The Three Stages of Creativity

The Start

Excitement. Ideas. Inspiration. Freshness. Beginnings.

The Part Many Never Complete

The work.

The reworking.

The blockages.

The breakthrough.

The ‘go-back-to-square-one.’

The letting it go.

The picking it up.

The reworking.

The reward.

The Release

Photo Credit: Photoforía via Compfight

[box options=center]”Give it away, give it away, give it away now.” Red Hot Chili Peppers.[/box]

What stage are you in the three stages?


Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Funny. I read about other people’s creative processes and I wonder what I am missing out on sometimes. It never seems as painful for me as it is for some people. It helps that I’m not a perfectionist: it’s more about, “yeah that just about flies, onto the next thing.” I tend to go straight from “The Work” to “The Release” but I think I’m avoiding the pain of reworking things to make them even better. I do get blockages but then I just walk away. There’s always something else for me to give my attention to while my subconscious worries at the “problem”, so I can identify with the “Letting Go” bit, too.

    • It’s fascinating to see how everyone works. I bet a bunch of us would love to be able to not obsess over our work and be willing to let it go.

      Thanks, as always, for dropping in Seymour.

  • I’m stuck between the “reworking” and the “back to square one phase”.
    Love this post. Spoken like a true creative.

    • Sometimes you’ve gotta start over. It’s not that the process was fruitless, it’s just that the fruit will be better having gone through the ringer once … or twice…. or …

  • Definitely the “part many never complete”. Usually I move on to the next bright shiny idea and forget about the first one. I literally have 3 notebooks of ideas that never saw the light of day because I got stuck in the part many never complete. It’s like a black hole. Nothing ever seems to escape. But when something does (and I’ve tasted the promised land a few times) it is the most glorious feeling ever. It’s my version of giving birth. Awesome post!

    • Andrew Zahn

      I’m sure a lot of us can empathize Adam!

  • With the big project I’m close to releasing on my site, I’m flowing in between “The letting it go.” “The picking it up.” “The reworking.” phases.

    I loved the label of “the part many never complete” cause it’s so true! The struggle is worth the reward you get at “The Release”!

    • Andrew Zahn

      Can’t wait to see how it all turns out Dave! Keep pluggin’ away!

  • I’m at different stages in each of the projects I’m working on, but the biggest one, Ignite (my college ministry) is in stage two – the working, reworking, pushing through when it seems tough. Sometimes you have to endure the work and setbacks in order to create something that will truly change the world.

    • Andrew Zahn

      Creating is always worth it. I’m sure that cause is so very worthy that your work will be multiplied many times over.

  • Mainly at the “reworking” stage. Waiting on the final cover artwork for my indie novel and reading through page-by-page before going to press. So many technicalities before that point (getting an ISBN, setting up my Lightning Source account as an indie publishing label, etc.), and I can hardly wait for The Release. A few more weeks of blood and sweat before that point. 🙂

    • Andrew Zahn

      Very exciting Todd! We’ll celebrate with you when it happens.

  • I am somewhere between picking it up and reworking it, but I think that there should be a lot more space between the reworking step and the reward step. I went through a lot of blockages, hit the break through and definitely experienced the go back to square one step. I’m working my way through it but there is still a whole bunch of work before the reward…

    • Andrew Zahn

      Andy, I’ve been thinking: I wonder if there’s a better word for ‘work?’

      It seems to have such a negative connotation for some people (maybe not for you, but for some).

      I think I need to reframe the work/reward relationship and enjoy the process more.

      • Andrew, good point about the word “work” having negative connotations. It is synonymous with labor/laborious and is often viewed as the antonym of fun (all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy). So why do we refer to some thing we love doing (writing/creating) as work–a work in progress, a work of art, reworking?

        • Andrew Zahn

          A new term is definitely in order.

          Suggestions: process, career, stuff, fun, joy?!?!?

  • It depends on which project I’m working on. In my writing I’m creating and working on an eBook. I’m working on the first draft, this has been hard because I have a hard time just writing without editing. I have not made much progress because of editing while writing. I’m being more intentional about just writing and not worrying about editing.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I hear ya Dan. If you can type, maybe write with your eyes shut and don’t stop for any reason.

      Sure there’ll be typeos, but you could get some real gems if the ‘editor part’ of you is turned off.

      • Great idea. I really might try doing this.