The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimerc

So good. I return to this book again and again. For reminder. For inspiration. For encouragement.

I’ve read The Creative Call three times. The first time in 2004. I was taking classes at the time and wanted to reignite my passion to write and somehow fit my writing into a busy life of being a wife and a mom, with a full time career in the Navy.

I picked it up again in 2012, wanting to return to my passion again after and during many changes and challenges: hurricanes, retirement, launching children, moving, parents with illnesses. All the things in life that teach us, grow us, take us to the depths of our souls and back.

And I picked it up again this year, in the midst of writing, when I felt the Lord leading me to conduct a writer’s workshop. I was learning so much I wanted to encourage other would-be-writer’s to pick up the pen and write.

In The Creative Call, Elsheimer walks creative spirits (we the artists, whether painter, writer, musician, gardener, etc) through our obstacles, arguments and frustrations and leads us to a place of inspiration. She provides places in the book to write our thoughts, our reflections, our answers. The exercises in the book provide me an interesting look back to where I was and where I am today. Some things have changed, some have stayed the same and some have come into fruition. At the end of the book, Elsheimer also gives ideas and suggestions for hosting an artist’s retreat. It definitely makes The Creative Call worth revisiting again. Anyone interested in an artist’s retreat next year?


  • …even as a child I felt that these gifts were from God, that they were not just something he gave to me but something that came through me.
  • Creative people know that not only are they missing something important when they aren’t exercising their creative gifts, but they are also shrinking from the responsibility they have to develop those gifts.
  • Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God through us to the world.
  • In the end we come to know this:  We can’t do a thing about the past, but to some extent we can and do have control over the present.
  • Perhaps you have always thought it was just too arrogant to believe you have talent worth sharing.
  • Instead of hoping that finding ourselves will result in practicing our art again, we need to realize that only through losing ourselves and becoming reliant on God can we discover how to use those gifts the way he wants us to use them.
  • …unlocking your creativity is action: simply doing the next thing that needs to be done.
  • Through the Word, the process of creation began. And through God’s Word, our creative renewal will begin as well.
  • The want to either discover or more fully use their talents because they know that if they don’t, they will be leaving something important undone.
  • …practicing your art is a form of worship, a way to use your talents to draw closer to God.
  • We are here to do his will, not gratify our own egos.
  • Being time is the time when we cease to strive. It is about placing ourselves in a state of expectation so that we can hear what God, the Creator, has to say to us, his creation.
  • We do not write in order to be understood, we write in order to understand. – C. Day-Lewis
  • Artists, especially writers, often just have “too many words.”
  • It is instead our responsibility to realize that God gave our talents to us for a purpose, his purpose, and it’s not important that we understand what that purpose is before we start becoming productive artists. What is important is that we accept the talents God gave us, develop them, honor them, use them, and not bury them.
  • God does not give us overcoming life–He gives us life as we overcome. – Oswald Chambers
  • Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work and to go where it tells him to go.
  • That fact that artistic encouragement is so rare might explain why many of us did not believe that if we dreamed, we could become it.
  • Encouragement often comes when we least expect it.
  • I began to see my writing as a pathway to a closer relationship with God, not as a glorification of myself.
  • I began to see writing as a way to glorify him.
  • Our art is not necessarily Christian in content, but it is centered in the truth that the Holy Spirit reveals.
  • …wherever you are, to take in… a “healthy diet of sense impression. We must absorb the world around us and learn to see that world anew…
  • We must make up our minds that, just as in any job we are paid to do, we will attend to the work at hand.
  • …doing the work of becoming an artist is important, so important that sometimes other things may not get done.
  • Remember that as a creative person, the important thing is to create. Who sees what you make, where it goes and what it does is a secondary consideration; the first is to exercise the talent God has given you.
  • It is ironic that when we adopt a servant attitude, which seems to imply bondage, we are actually set free to create something greater than ourselves, something that results from a collaboration between God and us.
  • Whether you feel inspired to create or dry and uninspired, you must make time to practice your art.
  • It’s not that we don’t have time for our art. It’s just that we sometimes make unwise choices about how we spend the time we do have.
  • Too many worthy activities, valuable things and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well.
  • The truth is — listen carefully to this one — other people really can get along without you!
  • Saying no to other people is saying yes to God’s desire for us to develop the gifts he gave us.
  • It is the place artists go when they are so caught up in their art that the worries an cares of the day have ceased to exist for them.

About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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