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A Fascination With Creativity

I've always had a fascination with creativity. I think I inherited a creative bent from my mother whose hobbies included drama and calligraphy. I'm a strong believer in the therapeutic value of creative pursuits in preventing professional burnout. I've discovered, however, in my reading and quote collecting that there are differing views about the creative process.

To some it is an ungovernable process:

You cannot govern the creative impulse; all you can do is to eliminate obstacles and smooth the way for it.

-Kimon Nicoliades

To others it is a matter of governing work habits:

If you want to develop your creativity, establish regular work habits. Allow time for the incubation of ideas, and adhere to your individual rhythm. Violations of this rhythm can retard your creative efficiency.

-Eugene Raudsepp

To Chagall it is a affair of the heart:

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head almost nothing.

-Marc Chagall

While to others creativity is a matter of the mind:

To be creative, relax and let your mind go to work, otherwise the result is either a copy of something you did before or reads like an army manual.

- Kenneth H. Gordon, Jr.

Creativity has also been described as a series of phases:

-John Curtis Gowan

Gail Sheehy in Pathfinders defined four phases of the creative process:

Roger von Oech in A Kick in the Seat of the Pants feels the creative process consists of adopting four roles:

The hallmark of creative people is their mental flexibility... Sometimes they are open and probing, at others they're playful and off-the-wall. At still other times, they're critical and faultfinding. And finally they're doggedly persistent in striving to reach their goals. From this I've concluded that the creative process consists of our adopting four main roles, each which embodies a different type of thinking... These roles are: Explorer, Artist, Judge and Warrior.

And finally some feel that creativity doesn't follow any system at all:

I don't follow any system. All the laws you can lay down are only so many props to be cast aside when the hour of creation arrives.

-Raoul Dufy

In my personal pursuit of the creative process I also found that compilers of quotation books have their own ideas about creativity. I found that the quotations I was looking for were indexed under such diverse topics as aptitude, success, talent, genius, inspiration, questioning, discovery, imagination, idea, innovation, invention, simplification, courage, common sense, determination, perseverance, persistence, failure, knowledge, education, patience, accomplishment, proficiency, and originality.

I wanted to index my collected quotations into a system which made sense to me. I began to see similarities between the "phases" of Sheehy and the "roles" of von Oech as shown in the table below. I finally settled on an indexing system based on five components of the creative process which I initially labeled as: Ability, Inspiration, Innovation, Modification, and Perseverance. I never was very satisfied with using those five nouns as component identifiers. I wanted the system to be more personalized and action oriented. I eventually changed the components to action verbs as part of FRANK's Creative Process: Forage, Reflect, Adopt, Nurture and Knuckle Down. These components are discussed in Components for Creativity


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