Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Life After Art: 3 Reasons to Be Creative

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Book Giveaway: I am giving away 5 free copies of Life After Art by Matt Appling. To be eligible, see entry conditions at the bottom of this article.

life-after-artI am the student Matt Appling describes in his new book Life after Art.

In kindergarten, my imagination had no limits. I would color and draw. I would play and imagine. I could do anything. I could be anything.

But then as I grew older I began to question the value of creating. I stopped seeing life as something beautiful to experience and started living a formula. I settled for good enough.

It wasn’t until recent years that I discovered I was wrong. After reading his book, I agree with Appling, we all need to get back to the art classroom.

Why You Stopped Creating

When you were a child you made stuff. You didn’t stop to ask what the point was. You didn’t worry about whether or not anyone would like it. You colored and drew and painted. And then you shared what you made with those you love.

You lived life in wonder.
You lived life without fear and worry.
You were born an artist.
You were made to create.

And then something changed.

One day, you stopped looking outward. You stopped doing for others, and started looking inward. As Appling witnesses in his students, we stopped creating when we became self-conscious. When we became aware of what we perceived others to be thinking about us.

You started asking different questions.
Does that person like me?
Will they like what I made?
Will they be my friend or will they make fun of me?

Are You Creative?

Most imagine creativity as something you either are or are not. Or typically something other people are. It is a magic property or skill that you either have or don’t.

Creativity isn’t an adjective. It is a verb. It isn’t something you are, but something you choose to do.

Creating teaches you a better way to live life. A better way to purpose your purpose. The same principles that apply in the primary school art room can help you to live a better story.

3 Reasons you Should be Creative

1. To Create Something Beautiful

The world is full of ugly. And we are the ones who make it that way. We pollute. We fight. We argue. We hurt. We destroy. We consume. We litter. We discriminate.

But when we are creative, we make something beautiful. We add to what is good in the world. Whether it is friendships or helping others or good music, all creativity points away from ugly and towards beautiful.

2. To Create Something Timeless

Most of are lives are filled with the disposable. They are full of junk that we end up throwing away. The disposable is a quick and easy means to get something we want. .A feeling. An object. A desire.

But when we create art, we are making something that is timeless. It will last. It will have a positive influence on others. It will mean something beyond our own lives. It will touch those we never meet. It will exist beyond our own lives.

3. To Share with the World

When you were 5 years old and you drew something, you always shared it. You showed your teacher. You showed your parents. You showed every person you could. You took it home and hung it on the refrigerator or in your room. You wanted everyone to see and experience it. Not out of a desire to persuade. You simply wanted to share your joy.

When we create are we do the same. We share. We give. We long to see the joy we feel in the face of another.

Are you creative? What do you make that is beautiful? 

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

For those of you who purchase the book yourself, Matt wants to say thank you by giving you free stuff. To learn how you can get a free copy of the deluxe Life After Art eBook, the Life After Art Field Guide, and The Art of Storytelling for free, click here.

Book Giveaway: I will be randomly selecting 5 winners to receive a free copy of Life After Art by Matt Appling. To be eligible all I ask you to do is to leave a comment below. And two share this article on Facebook and Twitter. (I’ve made it easy, just click on the 2 links.) Be sure to include my name so I will notice. On Facebook “Jeremy Statton” and on Twitter @JeremyStatton. I will select the winners Wednesday April 3 at 5pm. Entires after that time will not be eligible.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

Want to live a better story?

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61 Replies

  1. I’m still seeking the unbridled creativity I once had as a child. Sounds like a great book.

  2. Denise Wirick

    I started knitting when I was eight. It is something I have recently gone back to. It is fun to create things to give away. The book sounds great.

  3. Sounds like an awesome read! I am rediscovering the creating side of my life right now and am just overwhelmed by what my Creator has created in me to create! I need to read this book!

