No, I didn’t write this post without coming up with a title.
[T]his is my review of Blaine Hogan’s book that just came out titled–you guessed it–“Untitled.” Blaine was one of my fellow authors on the Creative Matters eBook and he has just written his own eBook chronicling his journey through all things creative as it has taken him through being an actor on TV shows like “Prison Break,” to where he now finds himself as the creative director at Willow Creek Community Church.
I enjoy reading books about creativity from people who are producing creative things. It’s one of those topics that is easy to pontificate about while never actually doing something yourself. Blaine’s story (an Off the Record with him is coming soon) and his current situation are proof that this is a guy who can follow through on his talk.
Here are some of my favorite ideas in the book, organized by three themes that he tackles well.
The Nature of Being Creative
“Art seeks to tell the truth in dark places (movie houses, theaters, sanctuaries, museums) and it seems to me that’s what faith in God seeks to do as well — tell the truth in dark places.”
I love this. It reminds me of a line from the movie, V for Vendetta: “artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.”
The Value of Reflection
“My friend Jarrod always says you don’t learn from your experiences, you learn by reflecting on your experiences.”
“Is it any wonder Harvard psychologists have concluded the following: ‘We are already the most over-informed, under-reflective people in the history of civilization.’ Robert Kegan & Lisa Lehey”
So much of our time in creating things is done on the front end. It’s all preparation. Rarely do we stop afterward and reflect on how it went and how it could have been improved. What if we spent as much time on a creative project after it was produced as before it?
The Difficulty of Execution
“Nearly anyone can learn how to pitch a good idea but not everyone can get the good idea made.”
“For the man to be able to have truth to offer, he needed to find it first. And truth is not found without a fight.”
“Never, ever, ever, undersell something so that you can over deliver. That is what scaredy cats do.”
Like I mentioned at the beginning, this is what sets the apart the amateurs from the pros. It’s easy to talk about the romance of creativity while avoiding the sweat. True artists accept the not-so-glamorous parts of what it means to actually make art.