The Creative Process. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran, everyone has their own unique way of getting from Point A to Point Z with a new creative project. Within the process, our ideas evolve, expand, and transform into something truly representative of us. For that to happen, we must appreciate and respect the process and its ups and downs.
Let’s talk about it!
More Than Just the Final Product
“Enjoyment of the process is the secret that erases the myth of the Great Reward” (112).
Completing that novel. Finishing that painting. Handing over that script. These are all great moments of pride for artists worldwide. It’s the excitement and elation of accomplishing something. Taking an idea and making it into a real, tangible thing.
We’ve all heard the clichés about the Starving Artist and the Tortured Artist, but it’s important to know that these are just stereotypical symbols that don’t reflect reality. Or, rather, they shouldn’t. Yes, sometimes the creative process can be challenging and frustrating, but if you accept and understand that that’s just how the process works, you’ll be prepared to face those difficulties with enthusiasm instead of grief.
Every project takes time. And within that timeframe, there will be elements that prevent you from doing your best work each day. It happens. The key is working through these rough patches to break through to the other side and get yourself back on track. If you are truly excited and passionate about what you’re working on, that should be motivation enough to keep you focused and on the right track.
You should never dread working on something that you have chosen to work on yourself. There’s no point in wallowing in misery over a self-assigned project. No one wins in that situation. If you decide to work on a project, make sure you’re 100% invested and ready to put in the hours, weeks, months, or even years to complete it.
The Creative Process is also a Learning Process. With each project, you’ll discover ways to make various steps easier, faster, or even eliminate them altogether. Once you’ve streamlined your process, you’ll have the framework to apply to any future project you wish to work on.
Remembering the “enjoyment of the process” is important since this is where you’ll live for 99% of the project.
Fun is the Key
“By Enjoying the Process, we can stretch that awareness out so that it’s no longer only a moment, but covers the whole thing. Then we can have a lot of fun.” (113)
A singing nanny once said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap; the job’s a game.” The Creative Process requires a lot of hard work to get from a basic idea to a completed project. When we make sure that the entire process is enjoyable, we can keep our momentum going and make sure we follow through and get to the end.
This is why it’s important to take the time to really think about and understand your personal Creative Process. How do you work best? What time of day do you work best? Do you prefer to collaborate or work alone? Do you need noise or silence to stay focused? Do you need to write a detailed outline, or will bullet points work for you? How many hours a day can you work before you lose focus or need a break?
These and other questions are important to think about, experiment with, and fine-tune over many projects to see what works best for you.
Every writer has their own unique process of how they write. Some write for a few hours. Others write for twelve hours. Steven King writes six polished pages daily, while James Patterson works on multiple projects with multiple collaborators throughout his writing day. Some authors write on the computer, while others, like former President Obama, write longhand on legal pads.
Again, work out a process that helps you create and allows the ideas to flow, and you’ll enjoy the entire process from start to finish.
I always feel it’s better to be a little sad when a project is completed than relieved that it’s over.
Think About It
This week, think about your Personal Creative Process. What has worked for you in the past? What hasn’t worked? What new things could you try to see if they help make the process more enjoyable for you? What can you do to help your creativity and creative process flourish over the next year?
Happy Creating, and I’ll see you next time!