The Creative Process: gives meaning

February 7, 2014 Writing  No comments

 The Creative Process series is my way of trying to understand how creative people create.

The encounter of the artist with their inner world might be the core of the creative process. But why do we do it? What is the whole point of the confrontation, the struggle, the futility of realizing an abstract idea into a concrete form?

The point is simply that creating gives us meaning.

To give something meaning is to have significance or have a worthwhile, important quality.

Creating gives personal meaning and identity. It helps us as people understand our purpose and what we’re here for. For artists, the actual act of creating is our purpose. We exist to live and to live is to create.

Everyday when I engage in writing, I have a purpose. If I do nothing else besides get that story down on paper to share with others, than my life means something, my life is important. If I wasn’t writing, I honestly do not know what the meaning of my life would be. Maybe my meaning would be to be a good wife or friend or volunteer, but those all seem inadequate, incomplete snippets of who I essentially am. All of those roles do not grasp the stuff I’m made out of – but writing, creating, that’s enough to get me out of bed in the morning ready and excited to tackle the days challenges.

Psychologist Rollo May believes that “anxiety comes from not being able to know the world you’re in, not being able to orient yourself in your own existence” (The Courage to Create). People create in order to orient themselves to their own world and to understand it. You can’t have meaning without understanding.

But not only does creating give us personal meaning, it gives life meaning.

“Not only for our personal lives, but for our culture, we can offer a spiritual perspective. Artistic work is spiritual, a personal meditation that provides food for the souls of others. Creative work connects us to what is fundamental and enduring and eternal,” (The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People).

When we create something lasting, when we shed some light on some truth not only for now, but for generations to come, we are doing something important.

Artists take a part in forming the world. When art or music or dance or the written word touches someone’s life, when it shares insight, when it spreads beauty and joy and awareness, when it raptures someones attention or engages someone’s sense’s, when art makes someone’s life better – it is important. When amidst the busy schedules and crappy jobs and horrible things that happen, art reminds someone that they are worthy, that life is worth living because there are still good things to experience – like love, the salty sea air on your face, the rush of going on a roller coaster – it is significant.

Art makes us feel alive. Art is an expression of what it is to be human.

I’ll leave you with this moving quote from the great John Keating (Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society):

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 2.13.52 PM

I’m super excited to announce that next week’s post will be an interview with my friend and artist, Anthony Brass, and what his creative process looks like! Check out some of his work here.

Until next time, farewell, and may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity.


photo cred: Kyujiko

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