Tag Archives: creativity

Work and Creativity

There is a massive clash between the work I will end up doing as an attorney and my desire to be creative. Sure, many have bridged the gap, either (1) by finding creativity within the law, (2) by being satisfied to explore their creative interests outside of the law, or (3) by leaving the law to be creative — whatever that means.

#1 isn’t really the creativity I’m talking about. No matter how brilliant one’s ability is to view the law, it does not become art. In fact, if the law became art at any point, I think we would all be in trouble. There is already far too much room for interpretation in the law without it being subjected to the massive number of quandaries tossed around at art museums and shows. If law became art, law school would be irrelevant, lawyers would be useless, and there would be anarchy. There is no institution overseeing the creation and interpretation of art like there is the law. That just sounds absurd.

#2 is what most people do — they turn their dreams into hobbies. This is the sad reality of having to make a living. The opportunity cost of wanting material things, having a family, and living comfortably means saccrificing your dreams for most people. I do not dream of being an attorney. I see it as a way to make a good living. A way to support a family. A path to security.

#3 is what I would do if money were no object, and I hate that it comes down to money. I say that and I think of my friends that have corporate jobs. I think of the job I had at an Internet start-up. I think of the foolish demands to which we subject our precious time. I think back to my time in undergrad reading about Ponzi schemes and the “castle in the clouds” where as long as you can get the next fool to buy into your foundationless story you’ll be OK — never mind that what you are selling has no value if the next person doesn’t buy into it. That’s what life feels like at times — not that it’s valueless, but that we’re all doing something because it fits in the grid — because it propagates the masses — because it’s what was done before.

These thoughts are far beyond creativity. Creativity is the antithesis to work for me. The time I spent writing fiction, nonfiction, or pure gibberish when I was younger is the exact opposite of what is considered productive or successful now, yet it was freeing and inspiring. Although writing was far from easy at times, I loved the idea of it. I loved the blank screen — the blank page. I still love blank journals — I just bought a new one and plan to fill it with unproductive gibberish and stuff. Just stuff.

I’ve been thinking about all of this for a long time — years.

Identity vs Efficiency

I read 300+ blog posts a day thanks to Google Reader. It’s my homepage. Every time I open my browser I’m bombarded with new postings. I’ve done this for almost a year now. Before that I visited the individual blogs.

Jakob Lodwick makes the following point in a post today:

This urge to make everything automatically syndicated and aggregated into custom streams does have a trade-off. You’re trading identity for efficiency.

This provides a few shocking realizations for me.

1. All that I’ve done online lately is consume and reorganize. I don’t create enough. Sure, I’m creating right now. But, it’s not enough. This is partially a result of being in law school, which has significantly squashed the time I have to think about meaningful creative endeavors. Or even read a novel.

2. In the past I’ve spent hours modifying the look and feel of my other blog – Yugflog.com – so that it is appealing and appropriate to the subject matter. If all of that was never seen because it was only read through RSS feeds, that would be a lot of wasted work on my part.

So what? While the 2D web-space is becoming increasingly visually stimulating and full of rich content, my way of dealing with it is to reduce it to uniform text in a linear stream. Not only that, but no one blog, micro-blog, tumblelog, video site, or website stands out. All of the information is slurred together.

I should care more about who is saying what.

I should care more about what it looks like.

I should care more about giving back as much as I take in a qualitative, not quantitative, manner.

To do that I’m going to stop reading my RSS feeds every spare second. I’m going to evaluate what I can do with my time that would be either (a) more productive or (b) more creative.

Creativity Crunched

Steve Jobs makes an interesting point:

You know, we don’t grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved… I mean, we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.

Writing has been my creative outlet since college. Whether it is public or private, it is what I do to express my thoughts, feelings, and imagination… to get away from the stuff I have to do.

Learning to balance my school obligations with my other interests has been one of the most difficult tasks this year. Having been away from a school setting, and entering a more intense school setting than I’ve ever experienced has been shocking. Still is, and will probably continue to be so for the next few years as I chase my diploma, a job, a family, etc.

What’s my point? Not sure… just that I agree that being creative, whether on a large or small scale is an incredibly rewarding endeavor.

UPDATE: I just came across this video of Sir Ken Robinson talking about the role of creativity in education at the TED conference.