To Create, Consume (Lots)
I recently rescued a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing from a thrift store. How do you get good at writing? By reading lots and lots. And then writing. He believes to write, you should read at least 4 hours a day. The practice of reading develops your facility with words, with style, and genre, and helps give you voice. Book are our mental maker spaces, our landscapes populated by words. We learn to visualize, to think in imagery, and to fit words together in new and interesting ways.
The novice may start out mimicking a master. You may dearly want to capture Emily Dickinson’s unique diction, for example, as a poet. Hopefully after, you will find your own voice.
Similarly, if your creation interests are in becoming a YouTuber, you probably have favourite YouTubers. If you want to play guitar, you listen to lots of songs first, and maybe copy them, and some of them become part of your guitarist DNA.
That’s not to say that a lot of creation apps aren’t just “pick up and play”, try something out. My kids were using Stickbot studio. Eventually, they would get really good at Stickbot studio.
Another great exception is a Minecraft open world. Open it up, start dropping blocks. I do know though, that my kids learned how make a beacon the other day from DanTDM. They wouldn’t have discovered that on their own.
A pile of Lego is another good example. But following the books in building sets is the best way to learn what sorts of things are possible. Later, we might become master builders.
Also, perhaps you are the one who is “breaking the box”- coming up with a brand new “thing”, a new form, or a new type of content to be shared.
I am a fan of pure unfettered creativity as much as possible, but also creating withing constraints. For the most part, we are working in an existing form. Somebody has been there before. The true questions we might ask:
- how can I improve that?
- what would the next iteration look like?
- can I improve on this?
- can I play with this form?
- can I break this form?
My hope is that novice creative types (kids!) learn from as many “masters” as possible, as they find their voice. Make time for purposeful consumption of media you are interested in, as well as pure creation. In many cases, we need to consume lots, before we create.