make the world a better place, and all that.

I try to think about it a lot, and I do love this as a concept because it helps you turn a passive into an action. Taking action and creating something, even if it’s no good, is worth so much more than a million unwritten ideas. It’s not about making noise, but about making better noise next time. Iterative action, improving on the last, progress before perfection. Taking action on something requires the distilling of everything you’ve learned into the tangible action of creating (and even sharing that with the world). It’s very easy to sit behind a book, a screen, or a desk to just learn all your life. An artist who will sit and critique, wondering how they could do better, but never do, is never going to make something worth even a fraction of what they’ve consumed.

I think it’s important to always remember that without ‘doing’, we would never have had the ability to even consume. People are out there pioneering new ideas, not because it was written on how to do it, but because they are prolific producers. They want to create because something inside of them tells them it’s worth doing. To consume more than you create will build an aura of complacency: that you think things are good enough and you can’t make them any better. I’m sure you can make things better if you put pen to paper and start right now.