Monday, May 14, 2007

Thoughts on Creativity

I've been thinking about creativity a lot, probably because I haven't felt like I've had very much of it lately. Creativity is a strange thing, sometimes it comes easy, sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world.

Puppetry and Ministry are two of the things that fill much of my time. In fact, the two merge most of the time, and I believe both are areas where creativity is essential. I know a lot of people who who would say they aren't at all creative (around 2:00 yesterday afternoon I might have said the same thing), but I believe we can train ourselves to be more creative.

I was reading a bit about the concept of "creativity" yesterday. One section talked about how creative people are always producing...some of what they produce may not be the greatest ideas, but that the act of continually producing is what helps bring those few great ideas out. I read that Bach wrote a cantata every week and that Thomas Edison had 1,093 patents. As I read about these I thought of Frank Zappa, who I read an interesting book about a year or so ago. Zappa was a unique figure in rock music. A good deal of his work is not what I would normally recommend to my Christian friends, but there's no denying the man was creative. Continuing to produce material was not a problem for him. Over the course of his career he recorded more than sixty albums. Several of those albums were just collections of his famously ever-changing guitar solos from live concerts. In fact, he produced so much material that his family members have continued to release new CD's of his music pretty regularly since his death in 1993.

Chuck Jones, the great Warner Brothers animation director, once recalled that one of his art instructors once greeted the class by saying "All of you here have one hundred thousand bad drawings in you. The sooner you get rid of them the better it will be for everyone." So we must keep on producing. Whether we're writing puppet skits, or practicing a Gospel illusion, or planning an object lesson...sometimes it takes working through a lot of bad ones before we come up with a great one. Lucky for us, God is a creative guy. He's the father of all creativity and we can tap into that creativity. Asking for creativity has become a regular part of my prayers.

One challenge I've given myself is to try and write something every could be a puppet program, it could be a blog post, it could be a short thought over on my Twitter page. I've also started carrying a small journal in my back pocket so I can write down every idea that comes along, even the one hundred thousand bad ones

1 comment:

Jesse Joyner said...


just read your post; thanks a ton for that encouragement on creativity. I needed to read that and I am inspired to go out and get a lot of bad ideas out of my system; here it goes!

-jesse joyner