Not Listening to the Helpful Voices

I spend a lot of time watching videos and listening to podcasts made by other artists who have long passed by the same shores I’ve started walking. Looking back, it seems like I’ve been walking a hell of a long time, but the paths wind, double back on themselves, and take wild liberties with direction. They don’t often stay close to the water. Throwing aside that soon-to-be-tortured metaphor, I don’t plan to stop sharing videos and shows that inspire me. Secrets are revealed! Tricks are exposed! Methods are explained! But they can easily take the place of doing your own work, and you let fear take the helm—oop, new metaphor alert!There has to be a limit on advice and tutorials and demos. As soon as possible, and for as long as possible, you have to make some stuff. You need to shove your hand-wringing monkey ego aside and deliver unto us your crappy, clumsy work. Because it’s only when you can show stuff to people that you’re able to build on it and become uncrappy. Videos are amazing. We get to hear and see brilliant, insightful creators tell us how they do their thing. But we have to shush them up and nudge them aside when they become just another way to avoid doing what we’re listening to them for in the first place.


Clickbaity title, I freely admit, but I’m specifically talking about the picking-and-choosing-things kind of discrimination, not concerning people.

My friends and I were talking about the firehose of media, which is, of course, a rather definitive first world problem of having way too much available for one person to take in. Nobody can possibly keep up with all the TV shows, nor movies, nor books, nor podcasts, nor music being churned out. And beyond that, there are blogs, vlogs, streams, and comics (both web and dead tree). Never mind all the bleeding video games I can’t even start.

We make our choices of the most appealing media to consume and favor, and have to chuck a big portion of the rest. But recognizing this isn’t sad, it means we have to value our time and our attention. While social media companies are trafficking in that very attention, it’s time to reconsider how precious and limited it is.

You’re worth taking a stand for the things you enjoy and eschewing what you don’t. The things we then choose become commensurately more valuable, themselves.

Too Much to See

There’s too much stuff out there to experience it all. Every day brings a new pile of media, films, videos, TV series, books, music, podcasts—we’re drowning in it all, often happily. But we rarely talk about having to choose a narrow slice of the seams-bursting pie.

Whether we know it or not, we’ve made a choice about how much of what kind of media we’ve taken in, and we’ll continue to do so as long as our access to media (or content, if you like), remains a flood, ever rising and widening.

The kinds of things we choose should always contain a bit of the type of work we strive to create ourselves. It’s useful to see what’s come before, what fellow artists are making now, and, if we’re lucky, a bit of insight into how they made the thing that is capturing our attention.

We have to make another choice as artists: to consume less and give time to our own making. The flood doesn’t stop, and nor should we, so long as we have waters that are sincerely drawn and uniquely ours.

NOTE: Thinking about the water metaphor, I can see there could be a long series of posts exploring the symbolism of it: good, bad, and, well, innuendo-laden.