As a creative I often feel almost panicked to produce what is expected of me. It can be terribly lonely. I constantly search for other creatives to learn from or connect with. And then I found Blaine Hogan.
I first met Blaine in a programming meeting at WillowCreek that I attended with Nancy Beach.
Blaine and I bantered back and forth and I was immediately fascinated by his sharp mind and creative perspective; a unique and gifted leader without doubt.
His book “Untitled” had me at the title…or lack thereof.
His frank discussion of his personal struggle to tell his story was something I immediately connected with.
The spiritual longing that drew him away from full time acting (Prison Break tv show) and ultimately to the local church was nothing short of God’s calling to become a great leader to all of us. I take Blaine’s calling very personally and benefit from his obedience.
In chapter 1 Blaine challenges us to ‘write something everyday on the blank page.’ He gives practical suggestions that help creatives produce work that only they are gifted to do.
He goes on to discuss the fact that “no one cares about our ideas – they only care if we can execute the vision.” This statement screams with truth! The ability as a creative to complete the concept is what makes one gifted in that way so vitally important!
I love his discussion about the messy creative process. He said, “I’m starting to breathe while I’m ‘doing the things’.” Creating can and will be exhausting, and we should choose the prospective of being excited about the creative opportunity and hopeful about our projects! How encouraging this is!
One of the quotes Blaine used, “Products have to have an eternal significance for producers beyond the purely instrumental utility,” caused me to realize why I feel so strongly about what I create. The disappointments related to the perceived failure of any of my projects hurt more deeply than anything in my life. He helped me realize why artists work as if eternity is at stake. Blaine reminds us our art is not just what we make, but also how we make it.
Perhaps the most encouraging portion of the book to me personally was Blaine’s description of how overwhelmed he often feels by all the “temporal junk” that floods him daily. I thought I was the only one who spends much of my life feeling the only thing I am really good at is mediocrity. He advices that we all need to consider ‘sitting’ more and that it will make us better personally, to our families and friends, as well as better artists. “To see well the artist must have slow steady eyes.”
I highly recommend “Untitled” to anyone who considers himself /herself creative, or leads any of the creative service element responsibilities in the local church.
Creativity may be the very thing that God uses to open lost eyes to see just a glimpse of eternity with the Lord… Create bravely!
Lori Biddle is the Director of Programming at Crossroads Community Church in Mansfield, Ohio.