i have had a love/hate relationship with the creative aspects of my being for at least the last five years.
as far back as i can remember i have wanted to be a writer. i wrote (and self-published) my first book at the age of 8. i used to dream of being a journalist or an author, seeing my name in newspapers and my face in book jackets. in high school, my senior project was an attempt to get published. i wrote a story about a roll of film that was obtained surreptitiously, and learned of different places that i could try to get it published.
there is also music in my blood. i grew up in a house with a piano, drum set, guitar and bass out at all times. i played clarinet and flute most of my life. in high school i took up guitar. i have even written a few songs and played one or two shows.
somewhere along the line i decided i could paint and draw and i experimented with mixed media.
my room is evidence of this. in my tiny space i have a guitar, ukulele and keyboard accessible. my walls are decorated with my most prized creations.
the last five years have been marked by such a profound block that i haven’t created anything that i am proud of or wanted to share with people, save a couple songs i worked on for practicum in the fall. this blog is my only regular creative outlet, and it has been my saving grace in those moments when i just need to put words out there. but it is not the form of creativity that i thrive in.
this troubles me because of what i believe it means to be human. we are created beings, created by a Creative God, to participate in God’s creative action. we are all creative. creativity is not about whether you can paint or play an instrument, creativity is the expression of imagination, it is producing something beautiful, it is generative. you can argue about whether or not you are artistic, but i will stand strongly behind the assertion that we are all creative.
i have felt in the last year as though my creativity has been bursting at the seams. i have such an overwhelming desire to create something beautiful – a song, a poem, a painting – to express what is happening inside of me, but it doesn’t come.
i think i have realized something. creativity is spiritual. and there is some sense in which it has to be cultivated, maintained, developed. how do you do that? perhaps the cultivation of creativity, like spirituality, is based on discipline. we have spiritual disciplines like prayer, worship, confession, service, etc. that help us to grow as disciples and in our knowledge of God. what if there is a discipline to creativity too?
what if creativity is like a life of faith, where at some point it doesn’t just come easy anymore, but it is something that needs work. at some point we need to learn how to sustain it on our own, without those moments of overflowing, of abundance where we don’t really have to try. these are the only kinds of moments that i know how to create from: bursts of inspiration that seem to just flow out of me without much effort. but what if creativity is more than that?