You can stumble your way through the creative process to live a life full of meaning and fulfillment. In a flash, and at times quite unexpectedly, you can produce your best writing, your most engaging post, a beautiful piece of art, your most focused business idea.
That burst may be serendipitous, but it still doesn’t make the creative process, magic.
Maybe in some brutish way creativity can be forced. For instance, I was talking to a small business owner just last week. She told me that a competitor was moving into the same mall where she had been a tenant for 47 years.
The move would dismantle the attention monopoly she always enjoyed from customers who were either die-hard fans or curious browsers.
Competition forced her to rethink her business model and how she would use design and social media to retell her history and journey. She thought long and hard and came up with a slew of innovative things. Her creative process did not involve a bit of magic.
The Creative Process Can Be Flash Or A Slow Burn
In its best iteration, creativity requires that you find ideas and tuck them away one-by-one. This allows them to marinate, build momentum. You can always return to them when the timing is right.
Yet, the recipe for getting the most out of any creative process may not be to think harder but to be open to the process of collecting ideas from many sources, until in flash or a slow burn something original spills from inside you.
Take rapper Kendrick Lamar, my second favourite lyricist after Jay-Z. The 29-year-old once explained how collecting ideas may be the closest thing we have to mastering the slow burn of the creative process.