Inadequacy in the Creative Department

“Your work sucks.”

Now, likely, you’ve never had this said to you, but if you’re anything like me, that little phrase has gotten stuck in your head at one time or another. You feel inadequate, like the work you’re doing is under par of what should be considered under par.

Don’t ever believe that phrase.

If you have found yourself to be a creative, or you’ve been put in a position that requires your creativity, then God has put you there for a specific reason. The way you see the world and show others is going to change the way others see the world. You need to be confident in yourself to create what God’s imparted on your heart, otherwise you won’t see it. The times where I was having the most problems coming up with creative material were the times I was majorly comparing myself to someone at another church who can do it better, faster or more creatively. You can’t get caught up in that–If you do, you’ll never grow, you’ll stay just as stagnate as the moment you started feeling the creative jealousy.

Here are a couple of things I found that really remedy the creative jealousy:

Look to your members | In the end, they’re going to support you the most. Church is like a family to most people, so when you succeed (i.e. make a new poster, change up something in the bulletin, make a set switch, etc.) they’re likely to notice. Get feedback. I’m the kind of person who HATES criticism, but I take it knowing I’m 100% more likely to act on it and fix it than if they had smiled and said, “Sure! Looks great.” Take a creative risk. You need to, or you’ll never receive feedback(good or bad).

Go to your boss | I am truly blessed to have a direct supervisor who genuinely cares about the work I produce, and lucky enough, in the Church, that’s going to be the majority of creatives. Whether you report directly to the pastor or to the business administrator(such as in my case), chances are, they care just as much about what you do as you. Seek advice from them, get their two-cents. Before our quarterly publication goes out, my boss and I sit in his office and discuss the pros and cons of last quarter’s publication (as hindsight is always important) and how to improve/change the way we do things this quarter. This is definitely easier for our quarterly publication than our weekly bulletin, but the same can happen week-to-week.

Do a couple of online Photoshop tutorials | Yeah, this one may be a little specific, but it can be metaphorical for other creative positions. The times I was most fired up for creativity were the times I learned something new (Yes, I do recognize college will be a liiiittle bit different than that). Everything I know is either self-taught or from online tutorials (Which in a sense is like self-teaching I suppose….), and because my major is a little different than what I intend to use it for, it’s imperative that I’m keeping myself fresh with the tools I use in the workforce because there isn’t a class for it. Now, I don’t know, you may have a formal college education and have been in the workforce for many years, but you still need to do this, too. When you create, you’re spiritually connecting yourself to God with that piece, and when you replicate someone else, you’re learning the skills they used to do that same process. I don’t agree in claiming someone else’s thought to be your own, but I do agree that in order to hone in on your creative skills, there has to be a certain level of the ability to replicate. You’ll feel better about yourself afterwards, too. I like to use Abduzeedo for my tutorials, just because his are a little more detailed and allow for originality.

Pray | When you lack in the communication department with God, you’ll find your communication department in the Church lacking as well. You NEED God, and just like He longs for you, you should do the same. There’s nothing worse than unrequited love, and what’s the most important thing in a relationship? Communication. You’ve got to communicate regularly with God to find out what He wants you to do. Iit would be like if you never talked with your mom, but wanted her to give you $50. Unless you communicate that to her, you’ll be short $50. Do you really expect God’s going to strike you with a brilliant idea out of the blue for absolutely no reason if you haven’t been at least talking to Him?

And as the great Jon Acuff said so beautifully, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I have the biggest problem when surfing other church’s websites and seeing how well they’re designed and being jealous (Now, if they’re outsourcing their design, I typically laugh and go to the next site, outsourcing your design, especially when you have competent people on staff is not only lazy, it’s cheating.), but I’ve learned that I’m only 18, and I should be proud I’ve got something that even competes with the 30-somethings. While my situation probably isn’t the same as yours, think on this carefully: Why should you be jealous of something someone else in the Kingdom has done? Use it as inspiration and improve your work, that’s the great thing about creativity; always room for improvement.

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