Last week two full days appeared blank in my diary. As in there were no meetings, workshops, phone calls or required contact with anyone. Professional or personal. This headspace – that came as no accident – presented as an uninterrupted surface I could peer deep into. Beyond the thin film upon which we skate most days rushing from place to place and task to task, lay fathoms of light, dark, colour, quietness and substance. A yawning, cavernous pool waiting for me to dive in, and begin my creative process for a project expected later in the week.
Creativity in many industries is a collaborative process. People gather to share ideas, design systems, spawn innovation in high octane workshops or think tanks. I myself use these techniques to generate insight and fresh angles, gathering relevant input – raw material for the next stage in which I must author the strategy, or the narrative that makes sense of the strategy.
My creative process is quiet. The clocks stop. Time has no hold. I dive in. Surround myself with the raw material, and begin. I always start with rough paper – scratching out first thoughts that occur to me in no particular order. Often I go straight for the highest level, shortest encapsulation of what may evolve into the big idea. Or suite of big ideas. I move fast. No lingering to over analyse, or over think. In this first phase, things feel quite mundane… petit. Then like a bolt out of the blue, something connects. A word, a thought, a sentence, an image even. It was hiding under the thin film upon which we skate most days rushing from place to place and task to task, waiting to be uncovered. From the quietness of my creative process, a strong connection to a desirable outcome is made.
From there, the narrative becomes fluid, and the strands start interlocking with ease and purpose. The fluidity is a sign to begin scribing and visualising in digital format. Laptop hood raised. Engine fired. New document raring to go.
Years of experience of course allow me to know when I’m on to something good, great even – always nonetheless appropriate to the commissioning client’s brief. Understanding an organisation’s limits, expectations and ability to embrace just the right amount of ‘new’ or ‘change’ is quintessential to my creative process. I never create in a vacuum. Everything has to connect to and grow from existing foundations. Rare is the blank canvas. Nor do I recommend strategies that disrupt beyond recognition.
The creative process is therefore delicate if it is to marry client sensitivities with compelling narratives. And this, I have found, without exception can only transpire with quiet, uninterrupted headspace.
My clients would agree:
“Thanks so much for today, it was great to see what you have put together and we are all really excited!”
“Thanks Amanda, and for the work also – we ‘re really pleased with what you’ve come up with.”
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© Amanda Yensa Manor 2016