How the Bible Taught Me to Be More Creative

(GUEST POST: Today I’m excited to share with you a guest post from Jackson Dame. Jackson is a young writer I’ve been following over the past few months who blogs at JacksonDame.com. He’s in the process of self-publishing his first book Ex Materia about the impact of faith on creativity. I jumped at the chance to have him write a guest post here on the blog so that you can learn more about him. Check it out and be sure to check out the Kickstarter page for Jackson’s new book to see how you can support this up-and-coming author.)

exmateriaA couple of years ago I couldn’t come up with a good idea to save my life.

I wanted to exercise my creativity, but it was almost as if I had none. Was I really cut out to be creative?

Fast forward to today, and I’ve never been more confident in my ability to generate ideas and execute them with excellence. What changed?

Well, a lot of things, but overall it was one crucial action. And it was an action that I discovered while I was reading my Bible of all things.

My faith actually taught me that I was skipping over the first and most important part of the creative process: consuming. Allow me to explain. Continue reading

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5 Books That Changed My Life

With November being National Novel Writing Month, I feel the urge and the pressure to write my first book growing. It’s long been a goal of mine to write a book and leave my mark upon the world.

After all, there are so many books which have shaped my life. A book has the power to impact a person like no other art form.

With that in mind, I want to share with you 5 of the books that have changed my life over the past 28 years. These are books I go back to time and time again for inspiration. If you’ve never read them, I encourage you to check them out on Amazon. Maybe one of them will inspire you too.

In chronological order of when I discovered them:

dear-mr.-henshawDear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary – This was my first favorite book in elementary school. Dear Mr. Henshaw tells the story of a young boy completing a class assignment of writing to his favorite author. Over the years the boy continues to correspond with Mr. Henshaw seeking advice and wisdom as he struggles with all the issues of adolescence, including his parent’s divorce. Dear Mr. Henshaw is engaging and captivating and honest – just like all of Beverly Cleary’s work. Most importantly for me, Dear Mr. Henshaw opened up the possibilities of what a book could be in my eyes. The entire book is written in the format of the boy’s letters to Mr. Henshaw. At a young age I learned every book doesn’t have to look the same or follow the same format. Ever since then I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing that plays with the traditional narrative. Continue reading

Rethinking Goliath

What if we’ve been wrong about David and Goliath this whole time?

This is the question posed by Malcolm Gladwell at the center of his new book David and Goliath. Gladwell is the revolutionary brain behind The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers – 3 books which revolutionized the business world and my personal thinking as well.

Gladwell’s books consistently offer fresh perspective on seemingly obvious thoughts we take for granted about success. In David and Goliath, Gladwell asks us to rethink the idea of underdogs – the heroes who seemingly overcome great adversity to triumph in battle. Gladwell posits that perhaps some disadvantages are really advantages (and vice versa).

The book starts off with a reexamination of the first and greatest underdog story ever recorded – David vs. Goliath. As we all once learned in Sunday School, David was the meager shepherd who, forsaking a warrior’s armor, brought only a slingshot to take down a mighty giant.

Generations have been taught this story as an example of the power of God to use the smallest of men to slay the tallest of enemies. But what if David wasn’t the underdog here? What if David was actually the prohibitive favorite against Goliath?

Gladwell’s research shows David was not an underdog at all. He was actually a strategic mastermind. Continue reading

What To Do When You’re Stuck In The Middle

Goblet_fire_coverPop culture confession time: I am one of the last people in my generation who has never seen or read the complete Harry Potter saga.

It’s not because I think the series is demonic or promotes witchcraft or any moral reason like that. I actually did start reading the series about 13 years ago.

In fact I was the first kid in my class to get behind the books, introducing them to many of my friends. My mom saw them in a book catalog and brought the first one home to me.

I was hooked. I devoured the first three books. I even ordered the fourth book from overseas before it was released in the U.S. I was a megafan.

Then there was a gap between the fourth and fifth book. From what I remember this is when Potter-mania really started catching on in America, at least around the people at my school. Now seeing another person with a Harry Potter book was not strange; it had become the norm.

The first Harry Potter movie came out around this time too. And this was the beginning of the end of my fandom. I had great expectations, and to me that first movie did not ignite the same spirit as the first book did. I was sorely let down. Continue reading