Life as a Creative Process

Hi everyone, I’m Katie artist, business coach and founder of Step Up Create, and today I thought I’d continue with the idea of life as a creative process.

So first of all I like to say that okay it’s not one creative processes but many concurrent creative processes all going on at the same time, and you’ll see why I’m saying that because if we consider what a creative process is, you’ll have something that looks a little bit like the Double Diamond approach like this, this is generally accepted it was originally developed by IDEO, in California, when they were talking about Design Thinking, but it does apply to most creative processes, even artistic ones.

So, what are you doing, your starting point is your original idea and then you sort of start opening up and trying to get new ideas and thinking about where this project might go to. And then you start to narrow these ideas down, okay so in that case I want to do this, I’m going to paint with blue today, or let’s, let’s try and see if we can launch a product in this segment, and you start sort of focusing okay well. Now, my, my brief is to work with this.

And then we open it up again we’ve got lots of different ideas you’re sort of really playing around a bit here, trying to think of some something innovative and different some way of working, and then closing it down again to some kind of final product, whether that’s a product launch, whether it’s a final painting, whether it’s a piece of theatre or whatever else.

So, generally, the creative process has at least a double diamond and maybe more, it’s also an iterative process which is important to bear in mind so you can go back at any point and redo parts of the process if necessary. So, you suddenly realise that okay I’ve gone down the wrong route here. So let’s go back and start again on the ideation stage or whatever else.

So, very quickly creative processes tend to work like that they’re opening up and closing down convergent and divergent thinking. And in life for me is very useful if you’re going to take this creative approach if you want to lead a creative life. I like to think of it as balancing two things one is play, and the other is focus, and in focus, we can, we can consider things like discernment so discernment is the kind of more friendly brother or sister of judgement, right. So, this is being able to look at something you’ve done and to decide what you want to keep in what you want to take out, being aware of what’s going on, and making those responsible choices so really taking ownership of what you’re deciding and taking responsibility for moving things forward so that’s another thing, responsibility, and being able to think about what is possible from here. In order to start and go back into the play area.

The other part of focus is emotions and being aware of what’s going on and this is something that we all find really difficult right, it’s very easy to go through life and have some amazing experiences I know I often think now in these COVID times about all of the world trips I’ve done the amazing countries I went to and the amazing people I met and all of these experiences, and while I have had the wherewithal to enjoy them at the time. What I haven’t done in most cases is to think what did I learn from that to process that information, or how did I feel at that time, how did it make me feel so taking some awareness of these experiences that you’re going through is also in the part of focus.

In the part of play, you can imagine, it’s about having fun, it’s about opening up. And this is one, and one thing that is really important in this is to think about having moments in your life where you are not focused on an objective. This is hugely difficult right especially if you’re trying to fit lots of things in. So let’s say you’ve got your work life, you’ve got your family life, you might have some sports or whatever you’re trying to fit all of these things in do everything on the list that we’re supposed to do meditate, read lots of books all of this is very easy to add everything to a list of things to do. And no, I’m quite often responsible for that.

So, what we need to do is to also plan some playtime and planning playtime includes, when possible, going out for drinks with friends. It includes drawing doodling painting, whatever, all of these creative pursuits. It includes going for a walk in the countryside. It includes going for a swim, whatever, really helps you and I think we spoke about that in another video what helps you to be more creative slot that in there, but make sure it doesn’t have an objective so creating this play time. And then there’s also the sort of connection between these two.

So, this is where you are taking the attitude from your playtime and considering some of the ideas that you got from your focus session so this is the connection. And this is often even referred to in some cases as the groan zone this is the connection between those two different parts of the process. So, how do you take the focus that you’ve got something you want to develop and put it in a playful setting so that you can develop it a bit, and that is going to be down to you, but for me being able to develop these two sides, being able to open up moments for play and moments of focus and different types of focus really leads to a more creative, more fulfilling life.

Blog post photo by Matese Fields on Unsplash

About Katie Annice Carr

Creativity, Communication and Leadership facilitator, coach and consultant.