School assignments, soul explosions, dark nights of the soul. These are common motivators for artists and creatives – you and I – to practice the pursuit of our craft.
While deadlines and emotion force us to discover our artistic expression, we must move past both of these motivators if we are to become skilled, mature creatives.
Think of the season where you grew the most in your craft. Maybe you had an art teacher who pushed you, an editor who covered your paper in red ink then told you they enjoyed your writing. Whatever the circumstance, how can we create a “growing season” for ourselves without external forces?
I would like to suggest three important factors:
#1. Commitment of Time
You start by showing up. And then showing up again, the same time every week thereafter. When we put the time in – and focus on improving – growth in skill is sure to follow.
Whether or not we receive input from others is a debatable need. The gap between our ability and our ambitions, as described by Ira Glass, is a high enough standard for most of us to keep working.
#2. Commitment to the Project
So what if you don’t have the resources to launch; you can still work with what you have, right?
While committing my time to the craft has developed my skill, committing to a project has, by far, grown my confidence in that skill the most. Especially when the project is on a self-scheduled timeline that one must fight to honor.
All of this is superfluous, however, without a greater commitment:
# 3. Commitment to Transformation
The human soul is desperate for meaning, insatiably thirsty for significance. And yet, what is the value of significance without permanence in eternity?
Significance with permanence is a reward offered only to the Christian Artist.
When artistic output overflows from our lives and influences souls in the realm of the eternal … ahhh, this is our everlasting reward, my friend.
It is not the cheering crowds, the adoring fans, the commissions, the sales, the measureable tweets & shares, or even the occasional testimony, no. These are only indicators of what God is doing beneath tents of skin, within the delicate chamber of the human heart.
Sound doesn’t echo there.
Our commitment to our art, our craftsmanship of soul expression, must be devoted to fighting for hidden transformation. For this is the treasure only all eternity will see.