Today I want to talk about defining your process as a creative. With my recent shop launch of die-cut stickers and spring products, I quickly became aware that my creative wing it and fly by the seat of my pants routine would no longer cut it when it comes to managing my shop & holding down a full-time job.
I've learned over the years to be more organised and define systems that work well for me, but it's not something I'm naturally strong at. I remember years ago trying to put something in place, using Trello and various systems that I hand heard others talk about and I tried to make that work for me. I've spent lots of my budget on tools and systems that worked for a little while, but then fizzled out.
Today as I hear lots of creatives talk about being burned out on Patron accounts I follow & on Instagram, so I thought I'd share a little on defining your creative process and how it can help us navigate and avoid burnout. Also, on a side note, I'm hoping to invite some of those amazing creatives on the podcast real soon, so figures crossed that I can make that happen and we can hear more from these amazingly talented artists that I've been super inspired by of late.
Why Developing Your Process Is Important?
The creative process will look different for each individual. It's the process we embark on to bring an idea from seed form into our reality. It involves a series of thoughts, decisions, and actions. It requires our critical thinking & problem-solving skills to come together and produce an output that we are happy with. I read an article recently in Masterclass that outlined a five step process that I thought was really interesting, and worth sharing.
THE 5 STEP CREATIVE PROCESS:
- Preparation - this is where we layout our Pinterest boards, our sketches for up-and-coming products, or for that next business venture or job search we plan to embark on. This is the brainstorming step where you consider all possible options, angles and shape your short story, novel, or next masterpiece.
- Incubation - The stage when you have finished pouring over your idea and get it out on paper, only to step away and let it settle for a moment. I always remember a college tutor who told me in a writing class that I once took, to write my first draft then put it in a drawer and come back to it in a month. This is the incubation stage. The stage where you allow your mind to work on another project or take a break, and whilst it may seem counterproductive, it's a period of growth. If you think about the seed when you plant your daffodils or favourite flower. There is a period where you won't see any movement from the seed that is incubating in the soil.
- Illumination - The illumination stage is where a light bulb moment takes place. Have you ever had an idea that wasn't fully fleshed out, but after you left it for a while, it came back to you in an "aha" moment where it became clear like a puzzle that piece A and piece B connect with piece C. Whether you figure out how to complete your design, or finish your novel, or solve that problem that's been bugging you and unresolved for some time.
- Evaluation - The evaluation stage is where you begin to gather your idea and all the bits you need to make it happen. Maybe you write down the steps you will take to structure your shop launch or set some smart goals to create the outcome you want to see take place. It might even include doing some market research to test out your idea or taking a bold step to sign up to a craft market or try a new product line.
- Verification - This is the final stage of the 5 step process that social psychologist Graham Wallas outlined in his book The Art of Thought. This is where your shop launch goes live, you've created a physical object, set up your marketing campaign, delivered your novel to a printer or publisher, submitted your business plan and now you are ready to bring your idea to the world.
Despite our creative differences, these five steps are a common thread I know I can relate to when it comes to defining our creative process. I have too often rushed through those steps, but as I continue on my growth journey, it's something I'm paying closer attention to. It's why for the last few weeks I've not put out a studio vlog, or podcast. I needed the time to reflect, to fix, and to think.
I decided to have a go at some virtual markets back in February without actually doing my research. They went pretty well, but I stumbled into them without actually having gone to one as a shopper let alone hosting one. I run them on Facebook, but the first one, I didn't properly set up the event. As a social media manager, I don't know why, but I had messaged everyone I knew beforehand just to let them know I'd be going Live and invite them along. It went well, but it took me three markets and around 6 weeks to nail my process down. The second one I finally figured out how to invite people and that in the ever changing space that is Facebook, you can't invite people from your Facebook profile unless you set the event up in a particular way. Once I figured out how to fix the invite problem, I think discovered a camera issue that kept overheating and turning itself off. At each event, I had planned to use it as a product launch event, and it took till the third market for me to figure out a way to upload all the new products I'd been creating to the various shop platforms that I sell from in good time after the virtual market.
I share all that to say that, whilst our creative processes may not be the perfect first time, it's something to think about and perhaps take away one thing that you might do a little differently in the next opportunity that you get.
Nobody starts an expert, and there are lots of tools and systems out there to try and see which ones fit your project, business, or idea well.
Let me know how you've defined your creative process, and if you've found these helpful.