This is me planning out an idea I have for an iPhone App… it has stages and steps that I need to reflect and review myself.

Process is so important to the act of creation…

It is those steps we take to reach a creative product, to achieve a creative goal, or to realize the creative importance of something we do that make our creative process. And while I believe creative process can share some of the same generic qualities across people, I do believe it is unique to each one of us, a reflection of our individuality, which is what makes our artwork our own.

What steps can we take as creatives to improve our process? And what do I mean by improve our process? If each process is ultimately particular to the kind of work we make, isn’t our process exactly what it is supposed to be?

Step One: Identify the qualities of your creative process.

Hopefully this is obvious to most of you but if you don’t actually reflect on how your process works, then how can you do anything about it? It is really important to take a step back and think on how you reach your creative product. I believe people who say things like, “I let the work come to me…” generally have limited reflection on steps they reach to make their art. I worry too this kind of thinking generates fear and alienates people from the creativity they may have within themselves. It probably leads to inconsistent creativity and output as well.

Step Two: Review and reflect on outlined process in Step One.

Ask yourself why you think you take each step that you do while you create. Does it enhance or impeded your creative output? Star any steps you feel essential to your creativity.

Step Three: Create a refined strategy for making your creative works.

Refine your process. Using the notes and reflection in Step Two, create a new outline to aim for when producing your art. Perhaps you better align the starred creativity essentials of your process outline. Or, you eliminate a few steps you believe are hindering your productive efforts. If you are really into streamlining and order, I suggest you only make one or two big changes at a time. This will allow your process to hold some of the integrity of the original practice while also allowing you to more easily observe if the specific changes you’ve made are helpful or hurtful.

Step Four: Practice.

You must actually TRY out this new outline of creative process! If you don’t practice making art with it, how can you know if it is more or less helpful to your creative process?!

Special note:  It is extremely important that you are not always in a reflective state. It is that reflective state that can lead to judgement and negativity that would actually be counter productive while you are in the middle of creative process.

Just like making ceramic pottery has specific steps and stages, so does your idea development!

Step Five: See Step One.

Due to the above concern I suggest you conduct this practice quarterly or twice a year. Even once a year is better than none! And when you decide to this, complete the reflection portion (Step Two) while you are NOT working on anything. You want this to help grow your practice, not block or hinder your productivity!

Now, there may be times your process changes according to the project or creative goal you are aiming for and that is OKAY! While I am a structured being, we all must realize that flexibility and quiet or not so quiet moments of surprise often bring the best in artists. Be open to this as well.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Begin outlining your creative process and follow the steps to help you enhance your creative process!

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