The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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The Last Part of the Creative Process: “Ahhh…”

October 16th, 2008 · No Comments

I’m an educator with a very pragmatic teaching philosophy, so I can’t get over how cool it is when real-life experiences back up theories and research, and vice versa.

Earlier this week, I took a trip through the creative process (and you can listen to the result in the previous post!) At the same time, I’ve been studying creativity and different thinkers’ understandings of the process of creating–specifically, Graham Wallas, who devised a model to describe 5 stages involved in creation. They are:

1. Preparation – You discover a problem and begin thinking about and exploring it.

2. Incubation – The problem recedes into the unconscious mind and it looks like nothing’s happening. (Sometimes you may even go and do something unrelated to the problem.)

3. Intimation – You get a “feeling” that the solution is coming.

4. Illumination/Insight – The idea bursts forth!

5. Verification – You consciously act on your idea.

In creating the Sierra Club Socks song, I followed the Wallas model almost exactly. I volunteered to write the song and then proceeded to worry about it for 3 straight days. (Worry seems to be my way of figuring out all the angles of a problem.) On the 4th day, I had a ton of students and turned my attention to them rather than the song. Pretty soon, I started to hear snatches of the song here and there at random times–it was coming–and soon the song woke me up at 4am, demanding to be written. And I wrote it. And then I did the process again in playing and recording my ideas. Wallas down to a “T”. Except for…

My absolute favorite, albeit unwritten, stage…Number 6. Number 6 is what I like to call “Ahhhhhhh…” simply because that’s how it feels. :-) You’ve given birth to something, you’ve given something new and unique to the world; you finally get to hear the finished product that once nagged you in your sleep…AND you get to hear how much other people like it, too! (Well, most of the time at least.)

That’s where I am today, “Ahhh.” Satisfied. I created, and now I rest. :-)

Tags: creativity

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