Any creative would attest to the fact that becoming an artist is a journey. It’s an awkward journey full of numerous distractions, potholes, dead ends, and uphill battles. Being a creative isn’t easy. Honestly, even calling oneself a creative is difficult. When we’re on the creative journey, what qualifies us? When do we “arrive”?

There have been numerous messages on creativity and everybody seems to have an idea of what one should be doing… But, we only know in part how to move towards producing quality creative work because it can be different for everyone.

“Closing the Gap” – Ira Glass

One inspiring video I want to share is a short clip of Ira Glass speaking on Storytelling and the idea of “closing the gap.” [Clip here & full interview here]. Ira Glass is an American public radio icon and the host and producer of the radio/television show This American Life. This is one “part” that you may not have heard before. You’ll want to listen.

Glass speaks on producing a large volume of work to get closer to the aspired quality of output. We pursue creative work because we have good taste, but what we produce immediately may not be of the quality we initially hoped. Thus commences the internal battle of whether to continue creative work or give up. Is there hope or are we destined to miss the mark time and again?

Even typing this blog produces a rush of pressure for immediate perfection. My heart doesn’t want to endure the process of fumbling through my words, editing, deleting etc. But, I know from experience, that growth occurs through the process. The process is where we learn determination and it’s where we grow our character.

The final product is only a reflection of the grit and hard work that was endured in the process. Each final product increases in quality along the way. It’s years of that very grit and hard work that begin to qualify us.

Being OK with Failure

As we toil over creative endeavors and jump into the unknown, we have to be ok with failure. This being said, I acknowledge your frustration in advance. It’s frustrating when some people will only glance at a final product that you created. Or will only listen to 15 seconds of a song that you wrote. Or will only nod at a stage design that you made. It’s easy to lose motivation and believe that we aren’t making progress when our creations are merely skimmed.

We have to recognize that our desire to create isn’t always met with acknowledgment. It may take years to attain a recognizable level of influence—which is an arbitrary achievement in itself… because, as creatives, we can’t create for personal fame and recognition. That’s an ill-motivated endeavor.

True reward comes from our inward nature to create. It comes from our undying, inward cry for ideas to come to life. God created us in his image, therefore we possess the ability to create. When we create, we give glory to God. It’s both a gift to us and a gift back to Him.

Hope for the Creative Journey

God will use every chance He can to bless us and those around us abundantly. If God has called us to create, we have a responsibility to partner with Him. He is the prompter, the pursuer, the ultimate provider of ideas and wisdom. In turn we are the responders, able to bring God into the midst of our every creation even when we know that we’re in the process. Even when we know we haven’t “arrived” at our desired quality of output.

Rest assured, there will be moments of reward. In what form, I’m not certain. If you press into your calling with diligence, you will feel the pleasure of God over your creations.