“Creativity” is a beautiful word. It’s magical. While “process” is dull and clinical. So, I can understand why people hate the phrase “creative process”.
For creative types, with their head in the clouds, it removes the joy and mysticism of being creative.
While for pragmatic folks, who live in the real world, it validates staring out of the window as “work”.
And then, there are creative professionals. Sometimes they get divine-like inspiration, but often they have to work, work, and keep working until they get good ideas.
Here is one of my favourite quotes on creativity, from A Technique for Producing Ideas, published in the 1940s:
“[T]he production of ideas is just as definite a process as the production of Fords; the production of ideas, too, runs on an assembly line; that in this production the mind follows an operative technique which can be learned and controlled; and that its effective use is just as much a matter of practice in the technique as is the effective use of any tool.”
In other words, there is a creative process and you can harness it to produce more ideas. Just like how manufacturers harness processes to make products more effectively.
The creative process is still a process, even if YOURS is different
Ray Bradbury would always read a short story before going to bed.
Stephen King would aim to write a minimum of 6 pages a day.
Haruki Murakami runs marathons between writing sessions.
These are all routines that writers have employed as part of a creative process. They are executed differently by each person, but it’s still basically the same process.
You don’t NEED to know about the process, but it helps
You probably know how to drive a car, even without knowing how all the mechanical bits work.
But a bit of knowledge helps. Professional race car drivers will understand mechanics to some level so they know how to be better at driving.
And, it’s the same with being creative. Knowing a little about the process will help you to be a little more effective at your job.
The “creative process” is weird and wild, but it is still a process
OK. Let’s admit it – the “creative process” is more like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, than a car assembly line.
But it is still a process. And realising this can really help you to understand how you can be more effective – how you can produce more ideas or do it faster.
When writers work they often don’t conciously think about where their ideas are coming from. They are not conciously going “well, i am now in the incubation stage”. It becomes part of a habit.
Even a little knowledge will help. And you have to keep working to get more ideas because they are so valuable in this day and age.
It’s still makes creativity a mystical process. In fact, it makes it a little more magical.