(In an attempt to try and write a blog post daily I’m trying to bring as much as I can into one place; in this case, Obsidian. I don’t know how long I’ll be game to do this, but let’s just see how it goes.)
This morning I spent some time reading a few blogs by writers into concepts about creativity, “being authentic online,” blogging, etc and I came away with a bad taste in my mouth. I like blogs like zenhabits but I think where that one works is because you can literally see Leo Babauta growing as a person. It’s not as good as it used to be, but I honestly can’t blame him for eventually monetising what was quite a good resource and genuinely interesting site.
I think some of these other blogs have decided that Babauta’s format works for them, and started generating pithy posts on “being creative” but you can tell they are written with SEO in mind rather than actually anything useful. So much of YouTube is like this now too. I liked it when it was full of rambly teenagers and bored adults talking about the things they loved.
Maybe feeling like your attention is what matters more than the point of the piece isn’t a problem for lots of people, I don’t know. I know broadsheet newspapers have been working to this model for over a hundred years, with the articles only serving to draw in eyeballs for advertisers. But it does become more and more difficult to find genuine humans out there who aren’t trying to “create presence.”
(I do realise that having a knee-jerk reaction to “selling out” is probably a bit adolescent and unrealistic (especially in the age of the influencer where people are literally selling themselves online), but I am slowly starting to accept that this is just who I am. I haven’t stopped being idealistic as I’ve grown older, despite what “everyone” says. Haven’t stopped voting green, haven’t stopped feeling like my values are what drive me with most of what I do.)
It’s easy to complain though. The real trick is to take the thing that bothers you and to try and do something about it, or at least offer an alternative. To write about being creative, and creativity, creating a presence online where you aren’t chasing numbers but connections. I can only truly assume that the way to do this is to present yourself truthfully and accurately–but I also think part of this is in deciding what you will include online and what you will keep back, just for yourself.
What is working for me right now?
- spending regular time with my notebook
- directed journalling (like Andrew Cowan talks about)
- reading a lot
- setting up a way to capture snippets of things on my phone (I have a dedicated Day One journal for this)
The “big one” for me though is how to deal with the times when the wheels fall off. How to check in on myself and do the minimum without feeling like I’m pulling teeth. I’m probably good for a few months of new year hyping myself up before the end of summer creeps along and I lose a lot of my enthusiasm. If I can embed some good habits like I’m trying to, hopefully those can lock-in, and carry me through the cold rough spots…