In the very beginning of time, there wasn’t digital technology. But somehow, art got made, music was played, and books were written. Creative efforts were still made sans the help of digital doodads, and that time was pretty great. As an artist who grew up to watch the evolution of creativity transition from analog to digital, I could tell you that there’s something lost in the creative process as we add technology into our creative repertoire. So I’m here to tell you why it’s important all of our creative efforts aren’t only made on digital screens.

Use your hands!

We were born with ten fingers and two hands and they move in many mysterious ways. Every creative project requires them to move in a different way depending on the desired result. They could grasp a pencil, finger paint, press piano keys, among numerous other things. You just don’t get that tangibility with a mouse or screen. With your hands, you take the matter into your own hands – literally. You get to interact with the physical material and manipulate the way you want it. On a screen, you’re just playing pretend with pre-created options. Although when you try to recreate tools on screen, it’s nice to have options and materials ready at your disposal–but there’s a certain beauty lost when you tap a button or press a screen.

That “hand-crafted” feeling

When you bake a cake, do you enjoy something made from scratch or a box mix more? My answer is always from scratch. There’s something nice knowing what exactly you’re putting into something. When you create something by hand, you get to choose your own ingredients. Extra love and care added into the mix; but also, more attention is paid to the item’s creation. With digital technology, you have certain liberties but you don’t have the freedom of choosing exactly what you want. You have to make do with what’s available, and that may not achieve the same quality as something by hand.

A Lost Step in the Creative Process

I’m an artist. When I create, I always sketch first. On whatever creative project you embark on, there’s always an equivalent to a sketch, or an outline in the creative process. Outlines help in the planning process, and you know from the start that nothing is final. With a pen, you can just let the ideas flow onto the page. You have the freedom to write or sketch an idea out quickly to experiment whether it works or not. With technology, everything looks so massaged and near perfect from the get go. You lose the raw, organic part of the process happens when you go straight to the screen.

You don’t need an outlet/wifi/etc.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can create anywhere as long as you have your tools with you. When you create the analog way, you’ll even have hard copies of all of your work so you don’t have to worry about your technology crashing!

Slow it down.

From shooting a quick text over to someone to filling an area with color using the paint bucket tool, technology has sped up things up quite a bit. In turn, creating with technology may make things a bit easier so we could pump things out quicker, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better product. Take a step back for once. Savor the creativity at hand. If you could make something better by incorporating the hand, why start at the computer? Take the time needed.

Human connection.

When you walk around these days, count how many people are looking down at their phones. Almost everyone! Surprising, right? It’s sad how frequently screens have substituted the need for others in our lives. The same is true when working on projects. Having a person around IRL is more valuable than shooting an email over or setting up a call to ask for feedback. When creating with others, you’re able to share your ideas and creations at the moment they’re being made. While you chat things through, new ideas could even come to light based on the discussions that you’re having with real time feedback. In addition, behind a screen, you don’t get to see the actual project you’re working with nor have the luxury to read the body language behind the other individual to see their thoughts and feelings.

Look around you for inspiration.

The internet has made it easy to search for just about anything under the sun. When you have a new project at hand, you’re presented with millions of search results in the blink of the eye. While this may provide you with inspiration you’ve never thought you’d happen upon, nothing beats finding inspiration in real life. Interacting with art at museums, hearing music at a concert, having a great conversation with a friend, or even reading a book in a beautiful park on a breezy day with (wait for it!) birds tweeting in the background – all of these things elevate the experience and possibly provide even more inspiration for your project.

Screens are actually distractions.

How many times have you found yourself checking Twitter or Instagram instead of doing the work you’re supposed to be doing? If you’re like me, I’ve been guilty of this too many times to count. Disconnecting from technology every once in a while allows us a greater sense of focus for the projects that need to get done. Don’t interrupt your creative process!

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