It’s been a few years since I’ve blogged with any level of consistency, and I’ve identified several reasons for this:
- First of all, I am terrified to write. The thought of cranking out a crappy blog post is paralyzing. You see, I’m married to a prolific, talented writer, so I feel a little out of my depth before I even try.
- Secondly, I cannot stand the editing process (many writers can’t). A level of shame rises when corrections are made to my work. Thoughts like “I should have already known this” or “Why didn’t I take school more seriously? Now I’m behind!” make me avoid the pain of refining my work.
- And for the past year, I’ve been battling what creatives call imposter syndrome. This nearly destroyed any passion and hope I had in this unique life Heidi and I share. Through a very long and shaky process, I am overcoming this fear and embracing my identity as a creator.
So why am I writing again? Because over the past three years, I’ve come to believe that creativity matters. It’s worth fighting for. To give up is to forfeit one’s soul. That may sound dramatic, but this is true for me.
When anyone steps into the realm of creativity, there are usually two questions that get asked:
- Will I make a living off of this?
- Will it change the world?
While these are important questions, I believe that starting here will stop you dead in your tracks. We must first learn to see creativity as a process and not a product. Any art worth making takes time. It takes energy. Focusing on the bottom line of finances or cultural expectations can crush what you are trying to create. So let’s put those two questions in our peripheral view. The real question to focus on is:
How will the process of creating change me as a person?
Creativity has more to do with exploration than demarcation. When we start to make a work, we begin a discovery process. We might have a vision for how the projects is supposed to go, but our vision adjusts and broadens based on our tools, abilities, as well as the emotional response that the sole act of creating tends to bring up.
As we create, we journey into our inner lives. We must pay attention to our feelings, our memories, our joy and our pain. This process will shape your work, rendering it honest and true. These are the real tools for making good art. By the time you’ve completed a creative endeavor, you should learn something about yourself and your Maker.
Far more important than asking if your work is marketable or lucrative is, “Is this work authentic?” Once a genuine work is created, then consider sharing it with the world. If your work has changed you, it can change others as well. If others are changed, they see the value of the project and are often willing to pay for your art, thus the two other questions work themselves out.
Heidi and I are passionate about creating. As Chasing Ebenezer, we play in a world folk rock band, write poetry and fiction, and are trying our hand at visual art. Why? Because we want to contribute genuine, beautiful art to our culture. We want to inspire and equip others to do the same. Check out some of our favorite resources below and share in the comments section what you’re creating.
If you’re interested in consulting/coaching for your creative content, I want to help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation in-person or via the web.