Fuel Yourself First: On Inspiration and Sharing
I love the weeks I write this blog (which appears in it’s original form in my newsletter).
I also love the weeks I don't write this blog.
That's because on my off weeks, I'm fueling.
I sit with all my inspiration goodies. I let stuff marinate. I decide what's interesting and what isn't. In the end, there's lots of stuff that I never end up sharing here, because I might not understand my relationship to it yet, or because it's just for me.
This is core to my philosophy on inspiration and sharing: fuel yourself first.
You know when you're on a plane and the flight attendant comes around and tells you that if there is an emergency and the oxygen mask comes down, it is VITAL that you put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping the baby / dog / sleeping guy sitting next to you?
Well in this metaphor, the oxygen mask is inspiration, we are the passengers who desperately need it, and Instagram is the sweet dummy sitting next to you.
Every time we share something on social media that we have not fully digested, fully understood for ourselves, we are giving that idea away. It no longer belongs to us in our protected 'new idea bubble,' but becomes something for someone else to consume and respond to. Maybe that works for you, maybe it doesn't.
At times when I'm more active on social media, I notice I feel creatively starved. My idea bubbles can easily burst before they are fully formed. I end up feeding others before myself, and (subconsciously) seeking consensus from the internet on what makes something valuable or interesting rather than trusting my own carefully established criteria. The affirmation from 'likes' is naturally addictive, especially for artists when we spend so much of our time grappling with uncertainty.
But if over extended, this can be a dangerous practice for original ideas.
Afterall, social media is first and foremost a machine for advertising. And they have us creatives by the ballsss. Our creative lives have become so linked to this tool, that it feels almost impossible to disconnect from it. Because doing so might make us and our work irrelevant. Dramatic, I know. But to paraphrase an artist I was talking to this week 'if it wasn't on Instagram, it didn't happen.'
If any of this is striking a chord (and you're in Austin), let's talk about it at my upcoming workshop, Overcoming Scarcity Mindset on Sept 18th at Big Medium. I'll be talking about how to manage our relationship to social media, and separate our creative practices from our 'creative brands.'
Overcoming Scarcity Mindset
Big Medium, Austin, TX
Wednesday, Sept 18th 6:30 -8pm