Monday, April 4, 2011

Creators on Standby

It seems that for the longest time, we lived in a world of passive audience members and a handful of creators. More and more people were coming home, plunking themselves down in a chair, and hunting for the latest recording on their DVR. This is their down-time. This is when they relax. And what a boon to those who write the shows or the authors who create books, because it means we have an audience. Let's face it, the work doesn't exist until someone reads it, watches it, or experiences it.

But day after day, more and more people were not doing much else with their days. They were working, eating, and watching. I know because I was one of these people. I was a part of the culture where entertainment raised our kids and the TV, Internet, and Books were escapes from the reality I wasn't finding fulfillment in. New creations were something "other" people did.

This is all changing and I couldn't be happier.

With the introduction of applications that help us design better, write faster, and compose with more quality, we have streamlined the execution process for getting ideas out. Couple this with the capability to self-publish-- whether on YouTube or iTunes or as an indie book writer-- and we now have an easy way to share those creations with others. We are in the midst of a revolution for creative enterprises.

Publishing houses and recording labels who once guarded the velvet ropes like some decorated bouncer no longer choose who gets admitted to the big leagues and who does not. Individual ideas and contributions are not overhauled by some review board to suit what the "masses" want, and finished products are not censored, pruned, or repackaged to suit a certain demographic. We are on the verge of a creative Renaissance and it is a beautiful thing, my friends.

We are our own brand. Our media presence is more than just a Facebook profile and a few postings. We are creating in new, connected ways. Some opine from the platform of blogs, others take existing material and doctor it to make a video, and still others generate new content from musical compositions to free apps to new stories. Much of these creations are raw and unedited, as is often the case with new talent, but there are gems out there and, more importantly, people as a whole are realizing we do not have to be passive participants in this world but can truly impact others.

One of Apple's greatest business models is bringing the humanities to the masses, and more and more businesses are recognizing the value of empowering the individual to create. Many civilizations in the past were brought back from the brink of darkness by a focus on the humanities, from Charlemagne's campaign to reinvigorate interest in the humanities, to the Renaissance of invention, arts, and literature that ushered in a new era of thinking and reasoning.

I believe that we all were made with the capacity to create and contribute to the live's of others. No one should sit on this talent. To do so would not only be cheating their own fulfillment and growth, but, ultimately, it deprives the rest of us from experiencing something new and unique from that individual. It denies us the chance to build on that encounter, maybe to even be inspired to new heights by it.

So if there is an idea you are sitting on while fear of failure munches at your confidence, I say brave up and reach into ether of the unknown and see what fabric emerges for you to weave. Every creator once faced a blank page or canvas and quaked at their hubris in thinking they could do something worthy of others' eyes. Every creator recognized at one point that they did not know enough to pull off some idea and thought about quitting. The difference between these creators and those who dream of it is that the creators acted despite their fears and learned the skills or processes or people needed to achieve success.

Do not quake. Do not hesitate. Go forth and create for you do not know what you will discover about yourself in the process. Nor do you know what hearts and minds you might touch or lifestyles you might improve because of your brave creation. Do not be a one-way participant in entertainment but step out and contribute to that of others. Initiative is something we all have-- all you have to do is take it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr's Mbell1975.

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