Those that know me well know that I have a love hate relationship with the title, “creative”. I don’t like it for a number of reasons, mainly because I don’t like being put in a box and I feel like my life is more than just the onslaught of attaining vision, getting inspired to execute said vision and then creating something that embodies the vision. Being a creative is not just the job its how you see the world and how you take it in. In my teens and early 20’s the gift walked me through the musical aspects of creativity where my last 10 years have kept me in the digital and design side of it. So it’s kind of been my life for over 20 years. That’s crazy when I actually write it out. But because I’ve freelanced successfully, been a designer on a team successfully and now I am navigating leading an entire team of creatives I feel like I have something to share on the topic that may help anyone who’s embraces the word or perhaps detests it.
TOP 3 THINGS EVERY CREATIVE & NON CREATIVE SHOULD KNOW
TO THE CREATIVE
INSPIRATION Inspired is what you are, not something you have to find. The world is a broken place with horrible things happening every day. It should be easy for you to find a moment, close your eyes, feel the sun on your face and be reminded that you’re not in Aleppo. It should be easy for you to go to your favorite spot in your city and feel filled up so you can execute whatever you have to do with precision and live a life that is truly inspired by all things good. Inspired shouldn’t be part of your creative process, it should be the fuel that moves it quickly forward.
CREATIVE PROCESS If you don’t have one, get one. It’s important to have a guide, a road map per se whether you are writing a song or designing a website. But your process shouldn’t be riddled with idle time trying to get inspired, it should be filled to the brim with research, questions, and embracing the entirety of whatever vision you’ve been given so you can hear the melodies or see the layout come to life.
QUESTIONS You don’t know what you don’t know, so ask questions. It’s important at the infancy of any project or even in the throes to circle back, have check points and to ask questions. But when you ask the questions, you should already have a solution to accompany it and it shouldn’t be blanketed in disdain. Most people don’t know what they are asking for or what it takes to execute it, which can be frustrating for a creative, so ask direct questions; and if need be, have references to show where you are coming from and where you can go.
TO THE NON CREATIVE
THE MYTH Creatives are not all millennial hipsters who sit around drinking coffee all day internally processing our creative process while taking artsy pictures to post on our Instagram. Please do not bucket the gift with a cultural fad or assume that the creative doesn’t work incredibly hard. What many non creatives perceive as our distance from the real world is just the internalizing of how to be inspired by it when everything seems to be so broken. What you actually see is a broken heart not a broken work ethic.
THE PROBLEM Our culture has made it easy for everyone to take a decent image and share it with the world like they are Annie Leibovitz. Our culture in inundated with horribly fabricated melodies, pre-sets and no instruments and then they drop in on soundcloud like they are the next Mozart. For the love of all, it now takes 12 people to write one song with 2 sentences. Its a difficult time to be an artist who actually has an original thought, because we’ve trained the world to be excited about 8 fast and furious remakes instead of original screenplays. Our culture has made it easy for the true art of creativity and excellence to be squashed underneath viral videos and photoshop like-apps. It’s smiled upon removing freckles and our beautiful imperfections that keep us all from being another perfectly coiffed hollywood starlet. True creatives and artists are being bundled up and truly have no voice outside of what the culture perceives us as. So have grace for us, we are just trying to cultivate original ideas and products all while navigating a sea of memes and mannequin challenges.
THE SOLUTION You need us and we need you. It’s not an us or them. This can be said about all differences and people, but the us and them is old and tired and needs to be retired. A creative is just a person who is incredibly wise with resources and brings solutions to problems; its a person who can see a vision and bring life to it in more ways than one. It’s not a moniker attached to the guy who paints happy little trees. Be careful next time you belittle a creative as you yourself are one.
Next time I’ll talk about being a creative in the local church, so make sure to come back and comment below on your thoughts. I’d love to hear them.