I recently saw the film Midnight In Paris, a powerful flick whose backstory is about finding a creative muse in spite of self-doubt. As one who writes on a daily basis, I felt a kinship with the main character in the story, a frustrated writer with a stalled novel. Whether you are a writer or not, I believe you will enjoy this powerful film. It hits on a profound truth in the human psyche – we are created by God to do more than merely exist. We have been created to make art, that is, do things that bring meaning to us, and hopefully to others as well.
Your ability to be creative – to make art – is your greatest distinctive in life. In order to live a fulfilled life, you need to express that creativity in meaningful ways. Here are some approaches to making that happen that have shaped my life:
Make friends with creative types.
Often the most important factor in stirring up creativity is watching the company you keep. In some cases, you need to add new friendships that can bring zest and spark. As you pray for them they tend to appear; if they don’t, start a reading group! On the other hand, perhaps you need to extricate yourself from banal, nagging types who only bring you down.
Pay attention to your input.
What you take into your heart and mind will stimulate you in one direction or the other. Pay attention to what other creative types are reading, watching, listening to and mimic them. By the way, don’t buy into the notion that TV is a waste of time. People who say that are the boring types who are stuck in old paradigms that are out of touch with our current culture. It is impossible to live in the 21st Century and not look through a screen that takes in the virtual world on a daily basis. Be wise about your watching habits of course, but realize you can’t possibly be tied into this ever-changing culture without being connected to the tube.
Don’t take yourself all that seriously.
It takes multiples attempts before something great comes about. In writing, for example, it takes about 7 attempts until something worthwhile comes together. When I first started writing I grew impatient when my first pass didn’t read well. One well-known writer famously says his first pass at something is always complete s#*t. After writing many books now and countless articles I couldn’t agree more. A word to the wise is to persevere in getting started and not grow weary in well doing as Paul admonishes.