One of my favorite parts of blogging is to receive a comment about how someone enjoyed what I’ve made. It’s more personal than a statistic, and an encouragement that what I’m making is something people can enjoy. Most comments are positive, but I received a comment last month that made me chuckle.

I’m not sure how everyone finds my posts, but somehow someone had found my first photo journal post and left a comment. The person remarked that while there were some nice features next time I should try to improve everything. I honestly couldn’t tell how the comment was supposed to be taken, but it was rather memorable.

At first, I laughed, because the advice was a bit late—I’ve posted several photo journals and editorials since then. Secondly, I pondered the expectations of the person and how what I create meets the expectations of my audience.

A Lost Art

While some people only post their best work, my tendency has been to post my best work and the process. The result means that not everything I make will be the most marvelous work ever, but it does show the progress and the creative process—something that I don’t think many people see on blogs today. I think this is due in part to branding and marketing…and has its values. If you want to grow it as a business, a blog works like any sort of advertising or marketing. You want to put out the best work so people can trust you to make something of quality when they pay you.

My value is different. Before I began blogging about fashion and lifestyle topics I tried a few times to start a blog about writing. Similar to what I experienced starting a fashion blog, I found the topic too narrow. Over the years I recognized an interest in conversing about the creative process and how people can develop their art, crafts, and creative habits. I want to foster people into creating and exploring life with imagination—regardless if they are “artists” or “creators” by occupation.

In the era of the Internet, I’ve noticed how the arts have been, in some ways, hijacked by the business world. While marketing and business techniques are incredibly important to occupational creators, I found that somehow the resources of the arts aren’t accessed with the same frequency. For example, titling is controlled heavily by SEO, and on top of that, I see click bait used frequently. There has been an abandonment of the art of good titling. I see artists using them because that’s ‘what works’. I’ve even seen artists apologize for a title once you’ve clicked because they recognize the title as a gimmick and only used to manipulate the audience.

(I care a lot about this, if you couldn’t tell—I have drafted a post all about the craft of titling which I will post sometime or another.)

Part of the reason I post what I love—even if it isn’t the greatest—is because I want to show that there is value in growing slowly. There is value in the thing you’ve created even if it isn’t as good as the other person’s. A creation doesn’t need to be justified by commercial value.

Reclaiming Creativity

It seems that western culture treats creativity as something that only belongs to people who do it for an occupation. And while there are different conversations I can have with someone who is occupationally creative, I think that it is important that every person is encouraged to create.

I love when people write stories and poetry. Is it all great? No. But the point of creating isn’t to earn a place in a prestigious museum or some well-known award. It’s about expressing something innate. A curiosity that is buried in all of us. We don’t all have to be Michael Angelos to give us an excuse to simply create.

Even if I don’t ever publish my novel, the creation of it has value. It has been a process of growth for me in how I see and understand the world. My handmade books have value as a method of processing my life, even if they end up thrown away someday. The outfits I style are very much myself, even though I don’t think anyone considers me a top stylist. The photographs I take of ordinary things are a reminder of the beauty I find in my life, even if it doesn’t get a single like on Instagram.

Creating matters. It is a means of understanding something deep within us, and I believe, a way we reflect God.

So every time I take photos and I’m trying to “improve everything,” at the same time I am reminding myself that there is value in the process. There is a joy in taking picture of the ice that has built up on the side of the house because of the sump pump leak, even if no one else finds it fascinating.

Go out and create today. Don’t do for work. Don’t do it to impress.

Just create.

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