hands playing piano keyboard“Take the action and the insight will follow.”
–Anne Lamott, author
The Musician’s Way, p. 107

Suppose that you want to start a creative project – compose a solo, write a song, design a logo, or whatever.

You’ve done your research and set aside time to work.

Do you typically dive into such projects, or do you tend to procrastinate?

If you avoid tackling creative tasks, take heart. Countless people find it difficult to act on their creative ideas.

I’ve learned, though, that by understanding particular steps in the creative process, we can all become more confident creators.

Here’s a snapshot of a 4-part framework that I use to help people create productively.

“By understanding particular steps in the creative process, we can all become more confident creators.”

Four Steps in the Creative Process

1. Invent

Once you set an attainable goal, invent a small but cohesive portion of material without judging the quality of your work.

Freely write, sketch, outline, or improvise. Be playful, and let your ideas flow.

2. Evaluate

Consider the appealing aspects of what you made, and then home in on things that might benefit from revision.

Evaluate with an open-hearted curiosity as opposed to being judgmental.

Then, pick something to revise.

3. Revise

Toy with possible revisions, being as experimental as you like.

A revision could involve a minor tweak or the invention of new material.

After executing your revision, evaluate the results, revise a few more times if you choose, and then accept the material as it is for now.

Take a break, and then either invent another portion of material, or stop for a while to reflect.The Musician's Way book cover

4. Reflect

Think about your creative process; maybe jot down your thoughts in a journal.

Identify which steps seemed most straightforward and any in which you encountered difficulties.

At the same time, consider which creative tactics to use again and whether to try new ones going forward.

Set a goal and time for your next creative session, and then forget about your work for now, letting your thoughts incubate. In that way, you benefit from, among other things, both focused and diffuse mental processes.

In sum, these four steps might play out as follows:

Invent –> Evaluate –> Revise –> Evaluate –> Revise –> Evaluate. Reflect.

Related posts
Getting Started
How Not to Be Creative
Scamper to Higher Creativity
Ten Tips for Ongoing Creativity

© 2012 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Horiyan, licensed from Shutterstock.com