Think You’re Not an Artist? Think again.


Photo Credit: wader via Compfight cc

Even after formally studying creative writing, photography, and graphic design – I still just couldn’t see myself as a real artist. I don’t seem to fit what an artist should be. I don’t paint. I don’t know poetry. I can’t quote a word of Shakespeare (actually this was the first time I’ve ever spelled “Shakespeare” correctly without spell-check), and the only thing I’ve ever drawn in my whole life was a terrible self-portrait and a sketch of my left shoe.

It seems like I’m not alone in this. Quite a few people struggle to see themselves as creative. I’m more of a left-brained person. I study linguistics, analyze everything, make plans rather than just wing it. How could someone like me be a real artist?

Maybe we don’t need to change who we are. Maybe we just need a bigger definition of what it means to be an artist.

Jeff Goins wrote a great blog post for writers who struggle with knowing what to write about. Jeff says, “Most writers believe that what they write about is more important than how they write. And they are wrong.” I agree. Good writers aren’t good because they pick the right topic. They’re good because they can create something that connects with universal truths and core values: Grace. Injustice. Love. Internal conflict. The dignity of humanity.

Maybe you don’t think you can write a novel or a screenplay, but if you can create anything that touches me on a foundational level, you can consider yourself an artist.

What can you do that can touch someone on a foundational level?

Even if you don’t plan on being a full time artist, you can still let the beauty from your life show in what you do and what you create. And you should – because we need to see what you see.

You have permission to be an artist. You are included. You can create something that moves people. And you already have everything you need – you’re life and what you’ve been through.

So what can you do that will touch someone? What can you create that will show us what you see?

Leave me a comment and tell me what you’ve been creating lately. If you liked this article, retweet it, post it on Facebook, or email it to someone who needs it. And be sure to check back on Monday for another article on my blog.


Lead People through the Power of Story


Photo Credit: nandadevieast via Compfight (Creative Commons)

The Storyteller is one of the most influential people in any society, business, or organization. He is often unacknowledged, but he has the power to sway hearts in a way that no one else can and can reach the recesses of the human heart in a way that will leave mere argument frustrated.

If you want someone to take what you have to say to heart, don’t give a statistic – tell a story.

People are desperate to play even a small part in something bigger than themselves.

Desire to play a part is why, even in difficult financial times, movie studios spend hundreds of millions of dollars creating their product. It’s how companies like Apple turned a grey box into industrial art. It’s how frustrated no-name bloggers turned into influential published authors. A good story is guaranteed to sell no matter what the external circumstances.

Story provokes us to acknowledge what, deep down, we already know:

The world isn’t what it could be.

We aren’t what we could be.

We need something or someone to get there.

Story demands that we discard the status quo to create something new, rather than aimlessly drifting through the way things have always been, and allows us to be fully human – human in the richest sense. 

Stories offer to us what we are searching for.

If you want to influence people in a positive way, build a community, or  show people the value of what you have to offer: learn to tell a good story.

What moves you? Post a comment and let’s have a conservation about the power of story.