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by Deanna DeMarco
There is no one clear-cut way to define the creative process. There are multiple creative mediums, and in each one innovators have different steps that they take to develop their ideas.
Although the creative process can not be clearly defined per person, it consists of the methods artists use to come up with original ideas. This process has been divided into four basic working stages, which have been most commonly used among creatives, although in reality the process is very fluid. These phases include preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. It is important to recognize that these stages do not need to be done in any specific order. How these working phases are implemented depends entirely on the creative individual.
Preparation is an ongoing phase in which your brain gathers information, subconsciously or consciously, to form ideas. Incubation is the stage in which you let ideas sit, giving yourself time away from the project, letting your brain subconsciously work out problems, so you can return to your ideas with a clear head and a new willingness to reimagine them. Illumination is better known as the “eureka!” moment within the process. This is the stage in which ideas that had been lingering beneath the surface of a creative’s consciousness become clear as day. Verification is when the innovator comes up with how they plan to package and display their idea to the world.
My creative process is almost undefinable to me. I try to write at least one song a week. I think keeping the creative juices flowing and being as prolific as possible is a big part of being a songwriter. Writing music is second nature to me. I do not sit down and start writing because I want to; I sit down and write because I have to.
My creative process begins with a sudden surge of creative energy. I have this urge to get something out, and my phone is usually the first to help me do that. At any given point in the day I may grab my phone to get a melody out of my head. I will open up my voice memos app, press record, and sing whatever idea has been lurking in my mind. Ideas for me usually start as a tiny spark.
I then tend to gravitate towards an instrument. As soon as my fingers hit the strings of my guitar or the keys of my piano, it’s all over from there.
Sometimes I come up with my chords and melody simultaneously, and other times in various steps. And the words tend to just flow out. My lyrics start off with me mumbling a lot of nonsense, but usually a phrase or two really stand out to me and I work off of whatever they may be. I write down all of my lyrics in a notebook. There is something about physically writing out my feelings that I find very relieving. It can take me anywhere from 20 minutes to several weeks to write a song.
Sometimes my head is not in the game. When this happens, I tend to take some time away from my work: the incubation stage. I almost always come back to unfinished songs with solutions.
My lyrics are often reflections of significant moments in my life. I create out of the need to express something. I guess as I have been growing up I have been collecting “data” to use in my songs. All of the places I have been and the people I have met have led me to create. Every situation I encounter is my preparation stage. I write songs with the intent of having listeners use my life experiences as a safety net to get through their own.
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Your Creative Processes
“I do spiritual paintings based on visions that I have. I meditate. Usually when I meditate I have a vision, and then I have an idea of what I want to do, and while doing it I work out all the details. I also write poetry so I have a concept rather than painting, then I’ll write poetry. For me, my creativity comes from a higher source.”
“When i’m given a piece I immediately listen to it on Youtube; different kinds of musicians who perform those pieces, just to see how I want to play it. When I listen to a piece for the first time I’m usually in my dorm, and have headphones on. I try to look up the background of the piece to see what it was written for and the time period. I come up here [fine arts building] often, especially on the weekend when there’s no one here so I can practice until I can’t get it wrong. If it’s a slow piece I really get into and I start moving as I’m playing.”
“When you’re singing an operatic song, you’re not just singing the song, you’re telling a story. You have to know what it’s about, who wrote it, when was it in the Opera, and then you show that through expressions and your voice. I love opera.”