Consumption is Key

In my experience, the best way to bust through writer’s block (or any block in creativity) is to consume more and more things. Now, I don’t mean “consume” like “spend money on a bunch of stuff or buy the newest gadget”, I am a minimalist after all. What I mean is, when the brain hits a roadblock it is usually good to explore new intellectual avenues and build some new neural networks. We live in the most amazing time in human history, the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips for free would take a thousand lifetimes to even begin to peruse. That information can help push us past our limits and help us discover new answers to our questions.

Consumption leads to creation. Just like the food we eat turns into fuel for our activities, the experiences we have turn into the things we create. And, like food and exercise, the more diverse and rounded our experiences are, the healthier and stronger the things we create will become. The body needs more than just one type of food and one type of exercise to be great and art needs more than just one perspective and one tool to be great.

Personally, I have a few “go to” services when my brain is stuck.¬†Sometimes those services make intuitive sense. For example, maybe I’ll go to the library and pick up a book about writing (“On Writing” by Stephen King is my favorite) or I’ll check out a course on creative writing at Coursera.com.

Not all of the stuff I consume is based purely on writing, but they help my writing just the same. I’m working on improving my math skills through Khan Academy, which can help with logic and problem solving. I meditate using the Headspace app, which brings me a calmer mind and helps with focus (okay, I technically pay for this app but there are free options). Or maybe I read a book about Buddhism or business or psychology or some science fiction or philosophy or astronomy or pagan rituals to give me a new perspective on the human experience and how to communicate (or take Coursera courses about these things). Also, music and tv can help encourage new mental pathways and perspectives and, of course, video games (though, I find video games and tv/movies are the most dangerous sources of motivation because I can easily form an unhealthy relationship with them). I also enjoy looking into creating things in all the arts…. painting, dancing, cooking, drawing, etc can all make you a better writer because they round you out more as a person, they give you new adventures and perspectives.

There is, as always, a danger that consuming materials will start to become the goal instead of the act of creating. That risk is present with all things, that we will use consumption as an excuse to not create… but nobody ever said thriving in life would be easy. Ease and comfort do not lead to creation.

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Stress and Sin

I’ve been really stressed out for the last couple of days. There isn’t any solo cause of the stress, but it is there. Usually I can recognize the stress and find some ethical ways to reduce it. My “go to” techniques are meditation, music, going for a walk, exercising, masturbating, napping, or drinking a beer. Those techniques didn’t really work for me yesterday and I ended up turning to sin.

Now, I don’t really define sin in a theological way. For me, sinning is when I violate my own ethics. It is when I consume dairy, spend money on unnecessary things, or consume a bunch of food. Turning to food is super common for me to deal with heavy stress, especially fatty food. I’m not sure if there is something about violating my own ethics that feels good or if there is something in food (or the act of spending money) that releases stress, but it does.

I’m not proud of it, I want to improve my actions and not backslide into getting pleasure from other’s unnecessary harm or wasting my money on ¬†“things”. I am happy that it has been a LONG time since I got this stressed out and sinned, and maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Any ethical practice (veganism, Christianity, etc) is the pursuit of perfection, but acknowledging that perfection is impossible. I guess all I can do is move forward today and do my best.