Three Methods of the Creative Process

Every artist's process tends to be uniquely fitted to their own preferences and personalities. Yet, at the core of every artist, there tends to be several related processes which we all engage when we begin to create.
Usually, we don't spend a lot of time thinking about these things. We just simply create. However, standing objectively outside of a scenario and looking on it as a silent observer can help us refine our own process and gain insight that will help us grow.

The first method of creating is knowing the result of what you desire to create and setting out in experimental trial and error until you reach a satisfactory approximation of your original vision. In other words, you begin with an idea, but the way you go about to achieve that idea is left somewhat to chance and improvisation. The end result may not identically reflect your original intent but approximates the concept to a satisfactory halt. Depending on the artist's degree of permissiveness to unexpected discoveries, something completely other may develop along the way, leading to an unintended (yet satisfactory) end. (Most of the time with me, the joy of discovery trumps my original vision and I experience a sensation of growth, often creating beyond my own level of ability when I follow the unexpected.)

The second method is knowing the result of what you intend to create and employing strict techniques and patterns which result in obtaining your desired goal. This method leaves less room for experiment (and in some ways imagination) but will result in a more accurate reproduction of the original idea.

One idea of my own that followed this pattern is the ending melody of the song, "HWYL", from Songs of Water's album, "The Sea Has Spoken". I awoke in the middle of the night and heard this melody dancing in my head over and over again. I knew it was beyond my ability to write on my own and I knew if I didn't rouse myself from bed to go capture it, it would surely disappear by morning. So, I got up and sat behind my dulcimer listening to the melody over and over without touching the instrument. Once I began to pick it out, I refused to allow myself to water it down or accept an approximation of the melody. It took me most of the night to figure out, but when I did, I was overjoyed that I had been given a melody from beyond myself and managed to capture it accurately.
When I listen to it now, I have somewhat of an objective perspective on it as if I'm listening to a melody from heaven which I was privileged to have given stewardship over.

The third method to the creative process is when you simply play, not having a intended goal or vision in mind. You don't know what you've created until its completed. In poetry, I often begin by playing with word combinations and concepts, but a particular meaning doesn't emerge until after the poem is done. I'll just roll the dice so to speak. I'll just get in the car and drive. I did this with my epic children's book, "Satchel Willoughby & The Realm of Lost Things". This became an eight year journey of discovery before I slowly determined it was complete.

Of course these three forms are not dogmatic. They are just observations. There can be any variant of these, often overlapping and interchanging. I look at these as the primary colors which all other colors come from.

(Now that I think of it, a fourth method could be employing strict techniques and patterns without having a goal in mind. If I'm not mistaken, that is similar to the method, Linnea Spransy used in some of her work.)

Anyway, there you have it. See ya.