  4. Lee A Bower

    Thanks for sharing this! I so desire to get back to truly creating something beautiful daily as my contribution to this world we all live in! There are gifts lying dormant in all of us! God wants each of us to launch out into the deep waters, not fear anything. This book sounds amazing!

  5. I remember those days, when there was time to be creative. So I’m trying to slow down–to make time to make the timeless. “Create” is my one word for the year–whether it’s in fresh house paint or preserved family heirlooms or a home-cooked meal over a restaurant or in my writing and photography. This book’s on my wish list.

  6. Jennifer

    . To go back to the day when joy was found in the 64 pack of Crayola crayons…. I was in love with cerulean blue. To this day I find the smell of crayons relaxing. I also love knitting, designing new creeper proof houses in Minecraft, and daydreaming. One of my goals this year is to find ways of adding more creativity to my days. This book sounds wonderful.

  7. I completely agree. I’m that guy who constantly deals with the frustration caused by being the weird, creative guy in a world where you’re supposed to be more productive and less creative (i.e. spend less time doing the exciting stuff you love and more time earning money at a job you hate). I can’t wait to read the book.

  8. I love the message and look forward to reading this book. We are starting a new series at church next week titled “The New Artists.” This is a message that our staff really believes in as well. We were all meant to be creative. We just need a push sometimes to remember how it used to feel.

  9. We are made in the image of the greatest creator of all, God; therefore, every person is wired with creativity through His Son, Jesus Christ.

  10. i would love to have a copy of this… I used to love art and create it all the time

  11. You got it, disciple. 🙂 It’s just a matter of uncovering what we’ve already been given.

  12. That’s the story of so many of us, Dawn – myself included! I’d love for you to read the book and tell me what you think of it.

  13. Tammy – what church do you belong to? I’d love to help your church staff in any way I can with the message of the book. Get back to me if you wish at

  14. I really hope the book is an encouragement to you, Cole!

  15. I was bent over, drawing the final touch of fierceness, on the lion I created. My mother’s voice broke in with a roar. “Annette, you can’t draw, so don’t even try. My lion became a piece of fuel for ash-producing fire, as I wadded it up and tossed it into the brick cavern. Die, lion, die. I understand now, I have the verb, create, to use as a weapon to draw again. Roar, lion, roar.

  16. Great post! I am taking a bit of a career break to sort through some things. It has given me the chance to develop my creativity and it is really fun.

  17. I would love to see what you think of it, Aiden! 🙂

  18. “To back to the day…” Jennifer, you can’t know how much you just captured the book. 🙂

  19. Excited to see what you think of it, Trent!

  20. My two greatest creative outlets are preaching and song-writing. Writing music has been an important way for me to create beauty and contribute to people’s lives. Within the last four years preaching has been another way. I hope my preaching increasing sparks people’s moral imaginations and leaves them excited about the beauty of God.

  21. Nancy

    I just started art class today and she explained this very thing. We love art at age 6, then about age 13 we get stuck and stop. I am determined to merge my creative and logical mind and make something beautiful.

  22. Okay, this must be a real “God thing”. Earlier today, you did surgery on my husband, and God spoke to me about the capacity I have to love my husband that is beyond my dreams. It was a really cool experience. I am a writer and came home wanting to write a short story or blog about the capacity in our hearts to love and how amazing it is when we experience it. I have not done the article yet because I’ve been busy taking care of my “patient”, but you can bet that I will. I opened my email, and here was this from our surgeon. In addition, I am so sure that God intends me to continue writing and really want to read this book as well. Thank you!

  23. At times, I love to create. Other times, not so much.

  24. Joel

    My creativity took a hit when I needed to work full time after college and my writing want paying the bills.

  25. The practicalities of life like to interfere with the act of creating. Is there some way for you to fit in, but differently?

