The seven steps of creativity

This week I’ve taken inspiration from work. Not necessarily what I do at work, but more the subjects of conversation and frustration in the room. Working in a field where your creativity is constantly tested it’s no surprise that confidence levels tend to ebb and flow, and most of you out there will most likely recognize the following steps as an integral part of their creative process.

1. This is awesome

I imagine this is the stage where you might say “fuck yeh, I get paid to work with animals!” You bask in the admiration of others, you’re so obliviously happy and every compliment seems like pure celebrity worship. You are a young kid who’s just won first prize in the spelling contest and you think you will now automatically be the next Murakami in line for a Pulitzer prize. It’s ok to dream, right?

2. This is tricky

The realisation of what you’ve committed yourself to creeps up on you like a wolf silent in the night. You slowly and subconsciously give in to thoughts that you probably won’t be on the stage picking up that award any time soon, if at all. This is the stage at which you can either decide to turn back, or give in knowing that it might get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better. The latter option will only be chosen either by crazy or very passionate people (in my case, essentially the same thing).

3. This is shit

Depression and desperation hit you hard. You may find yourself reaching for a bottle of numbing agent (otherwise known as alcohol) on frequent occasions, as well as asking yourself the question ‘why am I doing this’ over and over again. The answer to this question is moot, because passion is a deep sense of caring that needs no justification. 10 seconds after you realise this, you are back to asking yourself the question.

4. I am shit

“Why did I not turn back when I could?” Self-loathing has reached its maximum, and beers soon turn in to heavy, straight liquor. Your inability to succeed will soon affect every aspect of your life leading you to make complete non-sensical statements such as “I am going to quit my job and start an emu farm, with chickens that are able to kung-fu their way to free-range goodness.”

5. I am full of shit

Although you are still ready to jump off the next bridge you come across, you somehow muster up some courage to give it a go. Although the results are still as worthless as the step before, you all of a sudden realise that perhaps your powers of bullshitting might actually trump your ability to perform the task at hand. And this might eventually get you through the day to a point where you may be more satisfied with your work than when you got up that morning. A glimmer of hope leads to continued attempts at being creative and getting the job done. (This one wasn’t in the original 6, but we’ve given it a fairly solid seat at number 5).

6. This is tricky

Slowly you feel like actually this won’t be so terrible after all. You’re better than you gave yourself credit for, this crafty idea might somehow work, somewhere in this large ball of turd there may be a smaller turd that is actually a decent seed of possibilities. Your enthusiasm trickles back bringing with it new-found creativity and optimism. The way this will go has two options – either you will be sucked back into stage 2, because your optimism was slightly unfounded; maybe your new idea is just as rubbish as the old one, or you will make the fortunate fantasmic leap to:

7. This is awesome

The final result. A full untainted feeling of awesomeness unreachable as you can analyse and every single flaw to the product. Everything little thing you wanted to do but couldn’t afford, couldn’t pull off or didn’t know how to achieve sticks out at you like a ghost with a red sheet draped over its head. All of the blood, sweat and tears have congealed at the bottom of your shoes and you are reminded of it every footstep you take. But you have managed to complete the final product and that in itself is worthy of ol’ fashioned good feeling (wherever in your body that may be). At this moment in time you may be able to class yourself among the following 4 people:

  • You are a pompous ass. You won’t stop talking about it for the rest of your life and every compliment is an added drop in the pool of evil.
  • You are proud of the achievement and where it ends up but not completely with the product itself. Let’s be honest.
  • It might actually be awesome. And you might actually not see any flaw in the finished product. Everyone is happy. But it’s the first time you feel this way and you know you won’t feel this way again any time soon.
  • You are in fact still stuck in stage 5.

We mostly find ourself stuck in an infinite loop between 2 and 7. I would like to think this makes me critical of our work. Or it might just mean that my work is complete shite.

Now off into the wild for a job I love! Step 1 commences.

I'd like to know your opinion too

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s