In her book “The Artist's Way,” author Julia Cameron talks about how we are all creative. Many of us use her “Morning Pages” technique to unlock that creativity. I love the idea of it. I often think about what brings the inner creator to the surface and I have a theory. Our inner creator is split into two symbiotic halves, each serving a different purpose. The first part is the creator itself. This is the part of us that, well, creates. The second half is the part that consumes creativity or things creative. At the top of my yellow writing pad, I have these two items noted:

  • The creativity we create
  • The creativity we consume

To better understand, look at a few folks and examine their unique creative halves.

I'll start with me (of course, LOL). The things I create come from my job as a software engineer, a writer, and if I say so myself, a darn good dungeon master. My favorite creative things to consume are movies, art (pop art in particular), and music.

Now, let's look at my friend Allison. She is by far one of the most creative people that I know. Allison's creative output is legion as she paints, crafts, sculpts, writes, edits, and any other creative art you can imagine. I have yet to see any artistic endeavor she's not good at. Allison also shares some of my favorite creative consumptions: movies, music, and playing video games.

You probably don't need to think too hard about your own creativity or even other people's creative halves. Creativity reveals itself all the time.

I find the creative consumer part of our creative symbionts to be the most fascinating. The question I have for you is: Why does this consumer half exist and how does it affect you? I posit that the creative consumer is responsible for reenergizing/replenishing our creative energy.

Let's explore how creative consumption leads to creative replenishment. In my case, I'm going to use my love of music as an example. As many of you who read me regularly know, I'm a bit of a pop-culture junkie and music is part of this addiction. My music passion runs deep. I listen to music, watch music videos, dabble on bass guitar (I'm terrible), and I especially like to attend live music events. It's the attendance at live music events that gives me the most energy. As a matter of fact, attending live music events over the last couple of months inspired this editorial. Over the last two months, I've been lucky enough to attend around half a dozen different live music events. Some of the acts seen included Metallica, Pantera, Wolfgang Van Halen, Drake, 21 Savage, Pearl Jam, Godsmack, and Foo Fighters.

There were two events that really brought this idea home, that consuming creativity replenishes my own creative energy. The first one occurred in Louisville, KY at an event called Louder than Life. As I arrived at the music venue, a band called Bad Omens took the stage. I'd never heard of this band before this event. Once they started to play, the feeling that their music gave me was unmistakable. In less than 10 seconds, I gave myself over to the headbanging thrash metal. I was right at home with the thousands of others having a similar experience. Bad Omens' music was just what I needed. I immediately felt my creative reservoir filling up.

The next live music event happened at the Austin City Limits Festival. In reality, it wasn't a live music performance, so to speak, but it was definitely an event. It was an interview held on a side stage and presented by Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and Brene Brown. Brene is one of my favorite public speakers who talks about relationships and vulnerability. The topic was “music that moves us.” A crowd of around 500 people stood as Brene played a number of different musical clips. Each of these clips were used to discuss music's unique ability to take us to other places, to change our moods, and to unite us. Music is a powerful force and even discussing it united this diverse crowd. It was really something to participate in a huge group singing Queen's “We Are the Champions.” No one missed a single word! I definitely felt that I was part of something bigger than myself. With that, my creative energy reservoir became even fuller.

You're now around 600 words into this editorial and you're probably wondering just what my point is. I'll tell you how this all relates to my work and how creative consumption leads to creative replenishment. If you're reading this magazine, you're probably a software developer. Software development is definitely a creative process, and that creative process has its highs and lows, just like any other art form.

I find that there are two fun classifications of software developer: day-walkers and night-walkers. Day-walkers start coding in the morning, which is the highest point of their creativity. Night-walkers code into the wee hours of the night and their powers are fullest as the sun sets. No matter the classification, the creative reservoir is replenished as their work goes on.

The Law of Diminishing Returns is true as it pertains to software developers. We've all been subject to this law. We've all stumbled on a problem that seemed insurmountable. We beat our heads against the wall trying to find a solution, eventually stepping away to take a break. After a bit, we return with a “fresh pair of eyes,” hoping to find a solution. What happened when we stepped away? If you're anything like me, you probably went for a walk, listened to some music, watched a movie, painted - something that allowed your brain to at least partially unfocused. You probably just “did something else” non-tech related. Your “fresh pair of eyes” was the result of replenishing your own creative reservoir by using creative consumption.

This is my point. Each of us has that part of themselves that creates and that can be fueled by that inner creative consumer. Embrace that creative consumer.

Now go consume some tunes. I did while writing this.