This week we decided to do a chat about creativity. Our whole team has been in a songwriting season and we've been very intentional this year disciplining ourselves to write.
We brought in Chad Harris, a songwriter and worship leader at our Baker campus along with Zach Edmonds from our Livingston Parish campus to get their take on this topic.
Here's our conversation together:
Do you think only certain people are "creative"?
Chad: I think people are creative in different ways. We sometimes associate creativity with "artsy" people but creativity could be solving a problem at work. Seeing something from an angle that others don't see is creativity. Creativity can be problem-solving.
Zach: Because we are made in the image of God, we're all made to be creative. God made His beings to be creative.
Is creativity limited in any way?
Chad: No, we shouldn't have scarcity mentality when it comes to creativity. We don't have to fight for it when we feel threatened by the creativity of others.
Zach: As long as there are problems to solve there will be creativity. Although I do believe atmosphere can lend itself to creativity, so the culture and environment we're in can limit it in some ways.
Do you feel connected with God when you're creating? How?
Chad: My connection to God allows me to create. Only God was able to create something out of nothing. We can't create from nothing. We need the tools he gives us. So it's not my creativity that connects me to God, but it's God that connects me to creativity. When you're connected to the creator, he gives you the ability to create.
Zach: When we have the mind of Christ and when we understand our maker and who we are, we become limitless in what we can create.
Are there certain times when you feel more creative or times when you feel less creative?
Zach: You have to make time to be creative. The environment you're in makes you more or less creative. For example, when I'm sitting at my desk I don't feel creative, but when I'm in a musical space by myself I feel way more creative. Also, I often get ideas for songs in spiritual moments at church and in times of prayer.
Chad: I feel creative when my tank is full. A lot of times I will get creative ideas from reading books, and something will spark something in me and I'll "chase a rabbit" and develop that idea. So I'm not pulling it out of nowhere. Everyone has their own thing. You have to know what works for you. Taking in information works for me.
Do you think creativity is a gift? How so?
Chad: An original idea or thought is a gift, but God expects you to steward that. Writing a song is like a paleontologist digging in the dirt. You find the bone but you have to keep digging to find the whole dinosaur, and bringing other people with you in that process is key to make you dig deeper. In raw form creativity is a gift but then you have to fashion it.
How do you routinely exercise creativity in your own life? What rhythms do you have in place for creating?
Chad: Finish every bad idea. We all think our songs are terrible, and they might be. We lack confidence. But go ahead and finish it because a finished idea is better than an unfinished idea that is waiting for perfection. I write in 15 minute blocks and keep tally of how much time I spend writing.
How to Steward Your Creativity Well
If you feel stuck, uninspired and lacking creativity:
- Make yourself finish your bad ideas.
- Go somewhere new.
- Pick up a new instrument.
- Read books.
- Pray and read God's word.
If you're a songwriter just getting started:
- Learn an instrument.
- Find new ways of saying the same old things.
- Study some of the great writers of the past.
- Include other people in your process; they can help you get unstuck.
- Don't be insecure and scared to share what you're creating.