Posts Tagged ‘mok’

One of the creative lies a lot of people believe is that they’re just not disciplined enough to do what they need to do. I don’t believe this is correct. Oh I have no doubt they may struggle to get things done, but I doubt it’s because they lack discipline. They have discipline. I bet they meet deadlines at work. I bet they pay their bills on time. I bet the things that are genuinely important to them get done on time. It’s not really a matter of discipline, but rather one of priority. If you’re one of these people, I’m not trying to beat you up here. I thoroughly understand how life happens and how sometimes our creative projects get forced to the back burner. If that’s you, this is not a beating. My purpose in writing this is to eliminate false creative beliefs and lack of discipline is often if not usually one of those.

So let’s start there. If you’re not blessed to make your living from your creativity, there will be times when the necessities of life squeeze out your time to create. This is probably not a lack of discipline. You’re doing what must be done and your creation can’t be priority one right now. It’s okay. Just try to find some time and work it in as often as you can. Break the project down into small, but meaningful steps and chip away at it until its done. Yes this may make for a long drawn out creative process, but claim the small victories in each step being completed and enjoy the journey. That in itself is discipline. I feel the need to do a little aside here. Remember, you need to rest, your creativity and your health will suffer if you don’t. Also remember family time matters. Don’t push the people you love to the back burner to reach your goals. After all, it’s supposed to be them, at least in part, that you’re doing this for.

But let’s suppose that’s not the case, you have the time, you just don’t feel like doing it. I have a couple of questions you need to answer:

1. Why don’t you want to accomplish this goal?
At the end of the day we do what we want to do. So if you’re not finishing it, maybe it’s not your dream or your goal. If this is the case, it may be time to reassess your priorities and passions and lay it aside in favor of something you’ll want to actually finish. Now if you’re saying, “…but I do want to finish my project I do want to accomplish this goal.” then we’ll need to look at the remaining questions.
2. Have you lost passion for it?
Maybe this project really fired your imagination in the beginning, but as time has worn on, you just aren’t into it anymore. Maybe conditions have changed. Maybe you got so far and realized it will never work. Whatever the reason, maybe it’s time to can the project and move on. I can’t answer this for you, but I will say this. If this is a pattern for you, finish that project before moving on.
3. Is it more difficult than you thought?
In our society, people seem to be drawn to things that are easy and things that become difficult are often easy to ditch. Let me try to discourage you from ditching. If it was easy everyone would create what you’re creating. The ones who stick with it and finish are the ones who generally succeed. The rest kick themselves when someone else succeeds at what they gave up. Don’t give up. Enlist help, collaborate, find a few people who believe in your dream and get them to help you.
4. Are you stuck?
Sometimes even the best creatives get stuck. They take the project as far as they can and there comes a point where they can’t move it any further. They’re stuck. If you get to this point, there are ways around it. As mentioned earlier, if this is a creative block, start another project. This is different from giving up in that, this project is what you work on when you get stuck on your primary project. The reason for this is really simple. We often get stuck because we’ve been on something too long. So long that we can’t see our way around the problems anymore. Jumping to a second project when this happens will allow you to think on something else for a while which will generally serve to unblock your mind.
I have a lot more to say on this… tune in tomorrow.

A few days ago, I had an assignment for my class over at Manuel Luz was teaching on beauty and transcendence. It was a beautiful lesson. As part of the assignment, Manuel asked us to go out for a walk and to seek God and write about our observations. Here is what I came up with:

“My walk today was unique. I am in the midst of a speaking/painting “tour” in Florida. A few things fell through leaving me with two open days in my schedule. I decided to approach a church camp to see if I might spend the days there on a working retreat of sorts and they readily agreed. My walk today was on the grounds of the camp, specifically down to the lake. Walking along, I see geckos scurrying from place to place as Spanish moss hangs gracefully on ancient trees. The air is aromatic with the scents of early spring. Of course in Florida, it’s pretty much always Spring and Summer. So many things hit me. It’s still pretty cold back home, here it’s probably about 80 degrees and sunny. The lake is beautiful. Many large water lilies cover the water near the shore. when a slight breeze picks up the lilies roll over exposing their red-brown underside which makers for a very curious effect.

At first upon reaching the lake, I see very little in the way of wild life. At first I thought I saw a soft shelled turtle, but it may have been a dead lily pad leaf (it was a little too far away), which got me thinking about the amazing way God made His creation. The soft shell turtle can hide in plain sight because his shell looks like a dead leaf among a multitude of leaves. I had sort of hoped to see an alligator, not a big one, but then I thought it is probably better that there are no gators at a church camp. I walked out onto the fishing pier just in time to see a flock of seven coots swimming around. Coots are a beautiful jet black duck with a bright white bill. They are a diving duck, meaning that they can fully submerge themselves when they dive in search of food. Fascinating creatures. All of the sudden they scattered for the weeds at the shore, and I looked up just in time to see a large hawk, or perhaps an immature eagle flying overhead. The coots got to cover in time and the giant bird glided gracefully away. The circle of life was illustrated in sharp detail.
I saw something bright orange near the surface of the water, I thought perhaps it might be a beautiful flower, but alas it was the feathers of an errant arrow that no doubt escaped the archery range. Of course the most interesting things in the water are usually found beneath. I looked through the clear water and there before me swam a HUGE carp. Around him were a multitude of smaller fish. One might think this was yet another circle of life incident, but the carp holds no danger to the young fish. Nature’s janitor of the deep, the carp cleans the bottom and exists on a vegetarian diet. Despite his huge size, he is not the least bit predatory.

What was God saying to me in this time? Little treasures are everywhere, if I will take the time to slow down and notice. His creations live and breath, which allows me to remember to keep things in perspective and maybe not take myself quite so seriously. Lastly God has everything under control. The predators limit the prey. The prey have protections from the predators. He even created creatures to clean up the mess and all are important. The predators would starve without the prey but starvation would also come for the prey without the predators because without population limits there would not be enough food for all the prey animals. The “janitorial” animals sustain the environment so that all can live. There may be a top and a bottom of the food chain, but they all balance each other out and they are all interdependent kind of like our human existence and even in the church. Everyone is important, everyone has a role to play. Beyond all that I think God was trying to show me that He has it all under control and what I really need to do is play my part and trust Him.”