Worship Media Arts

Secrets to Sustained Creativity: Dandelions


Via Wired magazine, this nugget from science fiction writer Cory Doctorow: “thinking like a dandelion.”

Doctorow writes: “The disposition of each?Äîor even most?Äîof the seeds isn’t the important thing, from a dandelion’s point of view. The important thing is that every spring, every crack in every pavement is filled with dandelions. The dandelion doesn’t want to nurse a single precious copy of itself in the hopes that it will leave the nest and carefully navigate its way to the optimum growing environment, there to perpetuate the line. The dandelion just wants to be sure that every single opportunity for reproduction is exploited!”

What does this have to do with worship, design, and art?

Creative people produce.

Not just a little, either. Creative people both tend to and need to produce a lot. This is one of the secrets to sustained creativity.

Most creative types tend to produce a lot anyway. But some anguish over their productions, constantly tweaking and never finishing. George Lucas is famous for having said he never finishes a project, he just stops working on it.

Creative types need abundance, because they need to see what grows. It’s important to keep cranking out ideas. Some will grow and take on a life of their own, and some will die. In fact, most will die. But from the abundance of ideas will emerge a few brilliant ideas.

An old art teacher of Jason’s was famous for constantly repeating his personal montra, “Quality, Not Quantity”. While his art teacher was right that quality is important, being committed to creating a good quantity of work is important for growth. The more you produce, the more you grow, and the better you get. There is a certain freedom in knowing not every work has to be a masterpiece, but that each piece contributes in some way to future masterpieces.

Let those creative seeds fly and see what grows!


2 Comments so far »

  1. Allan Hansen said,

    Wrote on October 15, 2009 @ 9:28 am

    That is just awesome and just what i needed to read at this very moment thank you.

    I have recently just bought Photoshop CS4 after not using it since college a few years ago, and i believe now more than ever that God is leading me to let my creativity out and see what happens, so again thanks for this encouragement.

  2. osborn4 said,

    Wrote on October 19, 2009 @ 9:17 am

    I dandelion seeds extend to other people. I am in charge of a week long annual conference every summer and I get burnt out trying to do everything. I’ve got others that are willing to help, but I’ve spent much time “quality controlling” those folks. I’ve got to learn to let go and the the dandelions grow without my fertilizer. 😉

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