3 unexpected lessons on creativity from a spider

As I walked to my car for work one night last week, I noticed a spider had built a huge web from the ground to the overhang above our front door.

I stood there for a second and marveled at all the effort it took the spider to weave that giant, intricate web. I thought about how the spider, through his hard work, was able to produce something useful to himself and do so in an artistic manner.

After admiring the simple beauty of the web as it glistened with evening mist, I knocked the whole thing down because spiders are creepy.

Despite the creepiness, however, the spider, his web and even my destruction of it, provided invaluable lessons to me as a writer.

While they work for me in the context of writing, anyone who works to create something for others can take some thing away from the spider’s lessons.

Photo from RGBstock.com by Marja Flick-Buijs

I know. You are probably upset this has nothing to do with Charlotte’s Web. How can something about writing and a spider, not be about Charlotte the spider and Wilbur the pig? Well, the spider I saw outside was nowhere near a pig, be it terrific, radiant or even some pig.

Despite not astonishingly writing vivid descriptions in its web, the spider was still able to speak in a way and contribute to my thinking on creativity and the writing process.

What did I learn from the spider that could also help you as you look to reflect your Creator in being creative? To be successful you should seek these three goals.

1. Pleasing to the author

I have a feeling the spider was proud of his work. He sure didn’t mind showing it off to me … right outside my door … in my face. He had managed to construct something beautiful. I had to acknowledge that.

If you aren’t willing to showcase your creative work, who else will? You have to be pleased with your work. Why? Because only then will you fight for it.

Successful creativity, however you define successful for your creation, will only happen if you believe in it and are proud of what it became and what it represents.

You should look at it as if it is your child. It won’t be perfect, but you know it’s beautiful. You know your creation is worth the effort because you see the beauty in it. Not many people will see the beauty there unless you acknowledge it first.

2. Purposeful to the audience

The spider built his masterpiece above our flower bed. I was the one who could see and appreciate the whole sight, but there was nothing valuable in his web to me.

I could glance at it, appreciate it and then tear it down because it didn’t have a purpose for me. Here is where the spider failed, but where you and I cannot.

When I write something, if I want to present it to you, the reader, I cannot only think about how pleasing it is to me. I have to also think about what it can provide for you – information, inspiration, humor, something.

Our creations may be to us as a child, but to others they are merely things to be evaluated and critiqued according to their own personal standards. When you create, do so in such a way that you see it as beautiful and your audience sees it as meaningful.

3. Persistent to the absolute end

If the story had ended as it ended it in the opening, this lesson would not have been part of the post. But my encounters with the spider continued every night last week. I would leave for work, marvel at the web and tear it down again.

It was the same thing every night. No matter how many times I tore it down, the spider built the web again the next night. Here is where the spider succeeds and we often fail.

Often, you finish something and fail to appreciate the beauty or your audience seems uninterested and uninspired by your work. What do you do then?

Most of us simply give up. Creativity is not easy. Almost counter-intuitively, it is hard work. Crafting each component until we achieve a place of beauty takes time. Learning our audience and how we can develop something that is of value to them takes effort.

Your webs will get torn down. Someone won’t appreciate the magnificence. Someone will say it is useless. That hurts. Deeply.

At that moment, you can choose to leave your work lying in discarded shreds or you can take those broken strings, the tattered stitches of your web, and build it again, even better.

Applying the hard lessons that often only come with failures, you can make your creation more beautiful and useful. Your web will shine in the moonlight, shimmer with the stars and hold the weight of those who see it as a way to climb to new heights themselves.

Make your web pleasing and purposeful, as you are persistent with it until everyone else can recognize the beauty and the worth. That’s what a spider can teach you about creativity.

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What unexpected lessons have you learned recently? Why do you recreate your web even after someone else tears it down?

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About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.