It’s A Process
I recently read two books by Austin Kleon (1,2) , each one full of pearls. At almost every page turn I found myself either nodding along in agreement, or whapping my forehead in moments of sudden clarity. Kleon’s writing is easy to read and packed with useful information about creativity and the creative process. I liked his ideas so much that I’m incorporating many into my daily routine, and thought I’d share a couple of these new activities with you.
What Austin Kleon wrote: “Social media sites are the perfect place to share daily updates. Don’t worry about being on every platform; pick and choose based on what you do and the people you’re trying to reach” (p.51) (2)
What Melissa read: Figure out what creative thing(s) I want to do and identify who I want to tell. Concurrently, find a social media site that I like, and stick with it.
A few months ago I created a Facebook page for Peanutmark.com (http://fb.me/PeanutMarkTheBlog) to separate “public” blog information from “private” news (up until that point I had been sharing new blog posts on my personal page and sometimes forgot to reset my privacy settings afterwards). Now that I’ve made a PeanutMark Facebook page, it’s readily available for notifications and such. I’m still figuring out what the “such” might look like, and am exploring some Facebook tools I can use to make the page more engaging.
On May 1st I opened an Instagram account, and started posting a daily picture. I like Instagram’s photo-first approach. It speaks to me in a way that’s different from Facebook, and I feel like it’s an easy compliment to the thoughts that ultimately shape new PeanutMark blog posts. Unfortunately, the account name PeanutMark was already taken by a fellow in Australia, so you can find me on Instagram as MelissaCMark (http://instagram.com/melissacmark).
What Austin Kleon wrote: “Think process, not product”, “Show your work!” and “Keep a log book”. (1,2)
What Melissa read: Art isn’t just what you make, art is also what happens along the way. Therefore, it would be a good idea to chronicle what I’m doing, as I’m doing it.
Instagram posts are an enjoyable way for me to show the process of different creative efforts. Everyday I look for something to grab my attention or spark a feeling, and then snap a picture of that something on my phone. Taking the picture is the easy part; figuring out appropriate hashtags is harder. Right now, I’m pretty sure I’m not using the whole image-label-hashtag thing quite right, but that’s part of the fun for me. I did make up my own hashtag for organizing this daily picture endeavor — #melissasdailyview. I’m still wrestling with what exactly I mean by the word “view” in #melissasdailyview. Is it what I’m actually taking a picture of? Or is it how I think about what I’m looking at, before I take the picture? I haven’t decided yet, and that’s another part of what I like so much about the project thus far.
I also started keeping a small notebook to jot down highlights of what I’ve worked or ruminated on each day. Kleon specifically speaks to this kind of logbook, stating that entries aren’t supposed to be diary-like. To that end, I only allow myself one small page to write or draw on, making sure to include only those day-bits that really stood out to me. It’s been a good practice because I’m easily frustrated by not having daily tangible product to show for my creative efforts. But when I look back at the growing number of these short entries, it’s clear that I AM doing stuff and making progress. Having an accessible, direct, and tidy record is both satisfying and validating.
My creativeness is definitely a work in progress. Some days are easier than others, but as one of my sister writers at Twin Cities Writing Studio puts it, “Celebrate each step along the way. It’s a process.”
Thank you for taking part in my process!
The Take Away
It’s important to learn about how other folk approach activities that you also enjoy, because their insight can add richness to your own endeavors.
Being creative is an active process that is vital to any final artistic product. Embrace your daily work, and record the journey.
Twin Cities Writing Studio:
1. Kleon, Austin. Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. Workman, 2012.
2. Kleon, Austin. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways To Share Your Creativity And Get Discovered. Workman, 2014.