If you’re a creative, chances are no one really believes you work that hard.
One of the unwritten rules of ministry is that it’s cool to pick on creative people. You, with all your ideas and your outside the box thinking and your cold brew coffee and indie music. Get back to work.
From the outside in, it must seem nice to make movies all day. Must be nice to live in the world of ideas and feelings. Must be fun to get inspired and make creative dreams come true. Right?
No matter how much fun creative work appears to be, the reality is that it’s mostly just a ton of work. It’s long hours in front of a screen, trying something, deleting it, trying something else, tweaking it again. It’s caffeine and nerves with miles to go before you sleep. It’s uncertainty and insecurity, wondering if you’re really getting anywhere on this thing, feeling like you’re missing out on stuff you enjoy.
If you care deeply about the work you do, then creative work is like any other work. You love it, but it’s never easy.
Whit George is one of my favorite communicators on the creative process. He was the Arts Director at Church on the Move for years and he said something that rang true.
“What people don’t get is this – there’s no magic behind the magic. Creative work is thousands of small decisions in a row. It’s not glamorous. It’s not sexy. You just have to show up and put in the time to get it done.”
We usually learn this the hard way. We live in a culture that values talent and giftedness more than discipline and process. We like to be wowed by creative genius. But the fact is that making something look easy is usually very difficult and takes a lot of time.
If you’re a storyteller, most people won’t get how hard it is to do good work. They won’t see the endless hours you spend planning and shooting and editing. The long walks around the block when you get stuck. The nights you toss and turn because you haven’t figured out the idea yet.
But the work you do is seen and known by the God who created you. In fact, He’s a God who is very familiar with creativity and no stranger to hardship. He made you. He gets you. He knows this is hard. And when you allow God into your creative process, listen for His voice and take His cues, He will start to lift your head.
I’ve found that God walks right into my most difficult, lonely moments and joins me in them. There are plenty of those moments when you do creative work. It comes with the territory. But God knows the way out of the fog you’ve wandered into, and He can walk you out of it.
So grab some coffee, get back to your edit, and don’t take crap from people who don’t get you. Put in the time and do the hard work that's been set before you. It has the potential to impact people in ways only God knows.
P.S. - Sometimes it's healing to make fun of creatives, especially when we deserve it. Since we're taking inspiration from Whit George and Church on the Move, it's only fitting to show their amazing tribute to artists. Enjoy. :-)