Before I started my own business as a web designer, I had not had to rely on my own creative abilities so much. I had worked with designers before, but now I am the designer. I chose this line of work because I knew I had creative talent and had had this reflected back to me. I wanted to use my creative abilities, to express that side of me. I knew I could figure out the technical, the logical part. I have always had ease with that.
What I discovered was that I would always become anxious when I started a new design for a client. In the past, I could always rely on my knowledge and experience that I could “problem solve” or “figure out” my way through tasks that were put before me. With problem solving, I could rely on logically working my way through a problem, step by step. But I could not do so with creativity. Creativity comes from a different place from inside me. With creativity, there are no steps to figure out.
Not to say that design does not have its logical components. It does. There is a great deal of problem solving involved in meeting a client’s needs in the design. But for the aesthetics, that comes from the heart.
Creativity just seems to flow, to manifest from within. You take in what the client needs, who the client is, and other relevant input like ingredients in a soup. Then inside those ingredients seem to combine and output from what I suppose I could call creative intuition.
Why do I get anxious. I suppose because I have so much experience with being able to problem solve, that I trust that my brain will make it through. With creativity, I don’t have the same trust. It is scary to declare that I will create something beautiful when I am not really doing anything at all. The reality of it is that it happens inside me. I just need to listen.
Being a spiritually devoted man, I am realizing that this is a reflection of my trust in God. The more I can trust that God will make something beautiful and bring that through my hand, the easier it becomes. The more I trust, the more I relax and can hear more deeply inside, more clearly inside – and inside is where the magic happens.
It is funny that in all of this, I am realizing how my belief in my own ability to problem solve is also a misunderstanding. I was gifted with a logical mind and faith in my ability to accomplish most anything with it. But in reality, my mind is also governed by The Ultimate Governor – God. There have been times when it seems like my brain is not working, and I cannot find my way, and in those times I am put face to face with the truth I am only a vessel through which God acts. And if God does not want to act through me in that moment, then I have not the power to do otherwise.
So creative anxiety for me is ultimately my experience of fear – fear that “what if the creative flow will not produce what is needed for this client, this project?” “What if God has another teaching for me with this project – such as patience, being humble?” “How will my client like that?” “How will I continue to provide for my family?”
I suppose for those of you who are my clients, or potential clients, the reality of it is, that lesson could come through any designer – and if it does, than we will work it out, with God’s grace. We always seem to.