Ariel Coleman

Illustrator & Printmaker

Creativity and its arch nemeses Production

Creative PursuitsAriel ColemanComment

I came home from work, sat down on the couch, and drew what I could see of the living room. A tiny doodle, in my tiny sketch book, of a tiny section of my house. It was easy, it took 15 minutes, it was fun, I felt better, and then I posted it to Instagram. Authentic content. 

We're always discussing content at work, or more, our lack of content. We need a zillion photos of happy moms with kids eating our peanut butter, we need an info-graphic of what it means to be "palm fruit oil free", we need a video explaining just how to stir that non-palm-fruit-oil peanut butter back together. The content creating could really be a full time job all on it's own. We need a media team of 1 graphic designer, 1 web developer, and a 1 professional photographer just orchestrating a never ending stream of professional looking content for us to post, tweet, gram, snapchat, email, Pinterest, Facebook, and blog about, so that we can build a national brand following and take over the nut butter market.  

We don't have a graphic designer, or a web developer, or a professional photographer, we just have me, the amateur at all those things, and sometimes I get bogged down by the never ending stream of content that's already out there. The websites that are already beautifully designed, or the info graphics that were clearly constructed by professionals, or the photographs that seamlessly mesh in with the overall aesthetic of all the other content...yet are still uniquely interesting all on their own.

At work, my creativity gets trapped in this 'I'm not good enough, I'm not efficient enough, this isn't valuable enough' mind set that stops the content from even leaving my brain. Before I can even write my video idea down I get hives about what someone else might say about my 'amateur content', or worse how I've been using my salaried paid time to create something that may be utterly useless.

This never happens in my personal life, despite the fact that I value my personal time as the most valuable thing I have. I don't sit around wondering if my weird sunday doodles of couches are worth my personal time. I just do them, because I want to, and because I enjoy it for the sake of it. I tune out the noise of potential feedback for the 15 minutes of the doodle, and then once it's finished I can decide if it's useful or not. It's only once it's finished that it becomes content. Creativity is only linked to content if that is in fact what gets produced. If I was creatively cooking creativity would be linked to lunch. I don't care whether I'm efficient enough, or professional enough because 'being creative' isn't about 'creating content', it's a state of mind not a state of production. Creativity in this way flows freely from my finger tips and regenerates it self with each new thought, drawing, doodle, and BAM there you have it, a never ending stream of content

The anxiety I feel at work is brought on by bottom lines and time constraints and my own personal made up idea of what is 'professional' or not. It's brought on by feeling like I must be in a state of production, in a place of being productive. "I'm at work, they are paying me, I must be productive". I need to combat this, I need to build a little wall around me that says "I'm in the creative state I'll come out once I've produced something and then we can run it through the 'is this good enough' machine but till then I'm back here creating so leave me alone". I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do this, so if anyone out there has any good ideas let me know.