“Creativity is more than mere imagination. It is imagination inseparably coupled with both intent and effort.” — Alex Osborn
Loving your creative work isn’t enough to guarantee you’ll impact someone else’s life.
Try these three behaviors that together will strengthen your work and its impact on others.
Succumb to Your Gift
We should give in to the gift that says “Me, me. Use me.” Some creative people view the world and are compelled to make up song lyrics and melodies. They may impact more people by becoming songwriters than by giving speeches or writing articles.
I’m reminded of two brothers from the 18th century. John Wesley, the founder of the United Methodist Church, brought in the crowds with his sermons. His brother, Charles, still reaches many through his hymns that are in church hymnals today. They might be unknown men now if they had ignored their gifts and each pursued his brother’s gift.
After I became a Christian years ago, I wanted to learn all I could about God from the Bible and Christian writings. Whenever I puzzled over a difficult truth, I wrote a story to explain it to myself. I knew little about the craft of writing, but I used my underdeveloped gift of expressing through words. I published twenty-seven short stories in two books.
Of the feedback from the stories, the most significant impact remains that one story led a person to Christ.
Care About the People on the Other End of Your Work
Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in the creating end of our work, we forget audiences on the other end are wrapped up in wanting to spend their time on something worthwhile to them. If we wish to make an impact, we must understand what they want.
See this article from Goodreads, “What Makes You Put Down a Book.” The reasons listed from what Goodreads compiled from member readers included:
- “disliking the main character,”
- “weak writing,”
- “bad editing,”
- “ridiculous (or nonexistent) plot,”
- “slow, boring,” (46.4% members on this one) and
- other reasons.
Although authors can’t please all readers, they can do something about most of these issues by learning the writing craft and understanding their target audience.
Who would spend years writing four books, which were rejected, and proceed to write a fifth? What kind of impact does four completed manuscripts stored away have on anyone?
My hand shoots into the air. “I wrote four novels and was energized to write a fifth! And I can answer those questions.”
My passion to express the stories in my head propelled me to persevere on each of the books. Those four dust-gathering manuscripts impacted one person: me. They taught me how to write, to find my writer’s voice, and to consider readers’ interests.
My stubbornness paid off. Pelican Book Group has contracted the fifth book. Now, I have the opportunity to impact readers’ lives. Perhaps they’ll:
- laugh at the funny parts,
- shiver delightfully at the first kiss,
- find answers through the issues the hero and the heroine overcome, and
- latch on to spiritual truths.
Impacting people is more likely when we express through our individual gifts, care about members of our audiences, and never give up.
What have you done that improves your creative work and your impact?