When was the last time you got that awkward feeling that the dream you thought you wanted — the one you may even be pursuing right now — is not it.
The dream you fought for years to do. That one. Yeah. Not it.
In Blaine Hogan‘s new book, UNTITLED: Thoughts on The Creative Process, he describes this strange and extremely awkward feeling.
As he drove away from wrapping season one of 20th Century Fox’s show Prison Break, where he was finally starting to take off with his acting career, an undeniable feeling swept over him. Not only was it highly uncomfortable, it was down right absurd, he says.
He felt a deep sense to give up his current path of acting to go to seminary.
And the amazing thing is, he listened. He decided to stop running. His confession came out. And his life, as he shares in vivid emotional prose, was freed to become a better version.
I couldn’t help but identify with his story because I have been there as well. Many of us have. The creative life takes so many turns, paints with so many colors, that we start to chase our favorites without asking the hard questions. We simply do not think. We do not commit to contemplate, as Blaine says.
We do not do the inner work that needs to be done first. We let the medium come before the message.
We determine we like music or photography, film or acting, and we do not first consider why those mediums work for our story. Or in what capacity we should engage and express our story. We may like music and try to be a singer, ignoring our heart to serve behind the scenes instead of on the stage. We may like photography and blindly pursue it, ignoring our heart to use words to build others up.
As Blaine shares in his philosophy as an artist:
- Content must come before the medium.
- Don’t set out to prove a point. Set out to tell a great story.
We can waste years chasing something that will never free us to become who we truly can become. But the good news is that it is all part of our journey. And that journey is what Blaine points to as the deepest well for our creativity.
If we are willing to do the work to find the parts that move us, and that give us the lump in our throats, we can take others into a truer more powerful art that deeply moves them as well.
To move and be moved. To love and be loved. Isn’t that why art captures us in the first place?
I’ve been hearing good things about Untitled. Would love to read it.
This post spoke to me. Earlier today, I was talking to someone about the book I have been wanting to write for quite some time. I said I wanted it to be non-fiction and make people laugh. And as I spoke those words, I heard God saying, “But I want it to touch people’s soul. To draw them closer to me.”
What Blaine said about the content coming before the medium is so true. I am a decent writer, and maybe writing is the way God will have me influence people for Him. Maybe not. Maybe it’s the words I speak to the women I lead in Bible study. Maybe it’s the email I write to the friend who is discouraged about infertility. Maybe it’s the word of encouragement I send along with $5 to the guy sitting on the street corner begging. Whatever it is, it’s not the medium. It’s the content. And it’s HIS content.
Thank you for this reminder.
Thanks Amy. Check your email and you will get your chance to read it!
Be patient with your message. It will come, and you will not be able to stop yourself from writing your book when it is time.
“To move and be moved. To love and be loved.”
Fantastic post Jeff.
Doing something that involves both heart and mind, is what we want but very few of us end up doing it for long term.
I recommend reading this article, If you have not yet.
On Steve Martin’s passion for stand up comedy which he converted to big time Hollywood success, his method which is built on the following idea.
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
It is all about content indeed not the medium.
The hard part of what Steve is saying that Cal points out is that “if you don’t saturate your life in a single quest, you’ll dilute your focus to a point where becoming outstanding becomes out of reach.”
And by outstanding, I think he means famous. The larger question is, ‘Should our own fame be the goal of our life?”