4 Keys to Reaching Your Creative Best

When I was young, I remember my mom trying to teach me to sew.  She was a very good seamstress, and wanted to pass on her sewing techniques to me, so that I could make my own clothes as she had.

I reluctantly began laboring away on the sewing machine to create my first dress.

After the fourth seam, I had to rip them out because they were so crooked.

I started over, and just as I was starting to get the hang of sewing straight lines, I realized that I had sowed the front on backward.

I went downstairs to watch TV.

That was the end of my sewing days because I didn’t understand the 4 principles that would help me become a proficient seamstress. 

If we want to be our creative best, we must incorporate these 4 foundational principles of developing in the creative process.

 

1. Have a Vision  

My sewing days didn’t last long because my mom tried to teach me techniques before she instilled a vision for how I could express my creativity in what I designed and produced.

In my mind, it was a lot easier to just go to the store and buy what someone else had created.

The Bible warns us that, “Where there is no revelation (vision) the people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18)”.

In other words, the motivation and discipline required to become our best version is dependent upon having a clear vision of what it is we want to accomplish.

In building our vision for our creativity, we have to ask ourselves these 3 basic questions:

  • How do I want to express my creativity?
  • How proficient do I want to become in my creative expression?
  • How will my creative vision fulfill me, and impact others, if I become proficient?

If we don’t have a vision for the mastery of our creative craft, we will eventually lose interest once some kind of sacrifice is required. 

Vision gives pain a purpose.

Without a vision, it is easy to quit when we encounter setbacks, obstacles, or unmet expectations.

We must have a vision larger than our frustrations, disappointments, and failures if we want to be our creative best.  

 

2. Enjoy

It seemed like my mom sewed more out of practical necessity, rather than the joy of creating.

There is a huge difference between working from sacrifice and laboring from passion.

In my first experience in fashion design, I missed out on the passionate joy of creating and wearing something I had made.

We must learn to create out of joy if we desire to be our creative best.

I love the scene in the movie, Mr Holland’s Opus, when Richard Dreyfuss, a High School music teacher is trying to help a dedicated but struggling oboe player, who is constantly messing up the band.

After hours of private tutoring from Mr. Holland, she announces that she is going to quit the oboe and the band.

Perplexed, Mr. Holland asks her, “Is it any fun?”

She responds, “I wanted it to be…”

Amazingly, after he convinces her that playing music is supposed to be fun, and then, gets her to “play the sunset”, and without the aid of the sheet music, she plays flawlessly.

She didn’t need more technical advice — she already knew the notes on the page.  

She didn’t need more practice, but to play from joy.

So many of us strive to be perfect, when what we need to realize is that if we don’t enjoy God’s presence and the joy of how creating makes us feel, then we will become frustrated, and unable to achieve breakthrough in our creative efforts.

After all of these years, I have found the “sunset” in creating fashion.

I am now using my artwork to design clothes like legging, scarves, and even dresses.

I get so much joy creating the designs, as well as wearing them and seeing others enjoy wearing my art.

I discovered that fashion is part of what I love, and when I create, I feel a sense of joy that only comes from passion.

 

3. Get Curious and Learn

When we have a vision for our creativity, and create out of joy, our curiosity to learn will increase, so that we can become our creative best.

If I would have continued learning to sew as a young teenager, who knows, I could have started creating original clothing designs that could have launched me into becoming a fashion designer much earlier in life. 

I love to learn.

I find that when I’m passionate about something, I want to learn as much as I can to grow in my technical skills, so that my creativity can be fully expressed.

For example:

I still love shopping for creative clothing (my husband, Kevin, can attest to that), but I also love just going into shops with an anticipation of finding something different. 

I also love perusing art galleries to learn of the artist’s techniques and styles.

I love watching movies, plays, dance, listening to new kinds of music, reading books and articles, and scouring the Internet for new ideas that I can incorporate into my creative expressions.

The more I can learn how others have created, the more I grow in my creative outlook and abilities as I create.

If we are to grow in creating our best, we have to be constantly curious, and be life-long learners, so that we never become stagnant or complacent.

 

4. Be Holy Spirit Led 

Becoming our creative best requires us to be led by the Creator, the Holy Spirit, who will give us creative inspiration and strategies to express our unique creative gifts.

The Holy Spirit has been given to reveal hidden mysteries to us (I Cor. 2:9,10).  

Our creativity is meant to reveal these mysteries.

When we create from vision, joy, and curiosity, inspired by Holy Spirit, we will be much better able to become our best creative self.

Moreover, when we create with Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves taking much more risk to go out-of-the-box in bringing innovations to our creative expressions.

So then, as you move forward, toward your creative best, make sure your vision is central, that you are enjoying the creative process, devouring ways you can learn more, and that you follow where the Holy Spirit wants to take you!