Creative. Process.

I have trouble fancying myself a creative, or a writer, or a blogger for that matter.

I don’t know. I guess that I just think we all do what we do. And I blog. Which necessitates that I write. Which necessitates that I create. That I be creative.

Defining myself as a creative almost presumes that creativity oozes out of me. Which is certainly not the case. At least most days. Most days I labor over planting seeds, cultivating crops and harvesting ripened fruit. Only to wring my hands and squeeze until I am blue in the face for a worthwhile drop of juice.

For me, the process is always evolving but it always consists of these staples.

1. Surrounding myself with inspiration. Reading good books and blogs. Listening to great music. Talking big ideas with challenging friends. And always being up for an epic adventure.

2. Finding a safe blank canvas. It’s the weirdest thing but the only place I really enjoy writing is in the “Edit Post” space in WordPress. It just feels like a comfortable shelter for my thoughts to live before they are ready for the world.

3. Honing my skills. Always asking the question “What can I do better?” and searching fearlessly for the answer.

4. Giving myself time and space. As an extrovert, shying away from the crowd so I can give my ideas the time and space to take root is definitely the most cumbersome part of the process.

What does your “creative process” look like?

This post is a part of Darrell Vesterfelt’s series on the “the personal creative process.” Check out the other posts here. 

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lindsey, this is brilliant: “Most days I labor over planting seeds, cultivating crops and harvesting ripened fruit. Only to wring my hands and squeeze until I am blue in the face for a worthwhile drop of juice.” That couldn’t describe me better. Some days I feel I have all the ideas in the world and other days (most days, I guess) like I should probably quit. 

    I suppose my creative process is just getting up and doing it everyday, learning from others, and enjoying the ride. Without it, I’d just be lazy and give up 🙂

  • Well, my creative process is not the prettiest thing in the world. As a fiction writer I find it necessary to watch people…not really as a stalker. Although I’ve been known to change up my grocery shopping routine to observe a particularly interesting person (or is that stalking? I don’t know). I watch documentaries to learn about life from different viewpoints, read great books, read bad books (because there is a lot to be learned there). Then I write. A. Lot. 

    I’m glad you mentioned adventure. Writers can’t write unless they’re living. 

  • I relate to your struggle over not being creative 100% of the time. I don’t believe any of us really are, and I like what you said that the process is always evolving. But I also think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to “produce” as if that legitimizes our status as “creative,” when really I think being creative is more a way of seeing the world, reenacting in small everyday ways the truth that we are created in the Image of God who was the first Creator, and He has given us His qualities of bringing good and beautiful things to life. I think of myself as a writer, because I love words and I am compelled to make a craft of them, but there are times when weeks go by without my creating anything new. Sometimes I’m being lazy, or I’m in the thinking-reading stage and not ready to commit to the page, but I always come back to it. 

    Thanks for writing! 

  • “always be up for an epic adventure”..  sounds like fun.  although it begs the question: does a writer have adventures in order to write better, or do they write better because they lead an adventurous life?

    • I think a lot of us need the adventures to help us create stories to tell…

  • Although I do find myself creative at times, being an extreme introvert, I find it hard to share my creations with anyone. I think one day I may find an outlet for my creations 😉

  • I struggle to find a balance between 1 and 4. I know I need others to help inspire me. Sometimes it might be a self esteem thing, sometimes I just simply need inspiration. But I rarely take time for myself. I’m not wired this way. I am extremely extroverted and thrive in community. I need to try to take more time.

  • Lindset, I too prefer to write in the Edit post page of wordpress.  I gather ideas in Evernote, but I do all of my writing in wordpress.  This page, in my opinion, lends it self to focusing on the process of creative with little distraction. I have hidden as much as I can, so all I really see it the title, the content area and the publish button. IF I could hide all the formatting buttons I would as well. Thanks for sharing your process with us.

    • So it’s not just me? 🙂

      • Not at all.  I tried to write in evernote, but hated having to reformat everything, plus on the desktop and ipad app there is way too much clutter in EN.

  • I really love the metaphor you use, “Most days I labor over planting seeds, cultivating crops and harvesting
    ripened fruit. Only to wring my hands and squeeze until I am blue in the
    face for a worthwhile drop of juice.”  —

    That is exactly how I feel most days.

  • Patricia W Hunter

    Interesting post, Lindsey. As a natural introvert who lives in the boonies with more than my share of time and space, I have to push myself to move out of the world of books and cyberspace and into the hands-on world of an “epic adventure.”  I love music, but my creative process involves quiet and lots of natural light. And coffee. 

  • Suzie Lind

    Thanks for the inspiration! I also have a hard time defining myself as creative, but I do know that when I am creative… I’m much happier and feel more alive. So I guess there is mire to be discovered.

  • Meg

    Great post.  I have trouble defining myself as creative, even though I’ve worked as a writer/editor for years.  I spent my years doing primarily academic writing, and I find myself challenged when I try to tackle creative writing.  I know it’s in there somewhere, I just have trouble tapping into that part of myself sometimes.  Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I’ve recently become passionate about #3. Reading great books on writing and seeing what makes powerful writing work inspires me.

  • Although on Fridays (today) I stay home with my two youngest kids and expecting to get more than one sentence written at a time is pretty much impossible (in other words, #4 is rather important as well).

  • I love this post, Lindsey…  I’m a creative wannabe and zillions of ideas spin in my mind but few make it to fruition; I hate that I let obstacles speak bigger than inspiration.

    But…closing my computer and LIVING is the biggest inspiration.  What I lose in online community I gain in life!   Reading is huge, so is everything in nature.  And I love tooling around craft shows, farmers markets, quirky stores.  I don’t do that enough but I’m always ramped up after.

    🙂

    • yes, sometimes for me it is hard to find the balance between taking the time to be inspired and doing the work.

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