Teacher, Teach Thyself

by Angela - on March 16, 2012

Tuesday night I finished teaching another writing and publishing class. It was a blast! What a responsive group. The class had a very satisfying ending with many students accomplishing whatever goals they had set for themselves in 6 short weeks.

Now…I get to put into practice the stuff I told them about the creative process; I’m a chapter away from finishing a book, but first, some really major things need to come together.I’m feeling overwhelmed. I ask myself, What would I tell my students? Wellllll…We talked about the creative process and how it applies not only to the entirety of a project (a book, a painting, a song, etc.), but it applies to each step of the project. SO, I would say, the first step of the creative process is 1. preparation. This is where the problem (or “unanswered question”) is identified. Brain-storming (a word I despise, but it describes a useful exercise) takes place here because you’re just being totally open at the beginning of the creative process and not ruling anything out. Then comes 2. Incubation. This is where you let go of the “problem” or the particular aspect of your project. You don’t look at it, don’t think about it, don’t mess with it. You fill your thought and days with enriching things: art, music, strolls through the park. You make a point of noticing all the rich details of life all around you. You are especially observant. Incubation ends with one of two things: you’ve given yourself a deadline (2 or 3 days) and it’s time to pull out your project or you have an a-ha moment, which is called 3. Illumination. Illumination, of course, means to throw light on; so this means the “answer” to your “unanswered question” emerges into light. This, for most of us, is the funnest part. Who doesn’t love the a-ha moment?? But then it’s time to put your money where your mouth is in: 4. Verification. Where the rubber meets the road, the tough get going, the proof is in the pudding and you’re crossing that bridge because you’ve come to it (Verification has nothing to do cliches, I’m just having fun). Verification is where you make known your ideas (whether through writing, publishing, painting, displaying, playing or performing).

Well, guess what? It’s Friday night. So I’m going to go incubate–fill my evening with fun and enriching things–and wait for my a-ha moment. You’ll be the first to know when it happens (because of, you know, verification)!

Happy weekend to you, wherever you are in your creative process!

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