Creating and Composing

All of us succeed, to one extent or another, based on our ability to create and present our creation. Whether you’re an artist, musician, or writer whose creations are obvious, or a teacher, manager, or administrator whose creations are more subtle, it is critical that you see your efforts as a creation and subsequent presentation of your creation. It may be as simple as formulating your ideas and communicating them to those around you.

Creativity is an elusive concept. Too many people assume that people are either born creative or not. I believe we all have the ability to create great things if we can just get in touch with the creative force inside of ourselves. I believe that it is in the natural order to create, and when we are having trouble creating, it is not a matter of the creation not being within us but, instead, it is a matter of us blocking the creative flow.

Mozart said, “I don’t really compose. I take dictation.” I believe he meant he got in touch with his mind and spirit in a way that allowed his collective creation to flow out of him.

As a writer of 20 books, I’ve had the experience of having a chapter read back to me shortly after I dictated it and being totally unfamiliar with large passages from that chapter. Unfortunately, in our media-driven world, we see, hear, and experience overwhelming doses of creativity around the clock. This creativity is well packaged and professionally presented. We don’t see the many failed attempts or rough drafts of the people whose creativity we enjoy; therefore, when we begin to create, we compare an experienced artist’s final masterpiece to our initial effort.

The way to create greatness is to begin by creating mediocrity. One of my favorite authors of the 20th Century was James Michener. He was fond of saying, “Every aspiring author is filled with seven volumes of garbage, and they are not willing to write through the garbage to discover the genius beneath.”

Creative people – whether they’re writers, artists, or business executives – create on a regular basis. The old adage “Waiting for inspiration” is a trap that too many people fall into.

When I began writing these weekly columns over a decade ago, I originally only planned to write one single column for one paper at the request of my friend Ralph Schaefer. After receiving my first effort, he asked me to do it again the next week and every week thereafter. Today, these columns are read by countless people around the world in a myriad of newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

I remember receiving some great advice from Ralph when I was a fledgling columnist. As I struggled far too long and too much on one particular point of one weekly effort, Ralph said, “Jim, we don’t need it perfect. We do need it Thursday.”

As you go through your day today, commit to letting your creativity flow. The ordinary will become above-average and then it will emerge as your masterpiece.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by e-mail at; or on Facebook at

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