The Creative Process
Creativity is the process by which original patterns are formed and expressed. The pattern need not be “new” in the sense that no one has ever thought of it before, but only that it be original with the person himself. History is full of simultaneous invention and inventions lost in one era only to be “re-invented” later on. We can never establish “newness” because our knowledge of history is so incomplete. However, we can establish originality because it relates to the personal transaction between the person and his environment.
For example, Newton, like everyone else, had seen apples fall before, and had seen the moon many times, but for the first time, he saw that “both were falling”, and thus created a theory of gravitation. The idea was original for him.
The creative process starts with:
DESIRE. You must for some reason want to create something original. Creativity starts with motivation. Such as:
• DESIRE to solve a problem.
• CURIOUS about something you do not understand.
• EXPRESSION of a personal experience (through the arts).
• RESPONSE to a change in the environment.
PREPARATION. Gather, absorb, and acknowledge all pertinent AND seemingly impertinent information. Make the unfamiliar familiar.
• EXPOSURE to the experience.
MANIPULATION. Take all of the preparation and poke at it! Try to find a new pattern… look at it upside-down, backwards and sideways. This time it is about making the familiar STRANGE.
INCUBATION. Drop the “problem” and do something else! The unconscious mind keeps wrestling with the original problem, i.e., you wake up in the middle of the night and you have the answer.
ILLUMINATION. This is your “flash”, your “AH-HA!” or “EUREKA!” You know that it is your answer by the sudden release of psychic tensions that have built up through the entire process.
VERIFICATION. The process by which the new answer is evaluated for its effectiveness in answering the problem. For example, in advertising we have tests markets; an inventor can actually see if it physically works.
We inherit, not through our genes, but through our childhood training, the feeling that what IS, are “right.” How many of you have heard that creativity is best defined through the eyes of a child? Children are constantly confronting their environments and these confrontations are constantly made up of original discoveries and inventions. As so many of us here have experienced, over time, social pressures that have required us to conform… and most of us lose our sense of wonder and become less and less creative—trapped in a concrete mold not if our own making.
A truly creative person is essentially a “perpetual child.” We have each been gifted with creativity—our gift back to the world is to USE IT!