Simplifying the Creative Process - APPS
Are you one of those people who quickly comment to others that you’re not creative? You have no imagination or you’re too left brain? When you’re asked to take on a creative project for either professional or personal purposes, do you quietly grow anxious? Maybe you have labelled yourself uncreative? Are these actually true statements? Can people really be totally lacking in creativity?
Absolutely not, it is more likely that they just lack skill or talent at different aspects of it. Creativity can be deconstructed into four separate components I call APPS.
Asking the questions
Produce an idea to answer
Progress the idea
Start application of the idea
Each component plays a pivotal role within the creative process and while some people are more right brain aware than others and can efficiently work through all four, most will excel in only one or two areas.
Those who hover in the first stage of creativity are able to examine a problem or situation and ask questions. There is an element of analysing and assessment that goes into this stage in order to determine what questions need to be asked. For example; Does this look correct? Should the process be changed? Why should it change? Am I happy with this? This part of the process stimulates thought and discussion and fundamentally gets the creative neurons firing.
Producing an idea to develop a solution to the situation or problem is the “what if” stage, because once the questions have been asked, the natural step forward is to attempt the discovery of the answers; produce an idea. If I’m not happy, maybe I need to change my routine, get a new job, or write something new. If things aren’t looking right or correct maybe it needs colour, reconceiving, further application or to start again.
As possibilities develop and become apparent, each answers the question but usually only one stands out as the most likely of solutions. This is the idea. With an idea developed and confidence established in the idea, a plan to progress the idea can now be actioned. Other ideas related to progressing the plan begin to emerge. Merging together the steps and tools needed to carry the idea into reality happen at this point.
Finally we begin applying the idea to the original situation or problem. With the tools, structure and plan, the solution is reached by using the ideas generated during the first three stages.
Now try looking at yourself in terms of these four components as we explore the development of writing a novel. We develop a situation or problem which would become the plot. We produce an idea to conclude the plot and we do that usually through our characters. We progress the idea by taking our characters through various situations and experiences and from this journey our characters would then apply the idea to the original solution or problem. What that outcome will be is up to that original creator. Yes you heard that right? Creator! Defined as ‘one that creates usually by bringing something new or original into being’, - CREATIVE!
In general terms, whether it is through your profession, family life, hobbies or sport; if you reassess your roles in each of the APPS and can see yourself in one or more of these skill groups, then you have identified your strengths from a creative viewpoint. Your area of creative expertise will lie in certain skill sets which you have now identified.
So while you may not be completely right brain, you now know that you actually are creative and that imagination and innovation within you can be further explored. By doing so and focusing on those areas where you excel, it is logical to expect you will then find ways to allow your creativity to shine.
Inspired by this new awareness you might wish to try to increase your creativity in other areas by volunteering to walk those other roads less travelled through the creative process. This goes back to the skill and talent comment I made earlier. The two are often misunderstood as much the same concept when in fact, they are both quite different. Talent is something we have naturally. When people say that they were ‘born with it’, they are meaning their natural talent in a particular role. This role may very well fit into the creative field. However, skill is only developed by hours and hours of committed focus and refining your role. I encourage you to refine your skills and find other areas of the creative process which will, no doubt, inspire you. After all, some of the best forms of creativity come from inspirational thinking or actions. Be Creative!