To my mother, a day spent on the internet is a day wasted by me.
A day spent watching 200 minutes’ worth of 18-minute TED talks that could change the way you lived your life, reading, re-reading, wallowing over and reading again the poems of Robert Frost, watching one hour specials of my favorite comedians, getting inspired and typing out a page of new jokes, only to erase half of it after reading it again -this is not a day wasted.
This is creative binging. It is my therapy, my “me-time”, my way of refreshing my inspiration and my favorite way of learning.
I believe everybody does creative binging in their own way; it doesn’t have to be related only to browsing the internet. For myself alone, creative binging could mean a plethora of things. One day, I “wasted” an entire evening putting colored paper in front of lights to see how it changes the mood of the room. 3 evenings later, I realized that I could use the same method to create my own color filters for my camera flash! The result? I get a bunch of cool pictures that look like they’ve been over-edited, but in reality it was me holding yellow paper in front of a camera flash.
Creative binging could even mean just scrolling through instagram. No, not the instagram of that girl in class who you’re jealous of but still stalk online. If you love cooking, simply going through videos of creative dishes on instagram could give you some new ideas. I often find myself deep into photography accounts on instagram, not even having realized that I was creative binging.
Creative binging, unlike binge-watching Netflix or binge-eating pizza, or binge-watching Netflix while binge-eating pizza, doesn’t leave you tapped out, exhausted and questioning your productivity. The main reason for this is, unlike other types of binging, creative binging creates output, even when the only thing you’ve been doing is feeding your brain input.
“Output” doesn’t have to mean that when I read Robert Frost’s poems, I immediately write a dozen myself. But it does leave me with seedlings of new thoughts, ideas and perspectives growing in my brain. Think about it- what possible output could watching a TED talk of a girl who 3-D printed her clothes and made a living out of it yield? Of course you’re not gonna run to the shop to buy a 3-D printer, or start weaving a skirt out of aluminium foil, but it will yield output, and not only in the form of innovative inspiration. It will heal your brain. Okay, maybe it won’t “heal your brain”, but it will drive you to click on another interesting TED talk, and then another, and then yet another, and by the end of it you will have gathered knowledge about so many different people and what they’re doing differently that you will close your laptop, take out your planner and start doing something different as well.
I find it hard to say “I learn a lot at school”. I find it hard to say “I could learn a lot about 3-D printers from a book on 3-D printing”. I find it hard to say “I learnt a lot about poems from the 2-day poetry workshop I went to”. Because the majority of my learning- real learning that I cherish and take pride in -comes from creative binging.
So don’t be afraid to spend a day on the internet next time, but make sure you don’t spend it only on the new season of Game of Thrones.