Creativity Workshop

Kevin has spent over twenty years living at the intersection of creativity and faith. Working as a pastor, author, playwright, and composer, Kevin offers lessons learned in his workshop, titled, “Four Steps For Your Best Creative Life.”

Learning and applying these four steps will unlock your creative potential:

  • Connect Creativity and Calling

  • Identify Resistance

  • Do the Work

  • Surrender the Results

Kevin has presented his workshop to Christian Universities, Churches, Church Staffs, Theatre Groups, and Corporations.

To inquire about a workshop, contact Re:Create

Kevin’s workshop encouraged and inspired our students. He affirmed the inherent value of the creative act, facilitated genuine conversation, and created an atmosphere of trust with our students. He motivated our students to press into the creative call in their lives.
— Jeff Walker, Northwestern College, Professor of Theatre, Department Chair
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Interview with Dan Blank

If you are trying to live a creative life, you need to know Dan Blank. Dan is the founder of We Grow Media, where he helps creatives connect with their ideal audience. Dan also is the author of Be The Gateway, which offers practical advice for how to share your creative work and connect with an audience.

I asked Dan a number of questions about working with creatives and he answers them in this insightful and encouraging video interview. I found his thoughts incredibly helpful and hope they encourage you in your creative journey!

You can learn more about Dan at: www.wegrowmedia.com.

Identifying Your Creative Resistance

I started writing a musical last month.

I have written songs off and on for most of my life. Through a random set of circumstances, I had an opportunity to play a couple of songs from a rock opera I wrote a few years ago for a large musical theatre audience. A number of people talked to me afterwards, told me they loved the songs and the idea for the story, and encouraged me to turn it into a musical.

I came home energized and wrote a number of new songs over the last two weeks.

Then the predictable doubts starting flooding my mind.

Photo by James Fitzgerald on Unsplash

“What are you doing? You don’t know how to write a musical.”

“This is going to be yet another side project that turns into a huge waste of time.”

“Leave this work to the professionals. Stick to what you know how to do.”

These doubts seem to accompany almost every creative project I engage in, whether it be a writing project, a new ministry idea, or my weekly sermon. 

Author Steven Pressfield offers insight on where these doubts come from. He suggests that every time we attempt a creative act, a powerful force fights against us. He names this force “resistance” and calls it “the most toxic force on the planet.” Resistance conspires against us any and every time we attempt to create.

Recognizing the presence of resistance is half the battle. When you know that fighting through resistance is a part of the creative journey, you won’t be as surprised by it when it rears its head. If you expect resistance you won’t be quite as easily derailed by it.

Identifying your own personal brand of resistance is another important step. What are the ways resistance manifests itself in your life? If you know the strategy resistance attempts in your life, you will be more prepared for your creative battles.

Here is a quick list of the most common forms of resistance:

Self-Doubt. This form of resistance questions your talent, ability, and even self-worth. Almost every creative I know, even the uber-successful ones, struggle mightily with this particular form of resistance.  “You are any good at this,” “You don’t have what it takes,” or “You aren’t going to make a difference,” are all forms of resistance manifested as self-doubt.

Perfectionism. Sometimes, our worst enemy is our obsession to make it better. One author I know said there comes a time to resist the temptation to keep editing. I love the idea that done is better than perfect. “It isn’t good enough. Keep working,” whispers perfectionism.

Laziness. Sometimes, just plain old laziness keeps us from doing the creative work we are called to do. Creative work can be incredibly exhausting work, and it’s just easier to sit on the coach and watch Netflix. Or take a nap. Or do anything other than the work God created you to do. “I’ll get to it tomorrow” or “I’m too tired today” is the voice of laziness in our lives.

When you recognize that resistance is a normal part of the creative process, it helps you know how to battle it. Identifying your particular brand of resistance gives you even more ammunition in your battle to do the creative work God has called you to do.

How have you experienced resistance in your creative life?

Connecting Creativity With Calling

If you attempt to live a creative life, you will come face to face with one absolute inevitability: You will face significant obstacles in your creative journey.

Creating is not for the faint of heart. As I think back on my creative process as a writer, musician, and preacher, I can identify dozens of obstacles that threaten to derail my creative process.

Photo by Alice Achterhof on Unsplash

Self-Doubt make me question the value of my work: “You aren’t any good at this. This work isn’t going to impact anyone.”

The business of life always pushes my creative goals to the back burner: “You have too much going on. I will get to it tomorrow.”

My lack of routine keeps me from getting into a productive creative rhythm: “I’ll write that chapter when I find the time.” 

And plain old laziness always lurks just around the corner: “I’d rather watch Netflix tonight.” 

