Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Creative Process

I've been thinking extensively about the creative process lately. It was a huge revelation to me in college when I discovered that it wasn't just a flash in the flashpot. Even though any creative effort takes time, it was a great consolation to me to know that I could build something block by block—that nearly never does anything just flow out of a brain and be perfect.
This concept of building a creative entity wasn't taught to me at school. In fact, it seemed most professors really thought the creative process was a flash. They may have added one more element that was difficult for them to name and express. I call it the zone. I believe in the zone.
Most of us who practice art of any kind have probably experienced both the flash and the zone. My thesis, however, is that 99% or more of the creative process actually takes place in the third element of the process—the work. I believe the three elements have no particular order. Often we begin with the work and later comes the flash and zone.
Put a little thought into these monikers and give me your feedback.


Christine Thackeray said...

I think the only way you make it to "the zone" is through work. Whether in music where you spend hours and hours practicing or in writing where you have learned the building blocks over years and structured your plot for months- that's when you hit the "zone."

Sadly, my knees have been terrible for the last couple years and I haven't hit a physical zone in all that time, whereas before I remember swimming or running where you felt like you hit your stride and could go on forever. For me, that's the zone.

I believe in healing and hope someday the physical zone will come again-- but it won't ever if I don't WORK for it. For now I just hope that the writing zone comes now and then. Ah, well.

Cindy Beck said...

I like that concept ... three stages to the creative process. I just wish the flash would come along more often! :)

Triple Nickel said...

I generally find I can only control one element, the work. Then, hopefully the flash will come or better, the zone. Then true creativity arrives. In my case I usually work, have a hot flash, then race to the end zone only to fumble! Ah, but that's life, isn't it?

Tristi Pinkston said...

I find that I get a flash of an idea, start into the work, and then hit the zone. Usually throughout the zone, I'll have other flashes, which take me to a different place in the zone.

JoAnn Arnold said...

great food for thought. Thank you.

I, like Tristi, get the flash of an idea. then I put it to work. It's like any form of art, you have to pay attention to the little details hidden in the shadows. Is that the zone? I'm not sure. But I do know work is the main effort. Work is what brings it all together

Heather Justesen said...

When I really hit the zone I find I write really fast and can't put my laptop down. What I'm writing usually turns out pretty good too. Usually I've only done a moderate amount of researching and planning, and I'm still super excited about the idea. If I mull the story over for too long before putting it on paper (or on the computer) I tend to lose the excitement and drive.

Unfortunately, most of the time it's hard to find the zone, and it's more work than inspiration--or at least the inspiration isn't as easy to find.

Ont he other hand, writing 'int he zone' makes me a discovery writer for the most part, which means far more editng and revising in the end because I don't plot well enough in advance.

kersten campbell said...

This is so wise and true. That has happened to me over and over...inspiration comes only after I have dug in and started to work.

Lyle Mortimer said...

Hey! You guys are great! Isn't it fun to break all the rules? Thanks for your comments. Who has the schedule of who is writing when?

C.S. Bezas said...

I love your thoughts, Lyle. And I'd LOVE to read your thesis!