Creativity cannot be killed but it can be starved into stagnation by ignorance. Ignorance of the process. Or ignorance about the thing or experience you’re trying to create.
When we know what we’re making, and are confident of our ability to bring it into being, we don’t overthink it. It feels as if it just happens. (Dinner, anyone?)
But when what we want to create is a stretch for us (million dollars, anyone?), we need to investigate its world, until we know it inside out, until we thoroughly understand it.
It’s astounding to me how many people say they want, for example, more money — while completing avoiding, or rejecting, all information about the topic, dubbing it boring, complicated… whatever.
After fear, the cause of most creative blocks is under-investigation, not knowing the world of your intention.
Investigation, also called research, is key throughout the process. As seeds of knowledge are captured and examined, what we are creating starts to take shape — giving rise to new questions which, in turn, give rise to more exploration.
Thus, origination and investigation travel together, back and forth, hand in hand, pushing and pulling each other into shape all the way.
You know, however, that you have moved into the 3rd stage where investigation predominates when incubation (stage two) of your intention (stage one) begins to settle inside some limitations. You realise, for example, that your intention to buy a house means you’re going to have to get a raise… or a new job.
Or you twig that what you’re writing is a play, not a novel.
Or it hits you that if you do truly want to have children, your current squeeze has got to go.
These limitations form a nucleus around which investigation can revolve. It will take one of three forms, each roughly corresponding to the three dimensions of the mind.
- Investigation of Fact (Surface Mind).
- Investigation of Memory (Deep Mind) .
- Investigation of Imagination (Beyond Mind) .
We’ll look at the first of these next time.
The Seven Stages of the Creative Process.
The 1st Stage: Intention (Choosing)
The 2nd Stage: Incubation (Germinating)
The 4th Stage: Composition (Drafting)
The 5th Stage: Amplification (Deepening)
The 6th Stage: Clarification (Editing)
The 7th Stage: Completion (Finishing & Going Public)