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Shut up and say something

Posted on 30 April 2013

“A kid can make a feature film with an iPod touch, or learn how to code apps and make a million bucks. But what’s scary is that the options for entertainment on that same iPod touch are just so compelling that… well, why bother?”

                                 – Paul Miller, “How my creativity got killed”

“I’m sure if you read around for long enough you might find an opinion that’s similar to yours, but their opinion isn’t yours and the way that you articulate your opinion is unique to you.”

                                 – Owen Williams, “Too busy consuming to create”

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”

                                 – Mohandas Gandhi

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a lot of good stuff out there. Like, a lot. Blog posts, Soundcloud tracks, albums with 8.1 out of 10 on Pitchfork, “featured reads”, investigative journalism, must-see TV, award winning novels. It’s all great, and more of it is being created every day. But there’s no way you’re going to skim even the surface. You’re barely able to get through your Facebook feed in the morning, let alone read the entire newspaper.

So why do we add to the noise? Why do we tweet, Instagram, write Facebook rants and generally contribute to this mess? I personally help create two-and-a-half hours of radio every morning, plus another hour every other week, plus a blog post every few days, plus who-knows-how-much other content I try to push on you through my Twitter and Tumblr feeds. Who’s looking at it all? Who is this all for?

Faced with the deluge of information that is the year 2013, I constantly have two contradictory instincts. One is to shut up. The other is to say something.

The shut up comes from the feeling that there’s already so much good stuff, why bother? What the heck is the point of me writing this post when there are literally Pulitzer Prize-winning features a click away? Have you seen Breaking Bad yet? There are literally hundreds of things out there that I think are way better than what’s on offer on this blog, and I’m the one who’s writing it, so why even bother?

The say something comes from the feeling that even though there’s all this good stuff out there, there are still things I want to read and hear that don’t exist. There are articles that articulate parts of what I’m trying to express with this post, but I still haven’t seen anything that encapsulates my feelings exactly. I suppose I could spend hours trawling the internet, copying and pasting snippets until I get close, but even then I don’t think it would do the trick. These thoughts are weighing on my mind, and this blog has become the best way for me to get them out and discover if they mean anything.

And that’s why anyone and everyone should create. Even if it isn’t destined to become one of the “top ten things you should read this year” or a must-see/listen/tweet of the day, it will mean something to you. Music, movies, radio, writing- these are all means of self-discovery. And you’d be surprised how often things you don’t think will resonate with anyone else actually will. It turns out that even though there’s a lot of stuff already out there, people are always ready to discover something new.

But even if you put it out there and no one responds, move on. It’s nothing personal. You’re building the tools and the skills to make something even better the next time around. And every time you do that, you’re learning more about your craft and about yourself.

By all means post status updates, like your friends’ photos, retweet and reblog and heart and share. But take time away from the noise and sit down and craft something that will last longer than the few seconds it takes to read it on a cellphone, something that strives to improve upon the silence.

Shut up and say something.

Filed under: Best Of, meta, misc, personal

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