Talking about creativity - How much is too much?

how much is too much - talking about creativity with Jen Cooper
Jen Cooper of Classic Play

More talking about creativity here at the cottage today.

Jen from Classic Play and I have covered all sorts of topics relating to being creative, making things, and living a creative life. Why do you blog?, Self doubt, making art and having a life, that sneak jealousy, and copying vs. inspiration

We are "talking" about creativity but it's REALLY emailing about creativity. I'm not about to start transcribing Skype conversations.

Here's how it works. I pick a topic and email Jen about it. That's the first time that she has seen it. She ONLY reads the email when she can respond right.away. None of this editing or second-guessing or back-spacing to say it better, make it prettier or more palatable. I do the same.

And what you get is exactly what we said. Unedited. You may WISH we would have done some editing, but there you go. From our brain to you.

Today we're talking about sharing - ourselves, our lives, our values, our opinions. With the US election coming up there have been some bloggers putting it ALL out there about who they are supporting. And others, not so much. That's just an example for today. How do YOU decide what to share? And how much is too much? 

Sandra

You know, I DO like these chats that we have. I only wish that we could do them in person. Or that if we did them on Skype, that the transcription fairy would arrive and make it ALL so easy to share.

I've been having a few conversations here and there and reading here and there too about, how do I put it, disclosure. Being open and honest in your blog. Sharing yourself. Taking a few risks. 

I know that there's been a LOT around how much of your kids' lives and photos to share - I don't really want to talk about that today. But I do want to talk about how you and I or someone else decides WHAT to share. 

Here's an example - with your election coming up in a few weeks some bloggers are stepping out and making it known who they are going to be voting for. And some aren't. I know that's a BIG example - lots of risk there.

But what about other opinions that you or I might have? Or showing some white underbelly? How do you decided how much of Jen to share?

Jen

Ahh! You caught me at such a strange time. I *just* deleted a whole comment in a post that dished out too much of my history.

So yeah, I definitely struggle with this. Partially because some of 'my stories' belong to others as well and I don't necessarily have their permission to share them. I also, feel protective of certain people, including myself I guess. 

I have avoided the political debates entirely. They've been killing me inside. Not in that I want to participate but in that sometimes it destroys my perception of someone. Politics has become vitriolic in this country and I can't respond without my blood pressure raising. Plus, I've been scarred by some of things I've heard lately. 

So to answer your question, I share what I'm comfortable with. And if someone else is involved in the story that might be seen in an unfavorable light, I usually avoid it. I'm terribly protective of people. Even ones who've done me wrong. I don't enjoy hurting others. Which is also probably why I avoid politics. I am so passionate that I can't talk about it 'responsibly.' You know? I just end up getting angry. 

I'm not a voyeur and don't enjoy watching train wrecks. That's just my personal style. So blogs that dish everything, don't really do it for me. I like filters. BUT if a story helps people understand where you're coming from, I think that's important to share. I don't know. I'm actually terrible at this. I've shared some personal stories on my blog, but I'm definitely a work in progress. 

So I wonder if it's a style thing. Because I know plenty of blogs that resonate with people BECAUSE they're so open. How about you? 

Sandra

I avoid politics too. At least on my own blog. I DO follow a few political science type blogs where I am more open. And that's the conversation and debate that's expected. It CAN get heated - one guy left and has yet to return - but it is usually a pretty lively but respectful debate. I get to be the Canadian lefty. 

Hah - I just paused and second-guessed even writing that!

I guess I just don't want to muddy the waters in my own space. Almost like an "agree to disagree" without even getting into anything. We'll just set those topics down over there and won't even go there so we can talk about these other things over here.

Same with religion.

Yes, the "train wreck" blogs. They DO get a lot of page views and followers and I wonder if the writer REALLY knows what they are sharing? And the implications of what they are sharing? Makes me SOOO uncomfortable. 

So these are the obvious topics I suppose - politics, religion, big bad ugly experiences that we've had. You know how there's a lot of encouragement to "be you" in your blog writing. I've shared elsewhere that idea from photographer Jasmine Star to be so "you" that people will either love you or hate you. Have an opinion.

Are we being a bit disingenuous by not sharing more of who we are? And if you did, what would that look like?

Jen

Hmmm... are we being a bit disingenuous. Nah, I don't think so. I mean I think I'm very me on my blog: I geek out about things, I like to think I show my sense of humor, I border on Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm without being too saccharine (at least I hope so) and I share stuff that we're doing as a family and things I think are important. 

But I do save a level of intimacy for those relationships that are most important to me. So I'm not going to share the things with my readers that say, I share with Dave or my close friends.  But there are some readers who have sent emails or left comments that I *have* developed real friendships with. And I find the more of them that contact me the more I feel comfortable with and therefore share more. 

The other way I can think about this is: Maybe the fact that I don't share everything is very "me" too. You know? I mean I like to think I 'keep it real' but the fact that I don't spill every single thing that's happening or has happened is part of my *ahem* charm. (hahahahaha!) 

Sandra

And you ARE charming....

I suppose blogging is like a performance. And not in a cynical or bad way - but it's just another version or side of ourselves that we put out in the world. Just like who we are at work. Or at our kids' school when we are dropping them off. Or at the neighbourhood potluck dinner. Is it fake? I suppose some people could argue that it's fake. 

I like your thought about how not sharing everything is very "you" too - that feels "right" to me - having the level of disclosure online match up with what you or I or someone else would be comfortable with in real life.

I guess with being around the block a few times comes a bit more caution. At least for me. Not oversharing or sharing MORE than is warranted based on the level of friendship. 

Hey, now THAT might be oversharing in itself!

Anything else to add?

Jen

The only other thought about this I had was that while part of art is interpretation, I think another part is editing. You know? I guess that aligns with your performance idea.

That's a wrap for today. Now we want to hear what YOU think. How much IS too much? Where do you draw the line? What are you comfortable sharing, personally and politically?