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Creativity is Not a Magic Act

There are times I consider creativity a lot like magic. Perhaps it’s my secret desire to be a magician, sometimes I imagine my art like this: I’m wearing a cape and top hat. I put my hat on a table, grab my wand, and fish around in the hat until I produce a rabbit. Voila! I’ve created something from thin air!

It’s romantic to think of creativity like that. Magic. But it also puts a whole lot of pressure on you when you feel creatively blocked. When you reach into the hat and don’t feel bunny ears, it can induce panic. “Oh no! What if I can’t make a rabbit happen this time?!”

But if you approach creativity like that, you probably aren’t actually pulling a rabbit out of your hat. You’re more likely pulling it from your butt. That’s accidental creativity. And that’s not how it works.

It’s more like a puzzle. Instead of creating a rabbit out of thin air, you’re assembling different pieces to create a rabbit. The materials are all there. It just takes your manipulating and re-arranging the pieces. It takes your making unique connections – from your unique perspective.

And the coolest part is, once you’ve successfully assembled the rabbit, it comes to life on its own. When you craft something good and unique, its heart starts beating and it becomes something greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not just flesh, bone, and fur. It’s life. We put our life, our blood, our sweat into our work and it becomes something magical on its own.

It’s not conjuring. It’s creating. And it’s not all that hard. It just takes work and you pouring yourself into it. You transfer your life to your work and it becomes beautiful.

So take the pressure off. Relax. Remove your top hat and cape. Get your hands dirty. It’ll come to life when it’s right.

[Photo Credit]

2 Comments

  • Barry Armstrong Says

    I do have to admit, I love those serendipidous times (magical times?) when a project practically comes together on its own, But I also love your phrasing “You transfer your life to your work and it becomes beautiful.” Isn’t that what God did with us? He breathed His life in us, and called it “good.” You really can’t go wrong when you follow the example of The Creator! As we let His life flow through us, it will also flow into whatever our hands find to do. Good post, Jonathan.

  • Barry Armstrong Says

    I do have to admit, I love those serendipidous times (magical times?) when a project practically comes together on its own, But I also love your phrasing “You transfer your life to your work and it becomes beautiful.” Isn’t that what God did with us? He breathed His life in us, and called it “good.” You really can’t go wrong when you follow the example of The Creator! As we let His life flow through us, it will also flow into whatever our hands find to do. Good post, Jonathan.

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