  26. My pleasure. Thanks for sharing, Terry.

  27. I like the idea of merging the two. They don’t have to be two different parts of you, but can work together.

  28. Sounds great, Edith. I’m glad you are having fun with it.

  29. I’m glad the lion is roaring.

  30. Maybe now is the time to re-develop this part of you?

  31. I agree. And creating is more than “art.”

  32. Very interesting upcoming series. It is easy to ignore the creative side of us when life is so busy, but it is something that give us life and energy to do our other work better.

  33. I heard someone say just last night that “artists are always poor.” They were expressing a similar idea. One thing I like about Matt’s story is how he is doing what he loves and makes a living. But I bet what he gets paid could never give him as much satisfaction as doing what he enjoys.

  34. My kids get excited when they see the crayons. I want that in my life too.

  35. I like how you are incorporating creating into everyday tasks like cooking. If we view it as an opportunity to create it changes how it feels and how we do it, doesn’t it?

  36. I think you are right, that fear keep us from trying.

  37. Your story is in many ways what this book is about, Denise. Even something simple like knitting is creating, and choosing to do it can rekindle that part of you.

  38. It’s hard to imagine isn’t it? Opportunities everywhere. No limits. No borders.

  39. Don’t we all? And really, that’s what much of the book is about – the pull away from creativity that most of us – myself included – experience.

  40. Joel, you cannot know how much you summed up a piece of the book. You and me both, man.

  41. That’s fantastic, Nancy! I hope the book encourages you in your creative pursuits.

  42. That’s great, Andy. Really, the book isn’t about visual art specifically as it’s about creation in all its forms – writing, songwriting, etc.

  43. I look forward to reading it, Matt

  44. That’s right. Thanks for reminding me that I am a writer! That’s a hard story for me to believe sometimes.

  45. My blog is definitely a place where I get to express my creativity.

  46. I’ve never been considered “creative”. I always ‘saw’ the wrong things, made ‘wrong’ interpretations, and struggled to simply survive creative courses/events. What I’ve learned is that I’m creative. I’m capable of great thoughts and ideas. I’m capable of creating and delivering content. I can inspire, motivate, and actuate. I learned a hard lesson that I didn’t need to look for others approval of what I was ‘doing’, but I did need to be actively ‘doing’.

  47. Joelle den Dulk

    One of my passions for my boys is that they never, ever say “I’m not creative!” I believe with all my heart that each and every person on the face of this earth is creative and has the ability to create something with the gifts they embody. Creativity isn’t limited to paint, brushes and sketch pads….words, acts of service, strong shoulders all have the potential to make the world a more beautiful place!

  48. I agree, although I just try to keep mine from saying they are bored.

  49. I think you are right about the approval issue. That is one of Matt’s points in the book. When we start to seek approval we stop creating.

  50. Thanks for sharing, Jon. You are also creative on mission trips.

  51. This is true. I’m looking forward to our upcoming trip to Guatemala. It will be great to be back in the town where we served last summer.

  52. So glad to hear you are going again.

  53. It’s amazing the amount of pressure that relieves.

    For the record, I’m not on FB.

  54. JY

    Wow, what a great way to look at things! People tell me I am creative and I always want to encourage them to create. Now I can stop being concerned about what others think and simply create for the joy of it and I can share that creativity is an action verb, it’s in the doing! Awesome!

  55. Fear of what others think will always silent our creative spirits. Glad to hear you are ready to move past that.

  56. KK

    I have been thinking about creativity alot lately. 30 years ago I was an art student, a painting major and I let the art world intimidate me away from the heartfelt expression of being creative. Last night I dreamed of those days and awoke thinking about wanting to know why I couldn’t free myself to dream that way again. When I got in the car to go to work I heard a short spot on your book and its topic. It is so timely for me. I love the reminder that the things we make are a beautiful contribution to our world. To me, when I create I feel God’s pleasure in me. I want to open up to that with abandon everyday.

  57. I didn’t write the book, but my friend, Matt Appling did. Based on what you are saying, I think you will find it helpful.

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