This post is about bridging the gap between learning and doing, sharing your skills, and knowing yourself.
I am obsessed with creative culture.
I could easily spend an entire week contentedly scrolling through infinite websites, reading how-tos and what-not-to-dos when it comes to blogging, designing, thinking, etc. I could spend hours (oh wait I already do) watching Skillshare tutorials on what makes excellent branding and a dozen TED talks about the creative process.
I spend almost every morning listening to Creative Morning podcasts or TED talks at my desk while I’m laying out a magazine spread. My train ride home consists of reading articles ranging from How To Live Creatively to squinting at the details of a restaurant brand on my iPad. I freaking love learning about the processes of design, what drives my favorite entrepreneurs to pursue their personal projects and create unique content. I am profoundly and utterly fascinated by the notion of creative types. The people who are compelled to create, design, make, etc.
But, beyond my job, my personal creative process usually ends there.
I'm a collector first; a designer second. But that moment when you realize you’re pretty good at input and not very well-practiced at output... where does that leave you?
Hoarding a ton of valuable information.
Unused inspiration and information becomes stagnant and dies. So, I am hugely supportive of generating a creative environment and creating a safe space to share the ideas that grow within.
And honestly, even if it’s just a way for me to archive my little discoveries, who gives a sh*t?
How To Cultivate Creative Culture
Creative culture, to me, is a self-oriented environment that is carefully designed to consistently foster creativity, fearlessness and thoughtfulness in all artistic and professional endeavors. It's a sacred and beautiful thing and everybody should be mindful of this personal environment they're creating (or neglecting).
1. Collect (Resources)
Whether it's with Evernote or Pinterest or screenshots or bookmarking websites, your role as a creative human (all humans are naturally creative) is to draw inspiration and ideas from everywhere. From the obvious website resources and books to the blurry photos you snap on the subway of a long-forgotten hand-painted street sign or the torn magazine article.
- Gather artifacts (digital or physical) reflecting your points of interest.
Anything that resonates and clicks that little thing in your brain that says, "I like this and I want to know more..." - keep it and run with it.
2. Contemplate (Refine)
Honestly, this part gets easier the more you collect. The items which you end up with will range from what you identify as your "passions" to what may just be your passing fashions. Being selective about what sources you pull from will only enhance your work and speed up the process.
- Sift through what is just generally interesting and what actually interests you.
- Put a gold star by things you’re already adept or super skilled at. Or especially good at teaching.
It’s a delicate balance between sharing your interests and passing along developed interests as material for educating others. Both are important. Both are beautiful.
3. Create (Rediscover magic)
- Be a conduit and manifest the information in some way.
Is it a video tutorial? A bullet list of links to your favorite public speakers? A short story? A series of photographs? A podcast? The end result won't be perfect, but once you get into the habit of processing information, you'll smooth out the kinks and, inevitably, the work that you send out into the world will improve.
4. Collaborate (Remember you have friends)
I wasn't going to include this at first, but I believe it's important. Other people naturally come with their own perceptions, opinions and creative philosophies. So why not use that?
- Plan a coffee date and bounce ideas off each other.
It honestly doesn't matter if your friends are pursuing the same things you are; they, too, have their own pursuits and interests and creative philosophies. Start a conversation with a problem you're having or pose a question.
To conclude, I find that a lot of creative types experience burnout and a frustrating sense of creative depletion. I believe it's important to maintain a sacred space for keeping the spark alive. If nothing else, it's a productive way to pass the time and you end up with a nice hiding place when the world gets a bit too noisy.