The creative process behind a creative venture is a story in its own right. It begins with a seed sown in the hazy past; the seed receives some sort of impetus and grows into a vision; the vision forms a plan; the plan becomes a project; eventually, the project is created; then, the story of the after-process continues like an on-going epilogue.
I’ve reflected on this a lot. I’m still in the process of publishing The Atelier Project: Conversations About Creativity. (Hurry up, Blurb & Amazon! Do your thing!) Officially, according to the blog tagline, The Atelier Project is ‘A Place to Explore, Illuminate, and Celebrate the Process of Creativity’. Literally, it is a collaboration of thoughts about creativity and inspiration from a variety of artists that I published as a twin book and blog. I created it for the Editing & Publication project for my MLitt at the University of Glasgow.
I think I started The Project hoping to distill a magic formula for creativity – something between a Polyjuice Potion and a practical TED Talk or, at least, advice from a guru. I know! That’s ridiculous. (But tell me if you find it. I’d still love to know.) Instead, through this particular creative process, I discovered something else.
I found a generic blueprint for the creative process, a pattern that all creative processes fall into. Although the pattern isn’t insightful, it emphasized something that I’d completely discounted before the project. It made me to acknowledge two things: unexpected inconveniences are an intrinsic part of every creative process, and art happens to artists.
In the original creative timeline that I made at the beginning of the project, I plotted progress over eight months and I even made allowances for planned events – but I didn’t factor in life. I didn’t factor in my mother-in-law’s cancer diagnosis or the extra traveling back and forth to see her. I didn’t count on an unexpected trip to America or Gordon’s new job. I especially didn’t count on a Microsoft virus at the very last minute.
I’m shy of generalizations, especially concerning creativity, but the truth is that creating a piece of art isn’t a scientific experiment. Every creative process begins in the world before the test tube and is affected by life outside the lab. The creative process is a story that begins long before and ends long after the actual project. The creative process is knotted, tangled, and laced into a creative lifestyle.
You may feel overwhelmed by life or stagnant and uninspired. I can’t give you a magic formula for creativity, but I can encourage you: if you strive for a creative lifestyle, you’ll take the good and the bad events that get in the way of productivity and create something new from them. These circumstances are the seeds of projects that you haven’t even thought of yet.
Meanwhile, the creative process of The Atelier Project is still going on. Come explore the blog to find out more about the process and the project. If you would like to read and review the book, check it out here!
*CREATIVE PROJECT BLUEPRINT
7.) UNPLANNED EVENTS