How many times have you started a creative project and not finished it or given up. Or how many times have you thought about starting a creative project and don’t get around to doing it. A lot of times when it comes to the creative process we tend to think of it as a uniform way of creating. From a young age we are taught rules and methods when it comes to creating. Although those rules and methods are great guidelines, we all have our own ways of doing things. And in these ways of doing things that are personal and unique to us is where often times our creativity flourishes. That is why it is vital for us as creatives to take the time to reflect and really figure out what our creative process is.
Why this is important
I have put together a small list here that you can reflect on and take into consideration when it comes to your unique creative process. Many times we skip this step and just jump straight into creating and this can land us in a frustrating space as a creative where you feel like you don’t have enough time, you can’t come up with ideas and this means you just can’t create. Often times this is because of trying to replicate others’ creative processes and not really sitting down and figuring out what YOUR own creative process is.
So before I share some tips and points for you to take into consideration when figuring out your creative process, I want you to download our Creativity Questionnaire we have put together for you! These are 14 really substantive questions that dig deep and help you explore your creative process. Through answering these questions we are hoping you will be able to identify your creative process and really recognize what environment, times and inspirational modes are critical to your creativity thus making creating less of a struggle!
So here are the 5 things creatives get wrong when it comes to their creative process:
1. Figure out what your optimal time is to create
You really need to figure out when the best time for you to create is or at what time your creative juices flow. If you are not a morning person and you are sitting there trying to create in the morning then it is going to get really frustrating and you are more likely to give up on that creative project. You really need to recognize what time you have the ability to focus and what time your ideas come to you. Now these are two different things. All your brilliant ideas might come to you in the mornings or whilst you shower and your optimal time to take action on those thoughts and ideas might be at late night or right away.
2. Understand if you are small-detail oriented or a bigger picture person
Sometimes we struggle in our creative process because we try to do everything at the same time. This is where it becomes important to reflect and figure out if you are a personality that tends to focus on smaller details or the bigger picture when it comes to your creations. This is especially important when understanding how you work and how you can improve. There are pro's and con's to both processes but perhaps as an exercise it would be a good idea to switch how you do things. Meaning, if you are small details type of person try thinking of the bigger picture first and vice versa. You will see that it will bring something new to the table in regards to your ideas and may improve it in a way you were not able to before.
3. Recognize where you get your ideas and inspiration from and feed your creative soul
As a creative it’s important to continuously feed our “creative soul” as I like to put it. Some of us get inspiration externally and some internally. The first step is to really sit and reflect: where do I get inspiration from? Is it externally? That would be your surroundings, going on a walk, conversations, music, visiting museums and art galleries. Or is it Internally? That is being by yourself and reflecting, maybe meditating or writing in a journal and your thoughts just come to you. Or is it a bit of both?
The next step after figuring out what feeds your creative soul is TO FEED YOUR CREATIVE SOUL! That’s right, go to a coffee shop, listen to music, go on more walks or read more books, visit the latest exhibition at the art gallery OR spend more time meditating or writing in a journal, or even being alone. I would say this is very crucial in your creative process. If we are not nourishing our creative minds and souls and we are constantly “busy,” then it often becomes difficult to find inspiration to create.
4. Recognize the hurdles you need to overcome and make an action plan to overcome them
What is really getting in the way of your creative process? Time? Environment? Money? Commitment? Inspiration?
We tend to put less weight and importance to creating in our society thus we can always come up with a million different reasons not to create. But honestly there are creative ways to tackle those hurdles or blocks and create! A great way to do this is by coming up with a list of reasons or hurdles you face when it comes to creating and then come up with solutions or actions to overcome these hurdles.
For example: money. Many of us get carried away when embarking on a new creative endeavour and think we need the best paints, best books, best camera etc to start, but you are wrong my friends! Often times you can utilize the resources that you currently have to take upon the creative activity. Pick up a paper and pencil and start sketching, you don’t necessarily need to buy the fanciest sketch book or pencils.
Or as a second example: time. You can be creative at all sorts of times, just put away your phone for a bit or don’t binge watch Netflix for a week and all of a sudden you have tons of time to go for a walk, listen to music, meditate, go to a coffee shop, and attempt that creative idea and take action. It’s just a matter of breaking away from our so called “busy” life that we create for ourselves.
5. Choose progression over perfection
I know this is a key element in my creative process that I had to recognize was present and then I had to put tremendous work into. Many of us come up with an idea and are so focused on the end result and how we envision the end result to be. It is important to reflect if you are one of these people and to recognize that creating or mastering any skill is progression and not perfectionism. Thus, if your first attempt did not result in what you had envisioned and it is not up to the level you would like, keep working! Also recognize that the formula isn’t: Idea + action = done and perfect! No no no! I have struggled with this quite a lot. Creating requires patience with oneself and the process. Therefore, after recognizing this you will understand that it isn’t about getting to the end result as fast as you can but it is about the process of getting there and how much value that process brings to your creativity!