Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Creativity Part 1: Music Writing, Photoshopping, & Movie Making

I have been thinking a lot about creativity. There are so many different ways to create—craft something by hand, doodle, write a song or a poem, garden, design your home, cook, the possibilities are literally limitless.  Yet there are also so many ways to consume what others have created.  Consuming is so much easier, especially with so much available at the click of a mouse, or the drop of a couple of dollars.  Entertainment is cheap, and creativity takes real work.

At least for me, the hardest part is getting started.  I have asked a few wonderfully creative people I know how they get started and find inspiration, and I’ll be sharing their responses here over the next few weeks. 

This first post is by my wonderful, talented husband, Andrew.  He is extremely creative, always making something: movies, doing photoshops, and for me the hardest--writing original songs.  He writes me a completely original valentines song every year!  I know how hard it is, because I tried last year to write him one--really tried, and it was a complete joke.  Here are some of Andrew's thoughts on creativity.

For me, creativity is a two-way street. Much of what I create, I do with the consumer of my creation in mind. Whether it's a Valentine's Day song for Ariel, a birthday photoshop for a sibling or a training module at work, it's often with the audience in mind. This audience can be as narrow as a specific person and as a broad as the Internets. I think meaningful creations should evoke emotion. When I am getting started with a big or small creative project, I ask myself the question: What emotion do I want to evoke with my creation? Love, joy, frivolity, peace, strength, nostalgia, excitement? The expected emotion then propels the craft. From there a story will swirl through an image, a melody, an idea. I try to infuse that emotion into the creation with the hope that the consumer can experience shared emotion. Though to be clear, I don't necessarily want to dictate what the consumer feels, but it helps me get started to have something that I want to project in mind. 

Creativity has great effect when the creation evokes emotion through story. 

Below are some examples of his handiwork.
A birthday photoshop for a sister

A fun Christmas card to send to colleagues at work
And most impressive, here is a link to all of Andrew's Valentine's Day Songs.  The 4th song is probably my favorite (though it's hard to choose!).  It's a beautiful song he wrote after Abraham (our #1) was born, to tell the story of his birth in epic-song-fashion.

Here is a fun music video we made for one of the Valentine's Day songs (making movies has turned into a fun family tradition).


  1. I've always wished I were more creative like Andrew. Good advice. I'm really glad you wrote this!

  2. Great! I've always been impressed with Andrew's creativity as well. He used to improvise speeches to his first grade class (right, Andrew?) when the teacher would leave the room. In High School he had a punk-type band and wrote lots of their songs. His creativity has continued to flourish over the years. Thanks for sharing some of your secrets, Andrew!

    I think you have to let go of yourself to find success in creativity (Andrew's good at this too). Can't worry too much about having it go wrong. Sometimes that's a hang up for me. I really enjoyed (as many of you did) Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk entitled "Your Elusive Creative Genius." I'm also reminded of President Uchtdorf's talk, "Happiness, Your Heritage" (October 2008 Women's Conference) where he talks about our innate abilities to create and how to tap into them.

    I'm looking forward to this series, Ariel. Thanks!