Today I started following the blog of someone I don’t know, but which was recommended to me by a friend. It is found at Tynan.net. In his most recent post, Tynan discusses the difference between being primarily a consumer or primarily a producer. The idea is that most people are consumers, because this is slightly easier than being a producer.
Everyone I admire is a producer. They put out work. I’m a producer because I emulate those who I admire.
There’s a magic in putting out work. It reflects your personality in a way that consumption doesn’t. I know something about you if you tell me which music you like, but I know a lot more if I listen to music you make. Tell me what books you like and I can get an idea of your philosophies, but let me read a book you write and I might feel like I know you as a friend.
A person defined by his consumption can’t ever make a living doing what he likes. His likes are defined by consumption, and no one pays for consumption.
Production is a different story. When you shift your reward system to value production, you end up not really feeling like you work at all. Rather than divide your life between have-to-do and want-to-do, you find that most of it overlaps so much that it’s indistinguishable. Work and life blend to the point of being the same thing, which sounds terrible to anyone who doesn’t love what they do.
This idea makes me sure that it is my natural state to be a producer, even though my default, ‘lazy’ option is to consume. The idea of contributing, even though it may be for my own pleasure, is an appealing one to me. It is so easy to convince oneself that receiving information is a worthy pastime – after all, what’s wrong with reading the newspaper (or keeping up to date on 15 blogs, 3 news sites, and 50 opera company websites)?
The problem, I think, is not in the consuming, but in the immense amount of time that is taken looking at your facebook newsfeed or even keeping up-to-date on recent news. As much as I believe a global awareness is important in my citizenship of the world, I don’t live any differently now that I know how many murders the Gazette reports on in a week than when I relied on friends to relay information about massive world catastrophes. The only difference between then and now, is that now I spend more time in front of the computer screen than before. And this is definitely not a welcome addition to my daily schedule.
My goal in this somewhat superfluous season (summer) is to really become a producer. It is amazing how much you can do when you follow the immortal words of Patrick Hansen:
Get off the internet right now and Hie Thee To A PRACTICE ROOM!!