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Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Creative Process and Motivation

The Creative Process and Motivation
Everyone’s creative process is different.  Each person goes through their own little set of rituals and rigors when they decide to give birth to an idea bouncing around in their head.  But they always have to have the drive to do it.  A lot of normal people look for motivation from outside sources.  But that’s not quite right.  Motivation, comes from within, my little potato dumplings.  Your motivation is your reason for acting, your purpose and your drive. 
Most things we do are done out of necessity.  For example, if we didn’t need to work for our necessaries, we’d bum around all day.  Since we do have to work for those things, we are driven to find a steady source of income in order to survive.  For hobbies, that whole drive thing is a bit different.  It’s not one of the usual needs.  It’s the bastard child of our species’ intelligence, creativity, curiosity, persistence, and a need for self-actualization.  …Thinking about it, perhaps ‘bastard child’ wasn’t the best terminology, since puns turn the whole thing into an orgy of abstract ideas.  ANYWAY, for me, everything starts with a desire- motivation and the creative process.

Stage 1: Desire

Whatever it is you plan on doing, you’ve got to want to do it.  If it’s jewelry making, you’ve got to want that necklace you saw in the catalogue and you’ve got to doubly want to be the one who brings it into existence.  Once you desire it enough, you’ll get the drive to do it.  And if your desire is independent from wanting pats on the back or to be acknowledged for what you can do, you’ll push it to the furthest reaches of your own imaginings, success or failure.

Stage 2: Curiosity

In this stage, I’m usually curious about what I’ve seen.  I want to touch it, poke it, taste it and smell it- that is if it’s edible, but usually this process just involves poking.  A key part of curiosity is satisfying it.  That means, reading about the topic of interest, studying it, and researching it down to the last basic detail.

Stage 3: Dabbling (What's down there?)

Here, I find myself making shy attempts at performing the basic actions required of the interesting topic.  It’s never anything big, just using the notes I took while researching and applying it to one or two instances.  An example would be baking cookies from scratch.  I started with the most basic recipe I could find, sugar cookies.  Butter, sugar, vanilla flavoring, flour and a pinch of salt.  Sugar cookies.  That’s it.

Stage 4: Experimenting

Once I’ve got that basic recipe/procedure/technique down, I get a little saucy, because I bore easily.  Why should I ONLY make sugar cookies?  What if I want Peanut Butter cookies?  Or chocolate chip cookies?  Or hell, what if I want smoked habanero and chocolate cookies?!  Yeah, that’s where experimenting comes in.  It marries stage3 with that need to be creative and sometimes, it produces beautiful results.  Other times, it leaves you with little burnt lumps of something that turns to powder in your mouth.

Stage 5: Tweaking

Once you recover from that exploding ball of hellfire you gave birth to in the experimenting phase, you start to tweaking it.  That requires careful examination of what you did and developing or finding a means to keep it from happening again.  If your cookies burnt everyone’s tonsils out on Christmas day, you must gather the courage to go back and redo those cookies with a bit less habanero, or maybe, no habanero at all.

Stage 6: Give Yourself a Moment of Glory

What, you thought that you weren’t entitled to a little bit of gloating?  Well, you are.  Gloat a little.  Say to yourself ‘This is the thing I created!  I did this!  I am AWESOME!’ whilst cackling like a mad scientist.  All that is horribly important too.

Stage 7: Add Some Spice

After you’ve become savvy with your process and got a tried and true thing, it’s time to diversify.  Go back to stage 2 and work your way back down here.  I usually do it until I feel that I’ve expanded my skillset to a point where I can’t really expand it too much more.  Soon, you’ll be creating new designs, tinkering with physics (There is some of that involved when you’re making jewelry, believe it or not), and making some mind blowing discoveries (maybe not, but it will still be pretty durn cool).

What’s this?  I didn’t tell you what motivates me?  Honestly, I don’t think that information would help you very much.  I’m not even totally sure what motivates me, myself.  The desire and the drive to create is just there.  When I get some energy, supplies and some time, it takes off like a rocket.  That’s the thing with motivation, it MUST come from within.  If your motivation doesn’t come from inside of you, your creative process will not survive passed dabbling.  Finding a hobby you love and can live for is a trial and error process.  The important thing is to experiment and try and when you find something that you enjoy tangling with more than once, something that you can be proud of even the smallest achievements in, you don’t need to know anything about my creative process, you’ll make your own.

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