The past two days I have set my alarm for 5:30am (though to be honest I snoozed ’till 6) and got up to write for 20 minutes. It’s still dark outside, and no one else in the house is awake. I take our laptop to our office and plug in the charger, as our computer’s battery hardly holds a charge anymore. I open a blank Google doc and begin to write. I’m not writing about anything specific – just writing to write. Writing to learn. Writing to listen.
This early morning practice of writing each day is a recommendation by Janice Elsheimer in her book, The Creative Call. She calls it having an “artist’s daybook.” The term “artist” does not have to imply art in the traditional sense of painting or sculpting – creating in any avenue allows us to call ourselves artists. Here’s why Elsheimer says we should journal in our daybook every morning:
- To force yourself to have quiet time to hear what God has to say to you
- To be receptive to God’s guidance in nurturing the artist within us
- To tap into our unconscious source of creativity
- To track our growth as an artist, to note what works or doesn’t work
There is a lot of creativity in me that has been sitting dormant for a while. Having a baby, working full-time and going back to graduate school have pressed me for time. (At least, that’s my excuse.) When I’m not having my time taken up by those things, it’s usually a game of catching up on things like laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, and all the other day-to-day kinds of things. I had convinced myself that creative tasks like writing, reading for fun, crocheting, painting, or playing music were activities that I could reward myself with once all the urgent tasks had been completed. The thing is, those “urgent” tasks just never all get done. There always seems to be at least one more dish I could clean, one more room I could vacuum, or one more load of laundry I could do.
Since starting The Creative Call, I have had a shift in my mindset. Elsheimer makes the claim that God created all of us with skills and talents to be creative, and we can use these skills and talents for the work of God. The parts of me that want to be creative and desire to write, read, and paint are God-given.