Community or Creativity?

I was challenged by a thought the other day that I wanted to in turn share with you.

We have a new professor in our department. Kyle Portbury is an award-winning filmmaker from Australia who has come to join us at Southwestern Adventist University to teach radio-TV-film. We were talking about social media in our first official departmental meeting and he made the comment that he realized that spending time with everyone in social media took boredom out of his life, and therefore took opportunities for being creative out of his life as well. Therefore he had decided to disconnect himself from social media like Facebook and Twitter.

I started to challenge that premise, mostly because in writing they encourage you to stay in contact with your audience via social networks. Then I hesitated. Maybe he was right. I find when I do mundane things, like raking leaves, mowing the lawn, folding clothes, washing dishes is when my creative side is most likely to come out. I also find that I can’t work when I have music with singing going on; it always has to be classical without words. What if there is something to this?

In my Interpersonal Communication class, I challenge my students to disconnect from their technology. In fact, I challenge them to take it a step further and spend an entire weekend camping alone without a phone, a radio or any source of entertainment other than nature. The vast majority of them absolutely not only refuse to but feel like it is not only impossible but dangerous.

I’ve mentioned that solitude–silence–is necessary to meditate and hear the voice of God. Is creativity part of that voice? Is is possible to hear God’s creative voice if we are so tuned into other things that we are working on multiple channels at the same time? It’s possible for young people, but as I get older, I find it harder and harder to do. And less and less desirable.

There’s something to be said for staying in contact with your audience. But there is also much to be said for finding time alone with your muse. The trick is finding that ideal space in the middle.

As always, I’m interested in hearing in what you think.