on the creative process

Whenever I try to force myself to write, it never goes over well. I’ll feign an organized, productive lifestyle by planning out little pockets of “creation time” throughout the week to tide the anxious, worried-about-the-future side of me over until the next bout of “I have to get my life together” strikes.

But the creative process isn’t something you can schedule. Inspiration is not that kind of creature. It’d be nice, yes, to be able to open up my planner and call old Inspiration—sly, flighty, tricky friend—up to say, “Yeah, can you come tomorrow around 4 when I’m at home with absolutely no plans?”

But he’s a capricious one.

I’ll sit for thirty minutes in front of a blank page sometimes, able to think of nothing except for today’s dinner. And then of course, I’ll be somewhere crazy—at church, standing in line at a grocery store, sitting on the porcelain throne—when he decides to come calling.

There are moments when I’m struck with an intense desire to write. To create. To make ideas, visions, dreams, tangible. With that desire comes a certain level of ability.

These two things are present generally because I have an entity within me. Something that’s living, breathing, and gives me the capacity for this kind of idea-birthing. That something is love.

I’ve explored this idea for a while now. It was the topic of my term paper in the Torrey Honors program at Biola University the year we studied and discussed theological texts. Creation is interesting to me because, as a Christian, I believe God created all things. He created me. He, in His essence and nature, is a creator, and in a beautiful, loving way, He passed on that desire to all of us.

Creating is fun. It brings me a lot of joy.

I’ve wondered why it’s so enjoyable. There’s expression of the self, for one. There’s the satisfaction in creating something good and complete. But the overwhelming driving force behind the act of creating something is love.

To see that something has so much value–something that has yet to exist–as to give it life and existence and purpose seems to be one of the greatest expressions of love.

When we create something, we love it before and after its creation. Thinking about it in that sense helps me make the connection between God as our Creator and God as one who loves us in the most complete, full sense of the word.

To get more brainy and (loosely) theological about it, the conduit for sub-creation (as I like to think of our secondary capacity for creation in comparison to God’s primary capacity) is, I think, His very Spirit within us. John writes in 1 John 4:8 that God is love. His very Spirit is love (this is difficult to swallow if you relegate the concept of love to mere emotion), and this comes into play in the original creation in Genesis. So then, our proclivity for creating things seems to come from a flow of the Spirit within ourselves (as believers), or, at an even more fundamental level, from the root of who we were created to be (which is why non-believers also have a capacity/longing to create).

Still mulling things over.


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