The Creative Process

Hello gangsters.  I hope you liked that last discussion piece. Just tell me, how many of you went and got a cookie after reading it? Hmm, thought so.

As promised, here is another discussion piece from TLG. This one focuses on The Creative Writing process. It aims to help writers and readers become aware of how they write, read and edit so they have control over their writing. It helped this gangster.

Each month that learning curve bends a little tighter but that’s what it’s all about. Making a boomerang out of skills so they come back to you one day. Then you can use them again.

Keep writing. Keep editing. Keep believing in the power of words.

Peace out.

TLG.

(The power is strong. My partner just walked in to my study and offered me a cookie out of nowhere. Believe and success will happen!)

Have you ever stopped to think about how the creative process works? What about your own creative process?

I once thought that getting an idea for writing was like standing at the back of a restaurant to put the garbage and spotting a stray dog wander across the top of an empty lane – I spot him further up another small street, he is sniffing at something in the gutter. I follow him, not knowing where he will take me, not knowing what will happen next; simply catching a glimpse at the world through his eyes. My mind races, takes the whole scene in before me. He turns left, then right then suddenly sneaks under a fence and down a hill, running off in to the distance.

The thing is, the formation of ideas isn’t as random as this dog.

The creative process is divided in to four basic parts: preparation, incubation, illumination and implementation. During preparation, a writer may revise their work, read, or write in preparation for their creative endeavour. In the incubation phase a writer’s sub- conscience takes part in what is known as divergent thinking; divergent thinking is connecting, separating and searching for new ideas. Illumination is described by a guy called Gilkey as ‘the Eureka moment’, where a sudden urge to record an idea, or ideas, takes place in the conscience. Finally, the implementation phase (sometimes referred to as verification) is where a writer’s work flows, or is produced and communicated. These labels apply to the creative process in general; however, specific focus will be applied to creative writers. It has been suggested by a guy called Epstein that the creative process is in fact predictable and orderly and that the “generative mechanisms that underline creativity are universal” (Epstein 1999). This means that everyone has the ability to be creative but some people don’t know how to express it.

In my research on the topic, I found that it is quite important to have creative input in order to have creative output. My theory for writers block for example is that if I can’t seem to write, then I haven’t taken enough of the world around me in. Reading books or magazines, watching movies, listening to music, socialising and taking part in exercise are all good examples of how people strive for creative input on a subconscious level. I myself, have become quite partial to a jigsaw puzzle lately and I think it is because that’s where my mind can be at ease and in the right state to form solid ideas from what the day has given me in preparation to write and express myself, ie. divergent thinking.

So getting an idea is about vicariously chasing a random dog for no reason down a street but the dog has been there the whole time. The dog helps us explore our mind, allows us to see what the subconscious has been building while we’ve been busy in the conscious world of work and chores, then finally, it throws us a bone to work with.

That way I guess, we write what we consume! I find that sometimes reading a certain author’s books or watching different genre of television show will have different effects on my writing. So tell me, are you what you eat?

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