Updated: Jan 12
Culture is dispatching content at a startling rate. Information is doubling every 12 hours according to IBM. Buckminster Fuller (fun fact: architect that designed the geodesic dome, particularly in the United States pavilion for Expo 67 in Montreal) defined the “Knowledge Doubling Curve.” Before 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By 1945, knowledge doubled every 25 years. Currently, human knowledge now doubles every 13 months. According to IBM, the internet will eventually lead to a doubling every 12 hours.
A lot of information, tips, and tricks get reworked, with creators adding and removing parts of someone else’s work, while others go further, moving towards pioneering innovations and creative thought. The surge of creative endeavors is both invigorating and daunting.
I remember when I joined Facebook in 2007. It was far from Myspace, which I never quite got into, but I did find that the new social era was changing quicker than I could keep up. Our photos started to show up and we thought, “I wonder who else will join this?” Over time we saw our old peers, extended family, and then our neighbors down the street. At which point we may have also added our parents, colleagues, and bosses or not. Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest moved in too, and now even more platforms, like TikTok, SnapChat, and Reddit.
There is no doubt that there is a reality to the ongoing access to self-initiated platforms. The constant glow of the screen that keeps our minds awake—it can be difficult to engage with it all, and also difficult to disconnect from it.
How did we get this far?
If you are a creator, being able to hold your own, whether standing confidently when you are in the face of criticism, maintaining a presence online, or simply wanting to create an online revenue stream. In the days when competition is steep and the demand for the eyes and attention of the next viewer requires a bit more work than you thought.
We don’t always create for the recognition, but perhaps for finding meaningful connection with your fanbase or truly being able to communicate the why of your work. It’s important to stay authentic in your work. And as self-aware as I thought I was, I personally underestimated the pressure to stay consistent and make beautiful art. As therapeutic as art is, I could sometimes leave my frustration on the canvas.
The purpose with which I originally started out the painting was to have an outlet after a grueling three-and-a-half-year degree. The painting was breathing room and an invitation to experience a level of freedom from the constant movement. Over time, the creeping anxiety to show up and perform left me feeling like “you are not doing enough”—either you do this for “fun” or you make something of it. It really just made creating art a lot harder to enjoy. The reality wasn’t just 100% making art, but 40% marketing yourself, 20% admin, and the rest was 40% of actual art making, which I wish I could do 90% of the time.
Whether painting daily, weekly or even monthly, sometimes I didn’t think I was as authentic as I “could” be, or “should” be. After all, “real artists” practice all day, every day—or at least that’s what I thought. Even as I dabble in and out of the art practice, still allowing myself to be called an artist was a challenge. Not like sports where you retire at an early age, you don’t really ever stop being an artist. There is so much I still don’t know. Believe me, trying to keep the “content” going is achievable, but that’s not what art is for.
The defeatism attitude is what stops many artists before they even start. There is an oversaturation of the market in art, writing, videos, and music. There is no doubt that the content could entertain you for a century! It can be overwhelming, but even if one story makes it through the clutter, it will be worth it.
Part of my goal was to try and emerge and share the joy with others, in my workplace or among monthly artists' hangouts. However, bit by bit, “showing up” didn’t quite work for me. I am way more stubborn than I allowed myself to believe. I didn’t want to “just show up”. I started this. There is no denying that it’s scary—even when you receive “likes” and positive feedback.
Our "inner critic" speaks up whether we are creating or not, so we might as well continue to create!
Our goal as creatives is to make something worth contributing. Whether stories, experiences of some observations and maybe simple reminders that there is something to look forward to.
There are hundreds of unearthed creatives whose voices have been lost in the clutter or left hidden behind the mass of marketers and influencers (who, in their own right, are exploring their own creativity).
Believe me, setting a pace or even showing up is not always guaranteed “success.” You can stay the same or you can continue to truck along and show up anyway.
Maybe now is the time to press in, maybe it isn’t—but the best way to learn is through experience.
Whether or not you believe in natural abili
ty, I challenge you to believe in practice. You may think that you need to get more guidance from others, but you sometimes need to risk it.
And even when you are meant to have the audience in mind when writing, this one piece is for me, and hopefully, you may be encouraged to share your own story. Whether you subscribe to the fast-paced content, or you are a slow creator (by that I mean, one that doesn’t get caught up in the hustle), I hope you find some encouragement.
When you lie down at night and it all seems overwhelming, turn off the all-consuming content. Take a minute. Look up.