A new colleague, Keith Burtis, asked me earlier this week why it was important to share my creative process and why am I not afraid to do so. I thought about a couple of responses, but then realized that those responses could be seen as flippant if I didn’t take the time to explain myself.
So in my reply, I decide to create a pseudo white-paper on the subject and submitted it to him for inspiration. Keith went one step further and actually posted the entire content within a blog entry titled, “Do you share your creative process? – Part 1“. You can also remain here to read it in it’s entirety.
Many people shutter at the thought of thinking themselves creative. I’ve decided to dispel the myth by breaking down the allusive components of creativity. Creativity is just as intrinsic as eating, breathing, and procreating. I can hear you now: “Oh, I’m not creative!” And to that I passionately reply, “Yes you are!” Creativity is innate, otherwise as a higher level species, we wouldn’t be here today.
The article highlights my:
- Insatiable curiosity
- Four (4) Stages of Creativity
- Personal Philosophy
- Decision making process
- Physical Manifestation of My Creativity, and
- A Simultaneous Paradigm Shift
If creativity alludes you, I encourage you read more to learn how you can embrace your inner Creative -you’re only a step away from that Genius spark.
Creativity is the ability to continuously make decisions on the ﬂy while in the moment. Whether I volley ideas back and forth with Andrew during a project, en route to the grocery store, or over a glass of wine, it’s a cerebral tickle that needs to be fed.
My natural curiosity leads me to open myself to other cultures. When I expose myself to a variety of experiences (academic, corporate USA, freelancing, galleries, museums, non-proﬁts, travelling, volunteering), I try to remain objective, shaking off any preconceived ideas or inﬂuences in order to understand the authentic core.
4 Stages of Creativity Augmented by my Personal Philosophy:
- Preparation/Investigation – Natural curiosity coupled with the importance of research aids in me this stage.
- Design/Illustrate – Applying different perspectives (ant’s eye view, birds’ eye view, underwater, straight on), color, deﬁning purpose, all provide me the fundamentals for exploring opportunities and solutions.
- Incubation/Illumination – Walk away. Take a shower. Play a round of golf. Do something extremely different that exercises a different part of your brain. As soon as I shower, I realize that I’m more concerned about rinsing the soap out of my hair than I am about whether the color blue I’ve chosen for my painting is the right shade. At this point, usually the ‘Aha’ moment hits and I am able to return to adjust the design components to make a better product. Design and Incubation cycle back and forth until I have achieved a point of conﬁdence in the solution.
- Veriﬁcation /Finalize – This is where the ﬁnal stage of design and output happen for presentation.
Sharing Creative Process
Sharing allows me to dissolve the myth that creativity isn’t about alchemy.
“Creativity is a process”
With every process there’s a if/then clause. Replacing the perceived alchemy of creativity with process doesnʼt seem so scary. The ability to reduce the process of creativity into bite-sized tasks takes the pressure off and allows me to check my ego at the door. Sharing makes good ideas better. I’ve learned not to fall in love with my own work or my own ideas. I have fallen madly, deeply, and passionately in love with the process of sharing. The pure act of sharing idea volley is electric to me. Kinetic. There are very few people with whom I am able to do this and constantly seek others who really dig the same act of back and forth.
Sharing the creative process, say, with something that I’m meeting on for the ﬁrst time (tile ceramic class), I take the liberty of infusing my progress with ultimately raw perspective. I’ll unabashedly show you the shaky hand result that is the antithesis of my ﬁnal work because I’m learning to work with a new material. I’m conﬁdent of my learning and know that my work will only get better, so I’m not ﬁlled with trepidation when revealing some of the most shocking and humorous results of my ﬁrst attempts.
Physical Manifestation of Creativity & Sharing
It’s not uncommon for me to get physically excited about possibility; I start shouting out ideas like a Jeopardy contestant. Fellow students in my ceramics class witnessed this last Saturday. When I get stymied on a project, I get physically active. I dance in place to dislodge any idea wedgies hampering me.
Sharing is a natural part of who I am. I believe sharing is another word for complement. I say, “This is what I know, I think you should know it, too. Hear it, consider it, implement it if you want.”After years of learning my craft and all the supporting tasks as a entrepreneur, I feel conﬁdent in my ability because of the mistakes I’ve made. My ability to redesign my outlook if one solution doesn’t work makes me a better problem solver. This is why I’ve learned to develop at least 3 solutions to one challenge and continue to solve in the background while working if the ﬁrst 3 don’t hit the mark.
I want to share my knowledge because I want to see people succeed. The reason I continue to feed people w/tips, how-tos, and you-shoulds, is because I see that they’re about to learn it anyway (the hardway) and I just want to save them some steps, or they may be stymied by inertia caused by lack of resources. I know what works for me and what doesn’t and keeping a myriad of alternatives in my back pocket helps when life throws wildcards my way. Someone may not implement my methods or processes, but at least this gives them a springboard from which to jump into their own pool of ideas. If that begins a discussion, I’m all for it because then I can continue learning and generate more ideas that lurk in the dark recesses which need to get out.
On one of my ﬁrst dates with Andrew, we went to a Stanton McDonald-Wright exhibit. As we were walking thru, allowing our eyes to absorb the melody of color, we overtly had what I call, “A simultaneous paradigm shift.” We both stopped, straightened up, abandoning our public ﬂirting, and concurrently cood, “Wooooooow! I see it! What an awesome composition of undulating and pulsating color and rhythm.”
Moving from physical manifestation to emotional manifestation is not uncommon for me. If you ever see me in public, you may just see a creativity jig happen before your very eyes.
Part 2: Assigning the Genius
When you’re done, please watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on Assigning the Genius, a great wrap up to the Creative Process.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and the obstacles you’ve overcome to tame that onerous Genius into a purring Creative.