Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Creative Work: Doing VS Documenting

Last spring I wrote about quantity vs quality in creative work. It was the most read post of 2018! You can read it here. 

Recently I was talking with an artist friend and her reluctance to post on social media about her work came up. I encouraged her to post something every day even if it was just her studio or her collection of brushes on her work table. She was hesitant as I tried to explain how interesting I would find it to follow an artist's process and not just see the final product. 

But here's the thing I realized while thinking about this. Documenting IS creating. Capturing a photo of the process, or materials, or a selfie while working to post on Instagram is another form of creativity. The Millenials get a lot of grief from Boomers because they share so much. It gets labeled as self-absorbed when much of it is the same thing as keeping a scrapbook. Only less dusty and more cohesive. 

They are documenting and thus creating a record of their lives. I'm just a little jealous that there aren't more pics of me before I got this old. You know, back when Clint Eastwood and I didn't have matching necks. 

I usually post one pic a day to Instagram. I've been doing it for about 3 years now and it's helpful and interesting to look back and see all the projects I've done. I often run across something I've completely forgotten about. 

Generally, I like posting pretty finished pics but adding in process pics (like of the garden overhaul) is proof that I'm getting things done during the times when I feel stuck and wonder what I'm doing with my life. 

Anyone else ever feel like your whole life is just trying to remember to get gas and scooping the cat litter?

No? Oh good. Just me then. 

Documenting one thing you did each day can help overcome that disheartening feeling. A picture of your outfit, a post about something kind someone did for you, a blurry shot of your friend laughing so hard she wet her pants. Every day will have at least one documented memory to mark it in time.

Capturing a moment is a way to slow down the rush of life and keep all the days of work and traffic from running together. Sharing the struggle of the process is also encouraging to everyone who might be discouraged by all the insta-perfect staged photos.

The process is part of the work. If you are a creative it may even be the most important part.

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