The creative process is something we all use to generate ideas, make art, problem solve etc. However, it’s not something we necessarily pay much attention to. Understanding the process can help us to see where we are and how we are moving forward with our ideas, and to identify when and where we get stuck. Let’s take a look at the 5 stages:

  1. Inspiration

An idea comes to you – this could either be related to something you are already thinking about, or could seemingly come out of nowhere. Something deep within you feels the urge to explore it. You start to gather more thoughts around the idea e.g. by mind mapping, doing research, delving deeper into your own thoughts about the idea. You allow yourself to think freely and out of the box. You are using your own experience, memory, thoughts and feelings to inform your thinking.

2. Absorbing and processing

This is a period of time where you let go for a bit. Your ideas need time to settle, time to wander through your mind, time to absorb into you…it doesn’t go away…you might say you are ‘mulling it over’. Great things are happening at this stage, even if you feel you aren’t doing anything! Don’t worry – your subconscious has got your back!

3. The Ah-Ha! Moment

At this point, something ‘clicks’ and those thoughts and ideas have started to come together – it all starts to make sense to you. You have made the connections you need to and you know what it is you want to do and how you want to do it. This can often happen when you least expect it!

4. Implementation

This can be a tricky stage as self-doubt may start to kick in. You start to evaluate your idea and validate it. This could lead to you spending some time back in the first 3 stages for a while as you refine the idea. You might start talking to others about the idea to gain feedback, but it’s important to remember that the end result needs to align with your original inspiration and purpose. You may find feedback useful, but it’s not the be all and end all of what you create. Take time to build your confidence in your idea. Make sure you know you will enjoy what you are creating and that it means something to you.

5. Elaboration

You now feel ready to bring your idea to life. The initial inspiration pushes you forward to make it a reality. Again, you may find you move through the previous stages as you start to implement your idea as things don’t always work as you think they will, but you will be motivated and determined to make it happen! You finalise and refine it, and share it with the world!

So, as you can see, there is a lot that goes on in the creative process. An artist does not just paint an amazing picture, a writer does not just write a book, a business owner doesn’t just start a business. They are intrinsically drawn to create something based on passions and emotions with a desire to investigate and grow the concept. There is a deep-rooted motivation that pushes them to test the idea through trial and error to uncover a satisfactory outcome that fits their desire and intention. They move through the process of creativity in their own way, at their own pace, knowing there is no right or wrong, exploring the options and playing around with different ways of doing things.

And what about that outcome? Well, that could be personal growth and self-exploration, expanding business by looking at innovative ways to entice new customers, or it may be trying to solve a societal problem such as creating renewable energy to help reduce the effects of climate change. There are so many ways that creativity comes into play in our lives. The next time you have an idea or come across a problem that needs solving, take a look at the creative process and see if it resonates with you.