These obstacles, and so many others, constantly threaten to derail our creative progress. How do we overcome these obstacles so we might live the creative life God designed us to live?

One truth is helping me build significant traction in my desire to live a creative life: I have connected creativity with calling. 

Your creative acts, whatever your particular brand (writer, musician, entrepreneur, etc.), are not a hobby, a side gig, or a way to pass the time. You have to connect your creativity with calling to live with an accurate picture of what is at stake.

Your creative act is a calling to become fully human, to become who God created you to be. We are made in the image of a creative God. To fully live into that image, we have to be a people who create. Unless we live into that calling, we will not experience what it means to be fully human, fully alive.

Your creative act is also a calling for the sake of the world. You have to believe that every time you create something, whether it is a song, blog post, ANYTHING really, you are putting something out into the world that will impact someone’s life. The scope of that impact isn’t really up to you, it might be ten people, it might be hundreds of people. Your job is to be faithful to the creative act and to believe that your work will send a ripple out into the world. A ripple that absolutely will impact someone’s life.

If you find yourself giving into obstacles in your creative battle, I have found no better truth than this idea of connecting creativity with calling. Making that connection in your life just might be the most powerful aid in your creative journey.

The Power of Contagious Creativity

We face so many obstacles that keep us from living a creative life. Although many of us have a deep desire to realize our creative calling, that calling can get lost in our day to day lives. We need some disciplines and tools to help us fully enter into the creative life God calls us to live.

I was reminded of one such tool last week. I spent three days speaking at the national Christian Youth Theatre Conference. Being with the CYT Community filled me with energy, life, and joy in ways that I never would have imagined. I absolutely love this community and the work they are doing.

Spending three days with them taught me about the power of contagious creativity.

Photo by  Rosie Fraser  on  Unsplash

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash

I learned that when you surround yourself with other creatives, your own creative energy gets an enormous boost. All week long, I watched CYT students courageously present Improv, develop their craft in workshops, and perform musical theatre songs with great passion. Being around these people and watching them create birthed something in my soul.

I felt more creative energy than I’ve felt in a long time. I left the conference with a new sense of inspiration and passion to lean into the creative calling that God has placed on my life. Apparently, if you want to live a creative life, you should surround yourself with other creatives. When that happens, sparks fly.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” That was exactly what I experienced hanging out with the CYT community. From the inspired leadership team, all the way down to the younger students, I felt myself sharpened, challenged, and inspired by their creativity. Creativity lived out in another person’s life sharpens the creativity God has placed in mine.

If you want to live a creative life, you have to surround yourself with other creative people. You have to watch other people create, and allow their creative energy to inspire you. I’m dreaming about launching a local expression of this in Kansas City. Maybe a monthly gathering of creative types who want to gather together to encourage each other and talk about how to live a creative life.

If you want to live a creative life, one of the most impactful steps you can take is to establish a discipline of surrounding yourself with other creatives. It will fuel you in your creative journey like nothing else will.

What are some environments where you have experienced this “contagious creativity?”

Created to Create

I have a friend, named John, who started writing poetry at the age of 48. He always wanted to write poems, ever since he was a little kid, but something kept him from taking the risk and putting words on paper.

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When he finally made the decision to start writing, he fell in love with it. Writing poems filled him with joy and increased his ability to see beauty in the world. He had been going through a season of depression for a couple of years, and this creative act lifted the darkness just a little bit.

One day, on a walk with a friend, he shared with him that he had been writing poetry. John asked if he could read him a couple of his poems.  His friend said he would love to hear them.

When John finished reading them, his friend looked at him right in the eyes and told him this:

“John,” he said, “As you were reading those poems, you were more fully alive in that moment than I’ve seen you in a long, long time.”

John’s friend told me that everything about John’s countenance changed as he read his poetry.  The way he walked was different, from shuffling his feet to walking with intention and purpose.  He went from slumping his shoulders to standing more upright. Even his face transformed from looking sad and depressed to having life in his eyes.  Everything about John changed in this moment that he shared his creative act. 

This story captures the heart of Re:Create. I believe that God created us to create.  That being made in the image of a creative God means that we must create to live fully human lives. That when we create, something powerful and transformative happens deep in our souls.

In my life, the moments I have given myself to the creative act have been the moments I’ve been most fully alive, present to the moment, and full of joy. I remember one time playing drums in a band during a live show. I felt such a powerful sense of presence and joy that I thought to myself, “this is what LIFE is supposed to feel like.” 

God extends to you today an invitation to create. To take a risk. To overcome resistance.  To put words on paper, write that song, and put your work out into the world. To see not only how your creation will impact others, buy how the creative act impacts you. To enter into that journey, to take that risk, is to begin a remarkable journey towards fully alive. 

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