I've been pondering Harriet's post If you're not present, you're absent over at her Technology Twitter blog.
In the post she describes a period of creative reinvention - a 'rich and a valuable time, productive and exciting, if challenging and complex' ; one in which she shut off from her networks for personal reflection.
'The creative process is wonderful - at the end. In the middle I found it complex and contradictory. My online networks felt too public a place to expose such fragile thinking. Do online spaces in their ephemeral nature provide pressure to present finished thought? Is it really ok to be fragmented and indecisive?'
Perhaps with the exception of Twitter (which still can be archived and curated), I don't think online spaces ARE ephemeral. That's the problem. These are not fleeting remarks; they are there for good. They can expose mistakes, foolishness, naivety and raw emotions.
The public transparent nature of contributing online, which ever media it might be, scares most people. There's a big difference between scribbling in a journal and posting to a blog. There's a big difference in confiding semi-formulated ideas with a person you trust, or with yourself, and sharing them with the world or even an extended network. Gauging what to share online, when and with who is in itself a digital literacy skill I think. It will vary from person to person according to the issue, thickness of skin, and personal space needs but I'd certainly respect anyone's right to withdraw at a time when intense personal reflection and introspection is needed.
Perhaps what we can share is metacognitive. Not the details as such, but an understanding of the strategies and processes. We DO need to encourage wacky creative thoughts, lateral thinking, risk-taking, and change. The final product often fails to illustrate the rich, turbulent and harried nature of the creative process but it is often after the process is complete and a result is evident that the significant moments along the way become evident. We do not, for example, see the working sketches of great artists before the final work is published.
From a personal perspective, whether I'm formulating creative projects or pondering life directions, I do most of it in private. When the change or project is substantial it will become all consuming. Shutting down to enable focused attention is a coping strategy and one to be acknowledged.
Best wishes with your new directions Harriet. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of your deliberations when and if you are ready to share them :)
[CC FlickR image by Invisible Lens]