My Habit of Outsourcing Creativity

While watching Dylan Moran on YouTube, I was hit with a “clouds parting” moment of clarity concerning my lack of productivity. Dylan was talking about why some men love watching violent action movies, the kinds starring action notables like Jason Statham.

They’re fabulous…exercises in homicidal… manliness. And – Because that’s what’s happening to you. You’re becoming a blob, so you outsource your masculinity. You watch Jason [Statham] do all that stuff. ‘Go on Jason! Break his other collarbone; I got a parking ticket this morning.’

 —Dylan Moran, Yeah, Yeah – Live in London (2011)

I am a couch-cushion consumer. The kind that, instead of going out and buying things, I stay home and gorge on Netflix and DVRed marathons, swiping and clicking my way through web content on Imgur, YouTube, io9 and Buzzfeed. As a writer, I devote a lot of my time to reading about writing. I read and watch author interviews. I live on blog articles and podcasts on writing of all sorts. I ruminate over novels and comics and short stories and poetry. I occasionally forage for those yummy, bite sized quotes by notable writers, the ones with pretty backgrounds and expressive fonts.

Stand-up comedy can be insightful, can it not? Dylan Moran made me realize I have too long outsourced creativity. I get my jollies from other people’s work. I laugh at other people’s jokes, admire other people’s artwork and work ethic, and squee over anything remotely related to one of my many fandoms.

All this, while I create nothing.

This is my predicament: I have become a creative “blob.” Imagine me rolling down the internet highway, blobby appendages grasping at all things shiny, absorbing them into my blobby green mass. All input. No output. The creative hunger remains, overfed and dissatisfied. My creative cycle is a mouse wheel where Procrastination and I meet a ready supply of entertaining Content and an insatiable Appetite in an unholy foursome, but I’m the frustrated voyeur.

I want to create.

Will this confessional blog post ignite my creativity? I’m hoping it does. And if it does for someone else, even better. I want to be productive. I want to be prolific.I also want to feed without feeling guilty. Because I do feel guilty when I take and don’t contribute. Guilt sucks; it is hell for self-esteem.

So, things need to be done. Ideas fleshed out. Projects committed to and completed. In the graveyard of imagination and creativity, my tombstone cannot say: She Lurked.


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