Archive for May, 2017

I loved this little video clip of an artist who has an amazing and different technique. You need to see what he does.

Do what you do. Do it well and…
Dream Big!

An excerpt from my upcoming book on overcoming creative block.

Often the biggest problem that blocks us creatively is not a lack of ideas, we may have a thousand ideas floating around in our creative brains. The problem may be settling in on one. Which one should I do first? It may also be negative self talk. “I’m not good enough to do that;” “I don’t have what it takes;” “I’m lacking some resource;” or maybe just plain “I can’t.” Maybe the nagging “what if’s” have come to call: “What if I can’t do it?” “What if something goes wrong?” “What if I can’t finish?” The list goes on and on and on.

Here’s the thing. I can’t guarantee you success. You may have a raging success or you may fail royally, but I can guarantee failure. You will fail every time if you don’t do one thing—START! So often this is exactly what we do. We get an idea, maybe even a great one, but then the doubts rear their ugly heads and we walk away from it. Don’t do that. To succeed, you have to start. There has never been a success that did not start with a start. I know it sounds obvious, and it is obvious, but I’m convinced that thousands of people take earth shaking ideas to their graves every day because they didn’t have the courage to start.

You say, “But I have all these ideas, what should I choose?” I can’t help you with that. All I can say is pick the one that most appeals to you and start. I know it might be scary. I know you may think you don’t have what it takes to bring it to fruition. Put those fears out of your head and start. You may not have all you need to bring it to fruition right now, but take it as far as you can and see what happens. You may need to bring someone else on board to help you at some point, and it will be much easier to get them on board if you’ve already got something to show, so start.

What if you pick the wrong project? That could happen, but you’ll never know until you start. At the very least you’ll learn what doesn’t work. START. What if people don’t like it? Find the ones who do and sell it to them. What if I get a whole lot of resources into it before it fails? Make your first steps low risk, high reward steps, sketches and drawings cost nothing but time. Start, do what you can and consult people who can tell you what steps or improvements to make.

You’ll never finish, you’ll never succeed if you don’t start.

Today is Memorial Day. It’s the unofficial start of Summer, but please remember this day has a deeper meaning. It’s a day to remember people who have paid a high price for this life the rest of us get to live. It’s okay to enjoy the day, just remember what it means. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He was talking about himself, but in some ways, I think this is transferrable. Thanks to all those military and otherwise who laid down their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.


Here’s the last one. Look for the book. I have about 100 pages to go.

Here’s the next one. Have at it.

Okay this week has been hectic and I got behind, AGAIN. So here’s what I’ve decided to do. I am going to share pages from my upcoming book, The Daily Creative, one each day.
Here’s today’s.

Today is Ascension day. It’s the day we commemorate the ascension of Jesus. This is a day of tremendous hope, because just as Jesus ascended into heaven, one day so shall all who believe. Jesus was crucified, died and was buried, but on the third day he rose again and over the course of the next 40 days, He appeared to His disciples and to hundreds of others, proving He is risen. At the end of those 40 days, Jesus was with his disciples on a mountain top and then they watched Him ascend to the sky.

It appears that His disciples stood there sort of bewildered looking up into the sky. Acts 1:9-11 records the account. “After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

In all the days since, we have been awaiting His return, and the question of the angels still remains. “Why are you standing here staring into heaven?” This was never Jesus, desire for His church. Rather we should be doing the last thing Jesus told his disciples (that’s what we are church!) That they should wait for the Holy Spirit and then they would be His witnesses… to Jerusalem, and Judea and to Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Well friends, the Spirit has come and it’s time to be witnesses.

Jesus is ascended, the Spirit has come. Take the Gospel to the ends of the earth!

So your blocked, you’re stuck, the ideas just aren’t flowing. You want to create, maybe you need to create, but you just don’t know what to create. There’s a deadline looming and there’s just no idea, or maybe you just have some rare free time to create and no idea presents itself. What do you do?

Well let’s take a cue from our musician friends. Let’s start jamming. If you’ve ever hung out with a band, you know there is that time when they’re all trying to tune up and get ready to go. In the days before electronic tuners it was especially bad, a cacophony of different sounds as disparate instruments all try to get their sounds just right. It can be maddening but then something magical happens. Someone gets their sound right and decides to test it out by playing a riff they often just made up on the spot. Someone else likes it and goes along for the ride. Before long the other instruments pick it up and start to improvise and before long a song is born. It’s called jamming and I am sure that multitudes of great songs were written in this way.

How can you apply this to what you do? Well that depends on your discipline. Writers will often free-write. They just begin “riffing”—writing down whatever comes to mind until it eventually begins to coalesce into something useful and then they build on that. Similarly visual artists can start by doodling. The idea is to put off the pressures and the concerns—to clear your mind and just start making something, anything, to shake off the blockage.

You might even want to take the band approach, get a few of your fellow creatives together, start something and pass it on. This kind of group jam very closely mimics what happens in a band jam. As each person adds on, something useful will often emerge and even if it doesn’t, there is a good chance that the act of creating will break your creative block.

Next time you’re blocked, try jamming.

A long time ago I came up with the idea for a book called The Elephant Cookbook. Ironically, based on the topic, I never finished it. I came up with a format that was clunky and a cute way of presenting the material that I just couldn’t quite make work. It’s still in my idea file and I pray that it can come together one day, but I had other projects that were ready to go and succeed so I changed my focus to bring them to life.

The idea behind The Elephant Cookbook was based on the idea of working on multiple deadlines, constant pressure and a to do list that seems like it will never get done. The title was conceived from the old joke, “How to you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

I’ve been there often. There is so much work to be done and you don’t know how you’ll ever accomplish it all. It all gets very daunting and if you look at it as a huge pile, the discouragement can become crippling. But what would happen if you ate that elephant one bite at a time, i.e. What if you broke the project down into small manageable steps and then set about to check each of those steps off your list one at a time. All of the sudden, each step accomplished feels like a victory and the more you check off the better you feel until all that’s left of that “elephant” are the bones.

Breaking things down into manageable steps is often the best way to reach your dreams and accomplish your goals. Now I just need to work out the bugs in The Elephant Cookbook. Oh and by the way it is okay to put a stuck project aside. Just don’t make a habit of starting without finishing. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Most of the time, you just need to take another bite and keep chewing.

One last thing, don’t leave God out of this process. He has come through for me when I was in over my head so many times it’s not even funny.

I’m pleased to announce that I am starting on working toward my Master of Divinity degree today with a concentration in Creative Ministry from Kingdom Bible College and Seminary. I’m looking forward to all this learning and hopefully the way it will stretch me creatively moving forward. Stay tuned.