About two weeks ago I found myself at a creative end pass.
I was working on a video project for African Leadership highlighting a community development initiative in a community in Malawi.
This was one of those turn key projects where my creativity needed to be spot on and timely. I had to bring my ‘A’ game. I had four days to review footage, write the story, write a treatment, record the voiceover, create the underscore, and produce the final edited product.
Everything needed to go smoothly to pull this off.
Did I mention that the piece was specifically addressing how this community development initiative in rural Malawi had taken aim at combating the atrocities of child slavery and sex trafficking?
Grandiose awe-inspiring ideas that anyone who has a heartbeat could aspire to align with. I was tasked with giving it life, telling the story, and creating the tangible heartbeat of the project all within the confines of a few short minutes.
This is my sweet spot.
I love Africa. My heart is bent towards Africa and fighting injustice and atrocity. These social justice projects are my wheelhouse.
I figured writing the script would come easily to me.
But I found myself struggling in my creativity to “get it”. I was struggling to take many grand ideas and boil them down to a cohesive poignant piece that would encapsulate so much and speak to the heart.
I wrestled. I struggled. I writhed for 2 days and could not put it together.
Then, as I sat on my couch watching my 2 children play freely, the heinous acts of boys being sold into lives of child slavery and young girls becoming victims of sex trafficking became very real to me. In that moment, watching my children play with smiles on their faces while envisioning other children their ages being sold to lives of prostitution and slavery…reality came crashing in.
Emotions ran wild; tears flowed freely; words came quickly. Creativity blossomed in those moments of time and space where I was given freedom to emotionally engage my art.
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” — Henry Ward Beecher
That creative space to wrestle, to emote, and to engage was the necessary catalyst to my creative process.
It is necessary in your creative process.
Without space, we will never produce the art we know we are capable of producing. Something will remain left undone; the heart of the creative will not find rest, remaining unsettled in thought of what could have been.
It is only after the artist lives with his art, fights a bloody battle, and emotes with his art that anything of great artistic value is produced.
Culture has never been shaped by passionless art.
We need space for passion.
You cannot create an opus without creative space.
Understand that creative space is not an emptiness or a lacking, but a chosen freedom. Creative space is the platform where the catalytic forces of creativity interact, and hopefully react.
Space to write without fear or restraint.
Space to shred a first draft knowing that we have better within us.
Space to rework.
Space to throw aside a good idea to the side in pursuit of a great idea.
Space to breathe.
Space to question.
Space to discover and be discovered.
Space to dream.
Space to live with our art.
Space to feel our art.
Space to engage our art.
Artists, leverage your creative space. Art, culture, and the life changing messages this world desperately needs to hear depend on it.
This post was inspired by the Luminous Project. Luminous is an event in Nashville for creatives on May 9-11, 2012. To find out more, check out luminousproject.com. You can use the promo code ‘luminousLOVE’ to get 30% off the ticket price.