The 5 Steps of the Creative Process for Writers
You know when you look at creative work – whether that’s writing, cooking, art, crafts, music or something else – and you’re amazed at the end result? And you think you’ll never be able to reach that level of brilliantness? Well, let me tell you that you can.
Remember, you’re seeing the end result. At its outset, the book/painting/composition/whatever will have looked totally different. And as more time and energy were poured into the project, it morphed, changed direction and grew into what it was meant to be.
Creativity is not magic but rather a clever concoction of influence, practice, imitation and your own interpretation. And everyone can train themselves to be more creative.
Although the creative process will naturally look different for everyone, it follows the same basic 5 steps. Each step will be different depending on the person, their creative medium and the project they’re bringing to life. And the timescale will be different, too; the process isn’t predictable or linear – so don’t give yourself a hard time if you can’t get the results you’re looking for in too short a time. Be patient.
The Creative Process for Writers
This is where you gather and harvest as much information as possible. Do your research and pinpoint who your audience is and what they need right now. Glean inspiration from all kinds of sources.
The Amazon bookstore is a great place to see what the books in your niche look like – particularly the best-sellers; they can teach you all kinds of tricks. And I guarantee you will click away from Amazon with inspiration and motivation to bring your own book idea to life. You’ll probably come away with a lighter purse/wallet too. It’s inevitable.
This is the time-consuming bit, but it’s also where the magic happens. Once you absorb the details in step one, start to examine your ideas, look at them from different perspectives and experiment with how they can all fit together.
Marinade those ideas. Leave them to brew – both consciously and subconsciously. Giving yourself time to step away from any problems or even your initial idea itself is a prerequisite to success. Leave your idea long enough so that when you return to it, you feel energised and excited and can’t wait to dive back in.
The epiphany, the lightbulb moment, the “Eureka!” when you’re 100% sure of the direction you’re heading in is the next step of the creative process. The breakthrough moment is such an exciting time and often unexpected.
You’ll probably be doing something totally different to writing/creating when it happens too – walking the dogs, taking a shower, doing the chores – so keep a notebook handy (a waterproof one if needs be) and write everything down asap. Don’t think you’ll remember your aha details because you won’t. And then you’ll feel like kicking yourself. Memories are unrealiable … or at least at my age, they are.
The reasoning stage. The doubt may creep in now, and other ideas (bright, shiny objects) may flood your brain. But it’s important to push your magpie tendencies aside and stick with the idea that fills you with goosebumps. Of course you should still write down the other ideas to use at a later date, but don’t let go of that gut reaction idea that inspired you in the first place. If you’re still unsure whether to keep going at this stage, ask yourself:
• Is this idea worth pursuing? Write down the pros and cons.
• Is it a fresh new perspective has it been overdone?
• What changes could I make (if any)? Brainstorm them.
And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback too. Sometimes you need to get out of your own head and chat with like-minded people who can offer you some sage, valuable advice.
Time to turn your idea into the final product. It’s the culmination of your creativity, skills, knowledge, and experiences. Obviously, this will lead you down a whole new path, especially if you’re writing a book and need to draft out the structure. But you’ve gone through the creative process. You’ve picked your idea, run with it, brewed the contents, and you know exactly what your next step is.
Use this 5-step process in your writing/work and even your daily life to help bring you clarity, solve problems, come up with new ideas, and bask in the magical creative zone. It’s wonderful in there.
Would you add any extra steps to the creative process? I’d love to find out.
If this article has helped you, please share your thoughts in the comments or the link with your writing friends.