I cannot remember the writer but I clipped this quote from Science of Mind Magazine: “You are a novelist when you have written a novel. Getting published is beside the point. You’re an actor when you act, an artist when you make art. Set economics aside. If you pour yourself into it for the sheer delight of creating characters and moving them around, someone will want to share your delight.”
That’s exactly what all creative work is: sharing delight. To look at it any other way is to constipate your creative self.
To dwell on the economics of marketing your work will freeze all your creative machinery. You cannot write, paint, sculpt or turn out any creative product when you are dwelling on how you will market it, how much you will charge for it and a hundred other questions monkey mind will stir up in your gourd.
You might say, “But why create something if you don’t have a marketing plan? What good will it do you after you create it? You’re living in a dream world!”
That’s right. Creativity IS living in a dream world!” A world where you constantly dream up the ideas and projects you want to do. You must get lost in them. You must live these dreams. And you can’t do fretting over marketing.
The first songs I wrote were so exciting. I would finish one and have a dozen ideas for new hooks and titles backed up in my song idea book. It was one of the happiest, most exciting times of my life.
Then I moved to Nashville. I got caught up in all the business angles. I knew how much you were likely to make off a #1 song. I knew about radio and TV royalties and record sale royalties. Before long, my writing slowed down to a snail’s pace. What had been a delight that kept me constantly playing with ideas and tunes became a business.
I remember driving home one night and being depressed. I made a definite decision that night and it was simple: I will write for the pure pleasure the rest of my life. I will offer my songs to publishers and artists but if no one records them, I will record them myself and put out my own records.
I remember Dolly Parton saying something like this: “I am going to write songs and sing and make records even if no one wants to release them. I will sell them out of the trunk of my car if I have to.”
That’s the kind of decision we must make. To throw ourself into the delight of doing our own thing. Emerson was right when he said, “Your calling is in your talents,” so to not answer our calling is something we must never even consider.
I don’t have the old-fashioned idea of God harshly judging us over our human weaknesses and failures but I will say in no uncertain terms that I do not wish to go see the Lord if I haven’t done my best with the talents I have been given. So look upon the creative work you have been gifted to do as your God-given calling and don’t ever think twice about not doing it. And isn’t it a delight to have the honor of a calling?
Neither am I just talking about songwriters, novelists, painters and all those we too narrowly classify as “creative people.” No matter what you are talented to do, you can be creative with it.
I keep remembering a epitaph on a British tombstone: “Here lies John Smyth who cobbled shoes in this town 40 years to the glory of God.”
Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God and you will never lack for inspiration. Your work will be a sharing of your delight
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