I’ve been quiet recently, mostly because I’ve been teaching, but also because I’ve been reading and thinking.
I spent the last week leading a group of Simple Scrapper members through the beta edition of Refresh, my new seasonal workshop that resets your creative spark in seven days. It was challenging, eye-opening, and remarkable.
Though we’re still many weeks out from opening registration for the next session (to be held this January), there was something that bubbled up during the Refresh experience that I couldn’t wait to write about.
When Less is More
Since this was a beta run, the workshop was intentionally stripped down of bells and whistles. I wanted to focus on specific lessons and small activities that I know work well. My attention was on finding the right balance of introspection and action, rather than putting a spit-shine on the event.
Participants are just beginning to share their evaluations. And while there’s much praise for the experience, the reviews confirm that there are certainly improvements to make.
That was expected.
What has been most interesting, however, is what has not been said. In both the course discussions and the evaluations submitted to date, I’ve not heard any requests for more video or audio content.
I’m completely surprised and not surprised at all. Nearly every course I’ve taught in the past few years has included multiple videos and many also featured audio messages. Those things take time and were some of the key “bells and whistles” I chose not to include.
I assumed I would get at least one “How come there aren’t any videos this time?” comment. Nope.
As I began to marinate on this fact, I remembered that my best customers share a few things in common: they’re smart, thoughtful, have high expectations for themselves, and well-read. Well-read. Maybe there’s something to that.
I also recalled how I recently realized that librarians and teachers seem to be some of my very best students. They get how Simple Scrapper is different and value that I go beyond the surface.
That’s when it all became clear.
My audience likes to read. I’d even bet many of them like to read a whole lot, with stacks of books on their nightstand.
They value words and ideas and of course, stories. And while they may enjoy videos when there’s time and listen to podcasts while folding laundry, written lessons and exercises and discussions resonate the most—and are often also the most efficient format for consumption.
And as it happens, that’s also the format in which I communicate most effectively.
Are We Alone?
Recently I’ve read so many blog posts and heard even more podcasts discussing the shift from blogging to podcasts, videos, and social media. I would bet that at least one (likely more) of your favorite bloggers have stopped posting or post far less than they did before.
We’re in an era that rewards short attention spans with endless scrolling and autoplaying. As a whole we’re distracted and easily distractible. We give something a like or double-tap, but we can’t take the time to comment. And even amidst the endless flood of “content”, there’s effectively less to read so we don’t even have the chance.
With the emphasis on doing more and making it shorter (Periscope, Snapchat, etc.), some of the messages out there would leave you wondering if anyone still reads at all.
But the thing is, we do. We read. You’re reading.
I know it because you relished in the “What I’m Reading” storytelling prompts I shared with members recently. I know it because every time Kelly Purkey sells a book stamp it sells out in minutes.
I know it because you didn’t beg me for more multimedia content, content that you have find the time to consume so that you can check a box.
Reading is enough because words nourish you with meaning and genuine connection. Reading is your simple.
I’d love to hear your story in the comments. Are you an avid reader? What’s your preferred format for receiving workshop content?