Lately, the words have been harder to come by. So many times I’ve showed up at my computer, cursor blinking, and sat staring with a hollow mind. The words used to come fast. I could knock out a blog post in under an hour. Writing wasn’t the problem, finding the time to write all that I wanted to write was the problem.
Writing was easier before I was a “writer.” I was a pastor with a blog. Not a popular blogger. Not an author. Sure, I was writing, but I sure as hell wasn’t a writer. A writer knows how to use a semi-colon and, let’s be honest, those are more mystifying to me than the question of predestination. No, I was a guy with some thoughts and an internet connection. Not a writer.
Then I wrote a book and became a writer.
Have you noticed that success can sometimes be your worst enemy? When no one is noticing you, it’s easy to go about your business. It seems like it is easiest to do your best work when no one is looking, but the moment you get noticed, the moment people begin paying attention, there’s a new pressure. I think this is true whether we are talking about writing, painting, starting business, or teaching. Success changes how we approach what we love to do. There’s an expectation to keep doing what you’ve been doing, but with a new intensity. A greater consistency. Along the line something shifts, a subconscious transition that morphs the desire to create into the burden to produce.
Producing is very different than creating. Creativity is an act with intrinsic value and joy. Producing is an act that has value only because someone else has deemed what you produced has value. You don’t produce simply for the love of producing. You produce to sell. To market. To get shares. To gain follows and grow a platform. You don’t create for those reasons. God didn’t create the world to gain a world that would worship him. God created because he loves. God created because he is the Creator. And we, created in the image of the Creator, are to create for the simple joy of the act of making something new.
We are not producers, you and I. We are not what we produce. We are not even what we create. I get caught up in believing that lie. In my head, I know that I am not the crossed off items on my to-do list, but damn if I don’t feel better about myself when I’m crossing things off the list. In my head, I know I don’t have to produce to be worthy of love, but man I feel anxious when I haven’t published something in a while. I know sabbath rest is good for me, but it just makes me feel like I’m lazy. Somewhere along the way I became a producer, with my worth and my value tangled up in the value of a product.
A producer finds their identity in what they produce. They find their value in the value of their product. Which is horrible to think about since a product’s value is based on the demands of a fickle market. Think about letting your identity be determined by the same people who made the Snuggie popular. No thank you.
We are not producers.
We are creators.
As creators our identity is not in what we create or in people’s appreciation of what we create. No, we are simply creators because we are made in the image of the Creator.
So today, show up. Do what brings you joy. Do you love to write? Write. Love to cook? Cook. Do you love to figure out marketing strategies for your business? Then do it with joy. Do you love to teach? Then show up as a creator.
Whatever you do today, enter into the full joy of doing that thing for the sheer joy of doing it.