Understanding Your Creative Process
When we talk about the creative process at Ignite, while on the surface it might seem that we’re talking exclusively about writing, in reality, we’re talking about creative thinking.
The truth is that writing is just one expression of creative thinking. Entrepreneurship is another, as is marketing your business and giving back to your community.
Creative thinking is hands down the single most important skill you can develop. And everyone — and I do mean everyone — should do everything they can to develop it.
“But I’m not very creative,” is something I hear a lot. I hear it from writers, I hear it from business owners, I hear it from children and from adults (but mostly adults). And it’s a total lie.
Humans are innately creative. We are curious and inventive, and we love listening to stories about how other people have lived their lives and solved common problems. And, once we have a bank of such stories in our heads, we combine elements of them into new and innovative solutions to the challenges we are facing, then try them out to see how they will work.
That is, in a nutshell, the creative process.
At first, you learn. You absorb and collect experiences and stories from all sorts of sources. You bank new learning and draw connections with old learning, all the time refining your understanding and expanding your thinking.
Next comes an Ignite Moment. It’s that moment where all your previous knowledge reshuffles itself into a new way of thinking, a new perspective on a problem, an innovative and intuitive leap into an exciting new possibility.
Then you begin the hard work of exploring and implementing. You try things out, make mistakes, make course corrections, ask your mentors for help, find the holes in your knowledge and find teachers to help you fill those holes, and get closer to birthing something brand new into the world with every action you take.
Gathering. Igniting. Exploring. Implementing.
These are the pillars upon which any creative practice hangs.
So how do we invite more of those elusive Ignite moments into our lives and rocket our creativity into the stratosphere?
- Embrace learning. Focus on material specifically related to the task at hand. Want to write a book? Read books and magazines about writing. Attend writing masterminds. Sign up for classes.
- Don’t wait for inspiration before beginning to implement what you’re learning. Find a book that does an excellent job of covering the fundamentals? Turn it into an exercise and practice what you’re learning. Read an article about a cool new marketing technique? Try it out on one of your sales funnels. Heard about the amazing power of having a daily writing practice? Sign up for a daily writing group like the Ignite Writer Accelerator. Regular action in the domain you are interested in will help give you the confidence to recognize and then implement those Ignite moments that come your way (and will teach you how to pivot quickly when something just isn’t working out).
- Recognize the opportunities that are knocking at your door. Take time to reflect on your journey and pick out those conversations, people, events, and signs from the Universe that triggered a shift in perspective and opened you up to new things. Sometimes our Ignite moments are only recognizable in hindsight, but once you start recognizing the ones you’ve already had, you’ll start noticing new ones all the time.
Write out a conversation between two characters: the version of you who struggles to be creative and the version of you who understands how powerfully creative you are.
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