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You are creative.

 

The most common hinderance to creativity is the belief that you aren’t creative. In the world of outside-the-box, creative thinking. Nothing ends the conversation quite like the phrase “I am not creative.”

 

The truth, however, is that everyone has the potential to be creative. The first step to creativity is the realization that you have true potential. Once this is understood, creativity can be freed.

 

This brings the importance of something called “the creative process.” Often people think that creativity is a natural trait. However, there is a process involved. The difference is that those who seem “naturally creative” subconsciously follow the creative process while others must remind themselves to follow it.

 

The key to dissolving the mystery of creativity is to outline the creative process.

So lemme do dat.

 

The Four Stages of Creativity.

 

WARNING: These words will sound complicated and distant. Don’t worry, we’ll go through each step.

 

  1. Preparation
  2. Incubation
  3. Illumination
  4. Implementation

 

  1. Preparation

The preparation stage is exactly what is sounds like. Creativity isn’t often spontaneous. Before great ideas are born, previous great ideas need to be revisited.

 

This can be the most boring (and sometimes discouraging) stage of creativity. This is the stage where you seek out inspiration. Look at your previous work, look at the work of others, practice your trade. Eventually, and often without realizing, you will be carried into the next stage of creativity.

 

  1. Incubation

This stage is where the framework for your grand idea is born. During preparation, a small piece of a previous idea will resonate. When that idea stands out, you have the seeds. Now it is time to water them.

 

Often you will not realize that you are cultivating an idea. Therefore, you could be in this stage for years, or for mere seconds. Then, once it has been watered, we grow into the next stage.

 

  1. Illumination

“This is where the fun begins.” – Anakin Skywalker, Revenge of the Sith.

 

The illumination stage is truly the most exciting stage of creativity. In this stage, you can see for the first time an image of what you’re creating. If it’s a painting, you can see the brush strokes. When it’s a song, you can hear the melody. If it’s a story, you can see the characters living your plot. In this stage you become driven to see your idea into fruition.

 

However, you must be proactive. The illumination stage is where most creativity is lost. This is because your “eureka” moment can happen at any time. In a dream. While watching a move. At work. In class. While driving down the highway. Sometimes even while developing another idea. This is why you must always be ready to make room for creativity.

 

To avoid losing ideas, I carry either a journal or a stack of notes everywhere I go. There is never a time that I don’t have something to write with. Creativity is a 24/7 job. That brings us to the final, crucial stage of creativity.

 

  1. Implementation

Don’t stop reading now! Without this stage, the world would be gray and boring (exaggeration, but you get it). The implementation stage is where your idea becomes real.

 

There are plenty of thinkers in this world. There is no shortage of ideas. However, there is a shortage of doers. Nobody benefits from creativity unless it is brought to life.

 

Don’t just be creative, create. Take steps to ensure that your idea is brought to life.

 

Be creative.            

 

These are the tools. The creative process is your paintbrush. Now go and paint with wide strokes.

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