Five themes in the creative process

In preparation for a podcast, I put together some themes that I’ve seen common to many creative processes. Here are five:

If you’re just starting out, learn more about the 4 step creative process. A linear representation of the process usually helps, particularly with production. A reader recently applied it to their data visualization project.

Making a lot of acceptable things, and allowing excellence/perfection to emerge, is the ideal path for the average person. Remember, while quality is always the end goal, you can pursue it indirectly. Quantity leads to quality, it also sets you up to find the few things you do that will create a vast return, and it’s a structure for practice.

Creativity involves tensions, oscillations, balances, and paradoxes (integrative thinking). This could include:

Bias for survival. Creating a life for yourself outside of your creative work is not the same as quitting. At worst, it’s a strategic retreat.
Particularly in the age of AI, the ability to be patient and do the hard work of introspection and refining craft will distinguish your work. I call this longcutting. John Maeda calls this uphill thinking.

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