I’ve been in a creative drought for a while. Last Spring, I diverted my creative energies towards PLGRM and hopped off the blogging bandwagon for a while.
In some ways this has been detrimental to my creative output.
Creativity is like a muscle: if you use it, it will stay strong; if not, it will wither.
While the process of conceiving of and publishing PLGRM has been wonderful, the result is that I have neglected my own process of writing. I’ve lost a bit of my edge.
In other ways, this has strengthened my creativity.
Parameters are vital to artists. Yes, we revere those who break boundaries and do new things, but when you examine those artists you find that they were working within a set of parameters all along. It may have been a deadline. It may have been a form. It may have been the reception that they assumed they would receive. But, in every case, they were not running hog wild. They were creating within a set of boundaries.
My creative drought has served this function for me. It has forced me to ask some very tough questions about what I assume my role in the world to be, and how best to live into that role. Because “my job is getting in the way of my hobbies” I’ve been forced to pare down and whittle away, and discern how best to use the small set of talents and passions God has given me.
As Church People, we all are forced to wrestle with the fact that we work and create within a set of boundaries. We are not free to do just any old thing we want.
But this has always been the path to innovation. Innovative work is always “adjacent possible” work. Take what you’ve got and make a small move in the direction you’ve been called.
My best childhood friend told me once, “The essence of creativity is limitation.” I’ve been wrestling with that ever sense. But I’ve come to realize that he was right.
On a different note I an relate to the dry spell. My dissertation did it to me. It’s been a year and a half and I can feel my energies just now starting to recongeal.