Feb 272011

Creative outcomes are based on two opposing processes, and opposites just happens to be this month’s theme for The Sketchbook Challenge.

Before you write a poem or story, paint a picture, shape clay, weave beads into a new pattern, or pretty much anything else that involves your creative muscles, you begin to float ideas around in your head. This period of incubation, when you allow your subconscious to take over and dream, is much more effective if you set aside your internal editor and generate as many ideas as you can without passing judgment about the merit of them. Give yourself permission to think about what seems illogical on the surface, wild or zany, and then start building connections between one idea and the next, no matter how ill-suited they at first seem to be.

This process of generating ideas leads to the next phase in creativity: synthesis based on a series of systematic choices. This is when you begin to compare your ideas to each other and to prioritize them, focusing on solutions, not obstacles, to your ultimate goal. And one of those goals is to come up with something new and novel, so you’re not going to toss aside those seemingly odd ideas you generated during the process of incubation. Instead you will seek a deliberate way to incorporate your ideas. By staying focused, you will be able to narrow and combine the best of your ideas to create something unique.

I’m not sure how much of this creative process is really conscious, to tell you the truth, but this is what occurs whenever we create. It is also a process that can be taught, which I have learned through the creative problem-solving program, Destination ImagiNation¬©, for which I volunteer. Generating creative options, and then focusing on the best ones, are opposite and necessary sides of the proverbial creative problem-solving coin. Below is my illustration of “Opposites,” which illustrates this concept.

Sketchbook Challenge Theme for February: Opposites

To see sketches from other participants of The Sketchbook Challenge, visit Flicker HERE. Consider joining this challenge yourself!

© 2011 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.