Creating is a process. It comes with ebbs and flows or feelings and surges or energy. It can enlighten and inspire you and also push you into dark places of self-doubt and unbelief. We were created to create! Just like our Maker, we were all made to shine from within us and create outwardly that which is in us.
But there are so many things no one ever tells you about being an artist, illustrator, writer or person in a creative career. And lately, so many of you have been reaching out with questions on having a creative business, making products, and bringing ideas to life.
So here it is! The Fear, Faith & Freelance blog series! This series will be a place for me to share stories, tips, and experience through which I have learned over the years. My hope is that I can at some point share even more in a book or short video series, but for now I will write a couple times a month on topics that I am commonly asked. If you have an idea or would like to see something discussed please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know!
1) Start a daily practice, but do it as worship.
Keep a sketchbook.
You have probably heard before that keeping a sketchbook or having a daily practice is the best way to making more and creating more! That’s true. I would say that the more I create, the more it inspires me to create. It also works as a daily warm up. But I can’t sit here and say I have a daily practice - weekly is more like it! I try to create often and some days get ahead of me but as long as its consistent - it helps!
Do it as worship.
Often its difficult for us to take the time to make something or create just for the fact that we have the ability to do it! When is the last time you used your creative gifts with absolutely no expectations of them? Having a hard time remembering?
That’s okay, it happens to the best of us. My tip that has helped me more times than I can count is doing it as an act of worship to God. Doing it as worship to my Creator who created me really revives me and the things I am creating. When I first started Spoonful of Faith, there were a lot of pages of sketches and hand-lettering that were just between me and God. I’d turn on music that made me at peace, and I’d think of God’s goodness and just draw.
There’s something really special about that - no strings attached - type of work. And it never is wasted. It helps build your skill, keeps the pressure off, and is used as a way to offer your gift to God. I’d call it a win!
2) Think about the message that's inside of you to share.
When you have began making progress with step 1, you will have a great start on a pile of work you may some day use! :) But, why are you making it? What is the message you are trying to share with it?
If you think back to God, the master Creator, He always makes each thing with intention. That’s the same way we should approach our work. Maybe you’re making simply because you can and you want to honor God! That’s honestly one of the best reasons. For me, I began creating to use the gifts God has given me. Overtime of just being faithful in practicing, I knew that my artistic voice was important and needed to be shared. I wasn’t seeing a lot of people like me in the field. It felt absolutely lonely and terrifying stepping out into this unknown space. But the more I focused on step #1 (creating as worship), the message of my work got stronger. Then it became very clear to me that women, motherhood, diversity, and faith through hard things were messages I had always had inside of me that came out onto the paper.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:
Is there any specific message that keeps coming to mind as you make, write, paint?
As you look at your work, are their certain images, sayings, words that you are thinking of or dwelling on as you put pen to paper (paint to canvas, sew, bake, etc)?
Is there anyone you hope to help by your writing, making, painting? What message would you share with them?
If you unsure how to answer these - be confident that God will reveal it to you. As you create and operate in your God-given gifts, they will make room for you. God will show you how, where, and who to share them with. Believe that He has a plan for them, take your expectations off, and see what unfolds.
Which brings me to the next point…
3) Use what you have.
I am thankful today that I have learned so much along the way of running a creative business but there was much I didn’t know and didn’t have when starting out. It was always easy for me to be pretty scrappy when it came to starting new things because I am the middle child of 7, and me and my siblings were a crew of DIYers before it was cool. Anything that I didn’t have growing up, I’d just find a way to make it or create a substitute. I never allowed limits to have a hold on me. I learned through that, that everything starts out in a beginner phase, its not going to be perfect at the start.
You are enough right now.
You have enough to start right now.
Using the ability you have with the resources you are holding is more important than buying that new fancy tech product that you don’t even know how to work. Being faithful with the little bit you have to start with, will prepare you to be faithful when its grown to much more. Do not despise small beginnings. They are the breeding ground for growing character, establishing faith and consistency, and so much more!
I have met many people that believe they aren’t creative, they weren’t meant to share things within them, or that just don’t believe what they have to offer is important at all. Often it is because we do not want to think that highly of ourselves when it comes to these things - but what I have learned is that hiding the gifts and talents that God has gifted to you - isn’t really any better.
He believes you are valuable and every gift He placed within you - He values. He values it and gave it to you with intention. Allowing His light to shine through through them and not hiding them is necessary and powerful to us and the world around us. The world needs His light. We need His light.
Sharing does not have to equal monetary gain. I think this is sometimes where we get hung up. We try to turn every passion, idea, talent, gift into a side hustle or business. By doing it as worship, allowing God to show you the message in your work - the gift will grow and open opportunities for you to share it. Maybe with a loved one, a friend, a mentee, and so on. Taking your own expectations off of it, and just sharing it as you are led - will be so much more inspiring to your life.
Some of my most special moments were never in operating a successful business - but in the still, quiet, unspoken spaces - when creating artwork for a friend who’s grieving, a mother who longs to see images of her children she is missing, or lettering scripture for a family member to encourage them. Sharing for me has been more about allowing my gift to be a reminder of God’s love for us.
Let us use our gifts.
Finally, Romans 12:6-8 says it beautifully - let us use our gifts.
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
I hope this could be an encouragement to you on your journey! Please leave a comment or feel free to write me and share your thoughts or what you have learned in this area. I do not know everything and so I hope this can help in some way, but truthfully it is up to you to work through this with Jesus!