Demystifying The Creative Process

finger painting

Remember kindergarten when we used to play with finger paints, watercolors, crayons, chalk, colored pencils, markers and other fun things.

We’d paint with great abandon not worried about what anyone would think about our pictures. And we’d have fun.

Our teachers would hang everyone’s art on the bulletin board. They would ask us, “Tell us about your picture,” without any judgment or verdicts of good and bad.

Everyone was considered a creative artist. We were all creative using our whole-brains.

Creativity, Passion And Purpose

So what happened?

When did we decide that we were no longer creative? When did we forgo the childhood glee of imaginative play and creative arts?

When was the last time you gave your imagination free license to be creative? Many of us are not used to thinking creatively in our daily professional lives.

And not using our creativity neglects a key mental ability.

Englishman Sir Kenneth Robinson believes that we are not using our creative resources enough. He says that when we tap into our creativity, we reinvigorate our passion and breathe purpose back into our lives.

Robinson contends that the creative spirit is an essential part of human nature and progress. He posits that it’s dangerous to neglect our creativity.

If you feel that you are stuck in a rut, or you watching the clock all day because work isn’t enjoyable any more, check your creativity tank. It might be because your creativity is inactive. You brain might be craving a change. So find something creative to do and breathe passion and purpose back into your life.

The Five Step Creative Process

How do you use creativity to breathe passion and purpose into your life?

Well, creativity is not some magical state of mind.

Nor is it an out of body experience where you are suddenly possessed by some higher power and light bulbs appear over your head.

Eureka moments are the result of practice, patience and process.

Social psychologist Graham Wallas created one of the first published creative process models. Wallas identified five stages of creativity:

1. Preparation

The research phase where data and materials are gathered and organized. This is the time to focus on the problem and its parameters.

2. Incubation

Lay the problem aside and allow emotion, intuition and child-like ideas to ponder the problem.

3. Intimation

A feeling arises that you are on the edge of solving the problem. The solution is near.

4. Illumination

This is the fun part. Consider many different, unique ideas to solve the problem, no matter how bizarre or strange. The solution is illuminated, probably in a rough state, rising to the top. It evolves from the unconscious mind to our conscious awareness.

5. Verification

Now you can judge your ideas. The most promising idea is fine tuned, elaborated on and applied.

When was the last time you were completely absorbed by an activity such as reading a novel, staring at a painting or doodling, that you lost track of time and felt transported to a different place? What happened and how was creativity involved?

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  1. Love Jeff Hurt on his Creativity streak! The creative process has been eliminated in much of the corporate cultures and it is a tragedy. Not only are we cheating ourselves of innovation, we’re not having any fun. The work place can be a demoralizing environment if you’re not allowed to play a bit. Reaching back to our native tongue of play – we access all the creativity and freedom trapped inside. What you hit on at the end – flow – when you lose track of time while at play – is well documented and well researched and the source of many of the Eureka discoeries that benefit our society.

    Thanks for a great post, Jeff!

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      It’s so unfortunate that corporate culture has eliminated much of the creative process. It can be so fun and rewarding. I like how you stated it, “Reaching back to our native tongue of play – we access all the creativity and freedom trapped inside.” Those are some powerful words! We need more play in our lives!!!

      Thanks for reading and encouraging us with your insights too!

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