I like Eric Maisel’s model of the creative process as described in his book Fearless Creating. Rather than focusing on mysterious processes of “inspiration”, “incubation”, “illumination”, he defines the stages of creativity as:
These stages are more action oriented than descriptive. It’s not that those other “mysterious” processes don’t exist. They do. It’s just that knowing about them doesn’t do much to help you when you hit a roadblock. By contrast, Maisel’s model is extremely practical. When I first read Fearless Creating, I was sharing a studio with another artist friend. We began to refer to it simply as “the book”. Each time, either one of us felt a block, we would go read “the book” and come back a few hours later ready to work. The model enabled us to recognize which stage of the process we were in and exactly what associated anxieties were causing our block. It then gave very practical advice on how to face and overcome these anxieties.
I’m still walking out this process of being a creative person. Sometimes it’s been through my ceramics (currently my studio is in storage). Sometimes it’s been through writing (right now I’ve been doing a lot of that). Sometimes it’s been through other venues – music, song, poetry, etc. I have realized more and more that if I don’t create, I’ll die inwardly. So, I choose to create.