It wasn’t long ago that I was navigating through each day looking to satisfy a burning question in the back of my mind; What life-changing idea can I dream up today? I thought if I could just produce that one BIG idea, I’d be content. What I ran into, however, was an enormous backburner of ideas, little to show for them, and minimal fulfillment. It wasn’t until God used the combined experiences of STORY conference and the ‘CREATE: Make Things’ event to spur a shift in my thinking and a change in my behavior.
It’s possible to crank out creative content on a regular basis, yet still be creatively unfulfilled. Actor Tony Hale gave the keynote speech at STORY which centered on valuing where you are now and not putting so much weight in your “next big thing”. He made the statement, "If you’re not practicing contentment where you are, you’re not going to be content when you arrive."
As creatives, it’s sometimes easy to bounce hurriedly from one project to the next without truly enjoying the process. What if we started being more involved in the present by soaking up the therapeutic value in simply being creative?
Inspiration feels good.
New ideas feel good.
Sometimes it’s easier to attend conferences, read books, and peruse others’ creativity rather than actually creating something ourselves (or seeing projects through to completion).
At the ‘CREATE: Make Things’ event in January, Kyle Scheele encouraged us to simply “just start creating stuff” rather than waiting for the perfect idea to come along. I needed this. My mind was frozen in cloud of inspired inaction. Therefore I had to beat my inspiration addiction into submission and started creating.
Additionally, I felt I needed to change the reason that I create. So I moved my aspirations aside and set out to use my creativity to be the best man, father, and husband I could be. I woke up each morning asking God, How do you want me to use my creativity today? How can I use it to bless you, enhance my relationships, and foster happiness? As a result, I started spending more time making fun things for my boys and creating cheesy declarations of love for my wife. I conjured up entertainment for a friend to commemorate her grandmother’s 100th birthday bash and wrote a humorous modern day Romeo and Juliet skit for my wife’s English students as they studied Shakespeare.
Everything started with a change in thinking and then became about action. As I began pouring into others, my own creative self was fed. My journey transformed into a way of living and connecting as opposed to a search or an end product. It was through this process that I found creative freedom and fulfillment.
Mike Dyson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a contributor at the Toy & Action Figure Museum and the president of the Pauls Valley Arts Council. His most recent projects have been geared towards making cool things for his boys and wooing his wife with wonderment. Mike lives in Pauls Valley, OK with his wife, Tara, and his sons, Stryker and Asher.