Creativity Calling: What If I Fail?
The hardest part about creating something is that moment when you share it with the world and the world… yawns.
One of the most important lessons I’ve had to learn as a writer is that no one cares about what I have to say. It’s true. Everyone has their own stuff going on. My time and your time is valuable, so I need to work hard at writing about issues that really matter.
Sometimes I fail. That is OK.
Failure is part of the creative process. Even if you feel that God has called you to create, you may fail sometimes.
Sometimes failure is a symptom of trying the wrong thing.
Sometimes you’ve created something beautiful, but you aren’t the best at marketing.
Sometimes you’ll only touch a few people, and that has to be your success.
The truth is that simply creating something valuable is the victory. If a few people can confirm that, you’ll have all of the validation you need. If you’re waiting for a huge group of people to recognize you, you’ll probably give up on your creative projects too soon.
Our culture is obsessed with numbers.
The bigger sales or the bigger church are used to denote the best.
I personally tune out anyone who is introduced as the pastor of a huge church as their primary accomplishment.
Perhaps that person is a great pastor. Maybe not.
Even sales aren’t the mark of a great writer.
Look at some of the bestselling books right now. Many of these books are grammatical abominations that violate all of the rules you’ll find in Writer’s Digest. These authors would be the water boys and water girls in most MFA programs.
I don’t want to be overdramatic here, but there’s always this to remember: Jesus did not attract the largest group of disciples. If you asked around most people, it’s quite likely that the majority of the people weren’t really interested. So even in the most important historical event, the coming of God to earth, there were plenty of rabbis who had larger audiences.
Big numbers only mean so much. They could mean that your work is exceptional. They could also mean that you’re savvy at marketing or giving people what they want.
Your job as a creative is to do the work, share it, and then learn what you can to improve. Talking about your work is part of the job. When you have a gift, you need to deliver it. However, if it’s not as well received as you hoped, you need to keep learning, practicing, and seeking advice.
Success is not guaranteed, but then again, who really can define what success actually is?
If you’ve been faithful to that nagging voice in the back of your head and embraced the gifts God has given you, that is enough. That is a holy step forward. The results will come over time as you practice and cultivate patience.
Sometimes creatives need to reassess and try something else. Sometimes they need to buckle down and press through disappointment and apparent failure. Either way, the goal is to find your creative calling and to faithfully develop it. That’s the goal.
Did you catch that?
Your goal today is to be faithful to the way God made you. Period.
Photo cc by Curt Fleenor Photography on Flickr.