Creativity is Messy

flickr photo courtesy ikkoskinen

Are you ready to get messy?

How do you come up with those brilliant ideas? Do you have a step by step process? Or are you open to the spontaneous creative approach?

Everyone has a different approach and finding what works for you may seem like you’ve hit the jackpot – until it stops working.

That’s when you have to be open to other ways. Think differently about creativity.

I have a process that I know I follow, but how I implement the different steps in the creative process changes depending upon the situation, my mood, and the topic. In a way I don’t necessarily follow  a process I created, I have written down a few thoughts about what I have observed as I create.

By sharing the following, I’m hoping that 1) you’ll find a bit of inspiration and ideas to use in your creative process and 2) that you’ll share some of the things that work for you – we learn from each other!



Linda’s Rules of Creativity

(They’re actually more like guidelines)

  1. Creativity is a messy process – it seems like chaos for a good part of the process and I often feel like I’m not making any progress, but I am.
  2. The process starts with a seed of an idea – usually found in a conversation, a phrase, a question, or an overheard conversation. You know, things that make you go – hmmmm.
  3. The seed leads to a flurry of activity – usually a quick google search or a visit to wikipedia.
  4. Validating the seed’s potential is done by bringing in up in casual conversation and gaging the reaction.
  5. A brainstorming session of sorts soon follows. It could be a mind mapping session, a brainstormed list, or a free-writing session (usually the free-writing is done at the local coffee shop).
  6. Brainstorming often produces a lot more seeds – like a dandelion spreads it’s seed with the wind. That’s why capturing the brainstorming on paper (or audio recording) is critical!
  7. Once the seed has been watered with interest from the casual group and brainstorming – be ready to accept information at a moment’s notice. Whether you capture your further ideas on paper, on a voicemail, or in a text doesn’t matter – just keep something around to capture it – always!
  8. The creative process is a continuous loop. Even as your idea forms into a project or presentation, you’ll continue to loop through the above steps 2 through 7. But don’t despair. The loop is an upward spiral moving closer and closer to the time of delivery.
  9. The creative process has a timeline of it’s own. There may be ‘wait time’ in between the initial spark and the next flurry of creativity. Give your seed time to germinate and grow!
  10. On the other hand, if you need to create a fertile environment for your creativity – try free-writing again, or changing your location.

My creativity has ebbs and flows and when I need it to flow I look at these guidelines to recognize and remember that my creative process has a certain pattern. How about you?