Creativity is my bread and butter, so I suppose it’s natural that I have some thoughts on it. I’ve made a living in creative pursuits my entire adult life, from painting and running a gallery, to jewelry design, music and marketing. I’d make the case that spiritual mentoring requires a great deal of creativity, as does ministry in general. Now, this is by no means a definitive list of my creative musings. In fact…
Give up on the idea of creating the definitive anything. It sets up unrealistic expectations and makes perfection your only standard of success. How many books have we missed out on because the author would only settle for the Great American Novel? We get better by creating as well as we can, improving a bit with each creation. If we are holding out for perfection, we are never able to finish anything and always feel like a failure.
Creativity is not about the audience. It’s about the act of creating, pure and simple. Maybe people will like what you create. That’s cool – but it’s not the point.
Create just to create. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you want to write, journal. Write articles that you keep to yourself, or blog, or publish them. Write poetry. Write bad haikus. Just write. Topic doesn’t matter. Purpose doesn’t matter. Goodness doesn’t matter. Just being creative for the sake of creativity is what matters.
Creativity requires empty brain time. Lay in a hammock. Sit on the beach. Meditate. Spend unstructured time doing something inspiring. Be quiet. Just don’t fill up every spare second with stimulation and stuff to do. Creativity requires an empty brain to percolate.
Creativity requires willing brain time. This one goes with #3. I’ve heard that you should expect to write 100 bad songs for every good song. That means you’d better get to writing some songs! Sit your tushy down at the piano. No good ideas, you say? Write a song about having no ideas! Again, it’s about the time you put into willingness. Without it, your muse will starve.
Ditch the hierarchy. You might think some things are “crafty”, others are high art. Nope. Honoring the creative impulse is the only thing that matters, whether you are crocheting a blanket or writing a sonnet or painting a sign or composing a symphony. The rest is up to Spirit.
At some point, you might want to get good at what you do. Good idea, but that’s not creativity, that’s craftsmanship. It’s important, but it’s different. You practice the guitar for craftsmanship – it’s something that you DO. You make space for the miracle of inspiration and creativity to come through you – it’s something that you BE.
It comes down to this, my friends: Creativity is not a talent or a unique skill for special people. It is your birthright. It will bring you joy and satisfaction like nothing else in your life. Nurture it, and it will serve you. Now, get to work!