The Writing Life

4 Keys to Creativity

Maybe you’re not one of those writers who sometimes says (or thinks), “I’m just not very creative.” But you may sometimes be jealous of others’ creativity. Or wish at times that you were more so.

Join the club. We could all use at least a little more creativity in our lives, our thinking, and our writing. So, since my weekly “midrash” (Bible study) group has been discussing the first chapters of Genesis in recent weeks, I wondered if I might learn something about creativity from our Creator. That’s not the primary purpose of Genesis 1 and 2, of course; but maybe it could be helpful to learn about creativity from the first and foremost in that category, know what I mean? So here are a few “keys to creativity” from the creative activity of Genesis 1 and 2:

  1. Make it a daily habit.

Maybe the “days” of Creation were twenty-four hour days and maybe they weren’t. But it’s interesting nonetheless to note that God, who surely could have created everything at once, didn’t. Judging from the depiction of creation in Genesis 1, He spaced it out, so to speak. I think that’s fascinating. Maybe it suggests that a daily or regular habit of creativity—whether that’s writing a little each day, journaling every day, or something else—is a good idea and fosters more creativity in the long term. (In fact, I think there’s reason to believe that God’s creative action continues to this day, a la Psalm 139 and Lamentations 3:22-23.)

  1. Use your words.

God spoke, and it was so, right? We all know that creation sprang forth at His command (Hebrews 11:3). We can’t do that, but maybe it does foster creativity if we go ahead and speak or write the things we hope and dream. This is partly why I plan and set goals every year (and review them at midyear); even when I more or less forget them from month to month, I’m often surprised at midyear or the end of the year at how many still seemed to take shape and come to pass.

  1. Critique yourself regularly.

Except for “day two” of creation, God apparently reviewed and evaluated His creative actions every day, pronouncing them “good” and, eventually, “very good.” How interesting that even God, in His perfection, saw degrees of excellence in His own work. Wow. Whatever you draw from that, regularly evaluating your own creative work is a good idea. It may simultaneously teach you important things about yourself and raise the level of excellence in your work.

  1. Springboard new ideas from old creations.

God spoke, and the universe was created. But for the creation of humanity, “God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NLT). He used existing materials, reshaping something He’d already spoken into existence. So it may be with us. Creativity breeds creativity. One project leads to another; and where it stops, nobody knows.

Perhaps being made in God’s image, as those early chapters of Genesis say, involves the ability—and calling?—to be creative. If so, these four simple suggestions may be a great way to start. What tips or techniques do you use to foster creativity?


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