The creative process can seem like some kind of mythical phenomenon that only a chosen few are destined to experience. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Everyone has the capacity to be creative – and to experience the wonders of the creative process.
But first, what is the ‘creative process’?
It’s essentially the process of connecting the dots in order to come up with a final idea or solution to a problem. It can refer to creating a piece of art – or even a way to design a complicated spreadsheet!
It can involve research, discussion, experimentation and a whole heap of exploration. Often, you might draw on the most unlikely experiences from your past when coming up with your solution or work of art. Like how a tattoo gave me the idea for an entire business model (long story, perhaps another time!). Or how issues surrounding diversity and inclusion inspired my ‘Flying Apostrophe’ series.
The dots you connect – based on the unique experiences in YOUR life – will create the magic that emerges from the creative process.
We’re our own worst enemy
However, we’re also our own worst enemy when it comes to this. Because while many of us embark on the creative process, some of us give up. Sometimes, we give up because it’s hard. Sometimes, we give up because we get distracted by some other Bright Shiny Object. But, mostly, we give up because we don’t have faith the magic is going to show up.
We need to push through in order for it to appear. I know that other creatives – who push through – understand this. Whether you’re experiencing the saggy middle of the novel you’re writing, or you look at the canvas and think it’s a total mess, the most human instinct is to throw your hands in the air and give up. After all, there’s Netflix to watch. Or kids to look after.
The reward for wading through the uncertainty
But if you recognise that’s what’s happening and acknowledge that you just need to go through the muck and uncertainty, you WILL come out the other end.
Sure, sometimes that process seems to take longer than it should. But, again, your patience is going to be rewarded if you stick with it. Be relentless in your pursuit of that magic. Because it’s there. Waiting for you to connect the dots, waiting for you to have faith in your own creative ability, waiting to emerge in a way that is truly magical.
By Valerie Khoo