An Intro to the Creative Process

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Learn the 4-stages to bring creative ideas to life

What is Creativity?

In its simplest definition, creativity is defined as

a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is created. Its form may or may not be tangible, understood or even known by anyone else beyond the creator.

Everything we see was created by someone, somehow through their idea being realized. This captivates me. There are few things as mysterious and essential as the creative capacity of human beings.

Think about it for a moment. We can create anything. We can create life or we can create a lifestyle. We can create a healthy nourishing relationship or we can create a toxic one. Our creations are reflections of how we try to make sense of our experiences in the world.

To me, creativity is about showing up, being present and taking on the sometimes challenging task of shaping and expressing who you are, what you think is important and who you want to become.

That’s why creativity, and specifically the creative process is an incredibly powerful tool for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness.

The Creative Process

The 4 step process to bring ideas to life

Stage 1: Preparation (aka Curiosity)

“Replace fear with curiosity.” — Stephen Spielberg

Everything is interesting. If you don’t feel it, look closer.

Curiosity is where it all begins. Curiosity is like the little piece of thread that you can grab onto and start pulling. It will lead you to more and more materials so that you can explore, learn and prepare your mind to be inspired.

The best way to feed your curiosity is to have novel experiences that allow yourself to see things from a new perspective. Rather than trying to understand everything, allow your brain to focus your attention on something not yet known so that you can consider new possibilities and create space for the unknown.

Stage 2: Incubation (aka Chill)

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” — Louis Pasteur

Your job in this stage is to let go of your conscious and active mind and allow your subconscious to take over.

This is when you go for a walk or take a hot bath or another practice that relaxes your mind and allows your thoughts to flow in whatever direction they need to. Time and time again research has shown that allowing your mind to wander leads to greater creativity.

It’s important to give yourself space and relaxation and protect yourself from the stresses of daily life.

Stage 3: Illumination

“There’s so much information. People don’t need more information, they need ‘aha moments,’ awareness, and things that actually shift and change them.” — Jack Canfield

This your “aha! eureka!” moment. It’s when the connections you’ve been making start to click into place and surface back into your conscious mind. You get a rush of excitement as you develop more clarity around key elements and next steps in whatever it is you’re creating.

These moments come at seemingly random times, so it’s always a great idea to have some paper and a pen or a voice recorder so that you can be sure to capture your ideas before they disappear back into your subconscious.

Stage 4: Implementation

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” ― John Lennon

This is where your ideas come to life and actually see the light of day. It’s when you make your creation and bring it out of your head into real life. Whether it’s an artistic creation like a painting or piece of music or it’s a lifestyle change like implementing a morning practice or taking a class, this is where the rubber meets the road.