I have always thought the term creative process as being something of an oxymoron. According to Wikipedia, process means:
Process or processing (verb) typically describes the action of taking something through an established and usually routine set of procedures or steps to convert it from one form to another… A process involves steps and decisions in the way work is accomplished, and may involve a sequence of events.
I have just read a blog post Creative Process: 10 Ideas for Moving Beyond the Steps which I found interesting and certainly did what the title suggests, that is, listed steps for moving beyond the steps. I am not writing this as a critique of that article, which serves a useful purpose. However, the article did prompt me to think about how we use language. Language can direct you to thinking in a fashion that may be intended but often has other consequences. I am not saying that in creative pursuits such as dance and choreography that there is no process. I am suggesting that we should be careful not to privilege thinking about the task over the creative output that we are trying to achieve.
For example, a simple device such as listing steps of a process rather than describing the “how to” in narrative form immediately places the brain in a structured context. Is this what we want when describing how to be creative? Maybe it is, but I suspect more would be achieved creatively if the reader is asked to think about what is gained by behaving in a particular fashion. This is not easy, it takes quite a leap to move from a report type / how to style to a narrative analytical style that is still accessible to the intended audience. In fact, my posts on this blog attempt to achieve these ends – and they are not always successful.
I spent over thirty years in computer development, support and quality assurance and it taught me to privilege process in everything I did. In my mid-forties I started a degree that resulted in me gaining an honours in anthropology. But despite that, I still struggle to permit the creative free reign over structure. It affect not only my thoughts but also my style of writing. Hence the reason I write posts such as these to try and free the creative spirit that is lurking somewhere below.