Today would have been my dad’s 81st birthday. Unfortunately, dad passed away in 2010. I miss him a lot. My dad was a kind and generous man. He was a spiritual man. But I never thought of him as being creative. He wasn’t a writer. He wasn’t an artist. He wasn’t a musician. Still, looking back, I can see that he taught me a few things about being creative.
1. Don’t Care What Others’ Think
This was big. When we’re young we’re often self-conscious. We want to fit in. We want to be cool. Dad taught me to hell with that. My dad was unique as a spiritual man. He went to fringe Christian groups. If others questioned his sincerity as a Christian he didn’t care. He believed that what he was practicing was right for him.
As creative individuals, one of the worst things we can do is get caught up with what others’ think about our work. If we let others’ opinions get to us, we’d likely quit creating. Don’t listen to the critics. Don’t get distracted by others’ comments about your work. Just create. The more you create, the better you’ll become at what you do.
2. All Creative Things Come From a Higher Source
Some people might look at an odd work of art or listen to a negative song and claim that they come from darkness. Some might even say that some works of art are evil, a spawn of Satan. My dad disagreed. He believed that everything creative is an act of God. He believed that even the darkest works of art have some kind of godly message within them.
This attitude about creativity does two things: First, it allows us to be humble, knowing that our words, music, and art are a gift from God. Second, it allows us complete creative freedom without becoming self-critical when we release our darkest thoughts through our work. If you’re an artist, act like one.
3. There Is Truth in Everything
If all creative works come from a higher source, that means there is truth within them. Dad believed that even the most crude creative works have elements of truth hidden within. This is good news for those who write fiction.
I’ve written several books. I make stuff up. But within that made-up stuff I try to reveal truth about life, about love, about God. My version of truth may not always be perfect, but within my stories I can’t help bet strike a few honest chords. Understanding that there is truth in everything can teach us that failure is nearly impossible. If you create, you succeed.
4. Love Is Unconditional
I was a jerk to my parents at times when I was younger. But no matter what I did, my dad always accepted me for who I was. This led me to understand that love is unconditional, a great lesson for any artist or writer.
When we create for others, there will always be naysayers. But those who love us and love our work will always support us. My dad was there for me when I went through tough times. My true fans will be there for me even when I go through experimental phases and create odd works. This allows me space to truly be creative.
Dad Knew a Lot About Creativity
Even though my dad was not a writer or an artist, he understood some fundamental truths about being creative. If you’re a creative individual, know that you are unique. Don’t worry about what others think about your work. What you’re creating is not only an expression of yourself, it’s an expression of something greater than yourself. Your art is filled with truth and love. Keep creating.