Creativity isn't a linear process

I have always liked straight lines and plans, clear paths and directions to follow, a clear goal with a limited number of options to get me to the finish line. I feel safer and more in control when I know that if I do this, then this, then this, I get this.

This aspect is an inherent part of my personality and conative style (see this site and stay tuned for a future article about it!), and it was greatly strengthened by all the years of school.  School is a major proponent for linear thinking.  Study this, learn this, take this test, write this paper, get the answers right and get an A and move on.  Because this all came naturally to me, so did school.

Then I got out of school and set off to build an entrepreneurial, creative life.  Whoa.  Suddenly a+b did NOT equal c.  Maybe a+b-dxe+f MIGHT equal c. 


What school had failed to teach me, or perhaps what I had failed to learn in all my years of schooling, is that creativity is not actually a linear process.  Creativity is more like this drawing my older daughter drew when she was 2.

creativity not linear process

It takes circling, scribbling, spiraling, lines and hops in the direction of your idea, and the finished result may not be anything like you thought it would be when you began.

Maybe, for example, you're interested in taking photos of nature.  As you walk through the park with your camera, you start to notice the individual blades of grass.  You take some pictures and start to see the tiny bugs living on the grass.  Before you know it, you're at a lab taking pictures of cells from the bugs and you create an exhibit of how the enlarged cell photos resemble bridges.  Who knows?!  

It can feel a little like the dog on a walk who's constantly seeing and chasing new squirrels, but that's the creative life!

In creativity, curiosity is queen, not directions or clean paths.  It is curiosity and following it like breadcrumbs that will spiral and swirl around until eventually resembling something that feels right to you.  

It is the courage to trust these curiosity breadcrumbs, often going against the grain of society's expectations, that will create a creative life you love.


Tell me, where is your curiosity leading you today? 


Ready to bypass the linear thinking and find out what your creative soul wants you to know?  Check out my FREE guided visualization!