Steve Taylor heard I was writing about creativity and sent me an e-mail with some advice he’d received. The advice was simple:
1. A creator loves what they do.
2. A creator knows how to do what they do.
3. A creator does what they do.
You’re probably thinking “duh” right? But when I apply this to my life, there is value.
1. I fell in love with writing during high school. I wrote an article for the youth group newsletter and received positive feedback and that was it. My love affair with words began. It was my new identity, and that impure motive, perhaps, turned into a genuine appreciation for the written word. I’ve not stopped thinking about how to phrase ideas since. A love for the art is important, because without it, you won’t pull through. If you want to the identity of a rock star, good luck. If you love music, you may get the identity but hopefully you won’t care. You and your love will just make great music and enjoy life.
2. Malcolm Gladwell points out that the average “genius” is no genius at all, but has spent ten-thousand hours honing their craft. Steinbeck’s early work has flashes of genius, but he rambles. Nobody is born great. It takes work. Lots and lots of work. When I first started writing, I wondered if I had something special, if I could be like Steinbeck. I was hoping there was some magical ability within me that would shine out and get discovered. But these are foolish thoughts. The best way to get discovered is to work very hard, very long hours and get good. People discover what is good.
3. And I’ve been offered jobs in video and screenwriting and other stuff that doesn’t have a great deal to do with books. I’ve taken some of these jobs, but I’ve noticed I’m not as good at them as I am at what I do, I write books. And I have to remember that. A creator focusses, hoes the same land for decades and keeps the soil fertile. He isn’t lazy, he works, every day, moving the plot forward. In addition, a creator actually makes things happen. Creative talk and exploration is not the same as the act of creation. A creator can hold in their hands what they’ve made. Little blog entries and practice poems won’t do. A creator makes things.
So, I hope that helps. Here are some questions to consider. What do I love to do? Am I good at it, and if not, am I practicing and do I love the practice. And lastly, what am I making. Am I writing a book, painting a series of paintings for a gallery open, pushing songs forward for an album, creating a line of clothes for a fashion show, writing a series of sermons?
Lets go and create.