Stop Consuming, Start Creating

Fun fact. I’ve never seen The Godfather. I’ve never seen E.T. I’ve not even watched Finding Dory.

I don’t like movies! When people ask why, I usually tell them I don’t have the attention span.

The deeper truth is: I prefer creating, not consuming.

I’d rather be out creating my own stories than watching the tales of fictional characters and reality TV stars.

After all, you only get one shot at life. Might as well make yours epic!

When people explain why they like TV or movies, they usually talk about unwinding at the end of a stressful day. I often hear the word escapism.The same word I hear people use to justify consuming drugs or alcohol.

Yes, we all have problems we want to forget about. Yes, it’s nice to escape our stresses in front of a sitcom or a football game.

My question is:

“What would your life look like if you started fixing your problems, instead of trying to escape them?”

In 2017, I was working for a respectable personal finance magazine. It was a great job, but I wasn’t happy.

The corporate culture was stifling, plus finance writing can become a bit dry. I wanted to cover topics I was truly passionate about.

So, rather than spending my evenings trying to escape my problems by consuming TV and alcohol, I started creating.

I began writing blog posts for free, built a portfolio, then started applying for paid remote writing positions. Within a couple of years, I was making enough money to quit my job altogether.

Now, I travel the world working as a freelance lifestyle writer.

I like to post the occasional laptop beach snap on Instagram, but in reality there aren’t too many beaches with strong Wi-Fi. Also, the sunlight tends to block the screen…

My main point is: this wouldn’t have happened if I’d spent every evening consuming.

Maybe you don’t want the digital nomad lifestyle — but I bet there is a dream you’re yet to achieve because “you don’t have time”. If you want to launch that novel or become a successful blogger, I guarantee you can make time by consuming less and creating more.


How to create, not consume

Maybe you have no writing-based ambitions worth giving up Family Feud for. Perhaps your long-term dreams cost a lot of money and you’re currently struggling to pay bills.

Not a problem.

The ‘create, don’t consume’ mantra works for all money-making activities. Instead of watching Netflix, learn web design on Udemy. Rather than surfing YouTube, study dropshipping or start trading items on eBay. In time, you’ll be building some extra income to put towards your long-term goals. This awesome guide on side-hustles might help stir up some ideas.

Now, I appreciate that stressful work days exist, and it’s hard to choose hustle over entertainment.

So, here are five ideas to help you get in the habit of creating instead of consuming.

  • Create your “why”. It’s far easier to stick to a habit when you have an awesome end goal in mind, so write yours down and picture yourself achieving it. This tends to be more powerful when it involves getting rid of something you hated. (I wanted to get out of the finance magazine almost as much as I aspired to see the world).
  • Start with 30 minutes a day. This isn’t an intimidating amount of time, but it’s enough to make some progress on your goals. Often, once you’ve started, you’ll be motivated to keep at it for longer.
  • Make a “streak” chart. There’s something psychologically rewarding about maintaining a streak. Keep a record for the amount of consecutive days you worked on your creative project. Make yourself accountable by putting this record somewhere others can see it. Aim for a 28-day streak, as this is supposedly the amount of time it takes to cement a habit in your brain. Writers might want to check out Jeff Goins’ 500 words-a-day challenge.
  • Join a like-minded community. When you connect with those who share similar creative goals and see others making progress on their projects, it can inspire you to do the same. This is something social media is actually useful for. Bloggers should check out the Tribe Builder’s Network Facebook Group for support and inspiration.
  • Seek feedback. Showing your creative projects to friends or members of your community can be scary, but positive feedback can feel so rewarding. I bet you never get compliments when you’re sat watching Game of Thrones.

Once you get in the habit of creating, you start to enjoy it. It’s certainly more fulfilling than consuming other people’s art.

Even if you’re not the creative type, you can focus on making money or creating epic memories!

By skipping the Netflix binge, you create more time to live your own adventures.

Before you know it, you could be living a life worth making a movie about.

For my biggest ever creative project, I spent a year filming my entire dating life for national TV. My book ‘The Camera Never Lies’ explores the 17 brutal truths learned from this experiment. Get the first chapter for free here >>

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