The timeless fad of creativity

Image: Tim Wright

I know… Creativity is so ‘in’ right now. All the big names are writing books and giving TED talks about it. It seems like such a, dare I say, niche today.

I have to admit, I’m a total consumer. My favorite books are creativity books…

The Artist’s Way. Big Magic. The War of Art. Bird by Bird.

I could go on. And on.

I love them all. I’m a sucker. Why is this? Why is creativity such a ‘trendy’ thing? My shadow hipster side rails against it.

And to know I’m encouraging it by creating content around the genre. I’m an accomplice. I’ve even received emails from people who’ve called me part of the ‘creative elite’ (no, they did not mean it as a compliment).

Is this just a passing fad? Am I just surfing a trend?

I’ve thought long and hard about this — yes, I’m a tortured soul. But I gotta say, every post I write about creativity, I mean every word I say. I’m not just throwing empty words around when I say that creativity isn’t just a hobby, you can’t escape creativity, and it’s a creative universe.

If you’re a creativity geek like myself, you may think that we all know this stuff. We drink a lot of our own kool aid. Like, okay, we get the point, we’re all artists, blah, blah, blah — but I gotta say, there’s SO many out there who have no idea how much this one little concept — that we are creative beings at our core — can totally change things around.

Creation is the business we’re all in from birth.

Aren’t we all in the creation game? Haven’t we always been? Is that why the Bible starts on the topic?

Rob Bell just wrote a fantastic book (yes, on creativity) called How to Be Here (highly recommended). In it, a recurring theme is the blinking cursor.

I know… Original concept? Not exactly. But when you hear certain truths expressed a certain way, they fail to get old.

As Bell says, we’re all faced with a blinking cursor, like when you open a document in your word processor. It just sits there and blinks at ya.

Blinkety, blinkety, blink. Beyond it, white space. Nothing.

It just waits for you to make something out of it. It challenges you to create anew. Something that might not work.

In life, we’re all faced with the blinking cursor. Every day. Every moment. Whether we’re painting a house, slathering paint on a canvas, walking our kid to school, serving tables, or writing a novel — the cursor asks us if we’re going to just (1) sit there (2) plagiarize something, or (3) create something different, better, fresher, higher.

We can fight against the blinking cursor all we want. The industrial age told us we didn’t have to face it. Instead, it gave us a pre-filled-in step-by-step document to copy, paste, and turn in that went something like (1) good grades (2) good college (3) good job (4) house in the ‘burbs (5) gold watch (6) grave.

But that was a temporary blip in time. It’s gone now. And we’re back to having to face that damn cursor again.

This is what we’re here to do. Create. We make our happiness by begrudgingly getting each word of our life out on the page. Even when we’re stuck. Even when we think that, because we work retail, we’re not creative.

It still blinks.

We can search for ways to try to avoid it. That stock market trick or pyramid scheme or internet marketing course. We just want to do an easy, safe thing, make a bunch of money, and treat the rest of life like a vacation.

But creation always calls us. Pulling us forward. Summoning us to partner up with God to continue the endless game of adding another word to the infinite manuscript that is the ever-unfinished universe.

Damn… I’m getting really woo-woo now. Better go read another creativity book.

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