Creative practice

What am I doing here?

I’m looking at ten overlapping, but sometimes contradictory, versions or definitions of creativity. Why? In case you’re saying (like so many of us) ‘I’m not creative’ as if it were an innate skill. I want to prove you wrong. Also, because I’ve got a short essay in a book called The Creative Critic where I explore some of these ideas.

What is Creative Practice?

In a nutshell, creative practice involves developing and practising a skill in the Creative Arts. It’s a thing – a practice or a discipline – and it’s a way of doing something – a verb, to practise (with an ‘s’ in British English). You might not think of it as ‘a creative practice’ until you start doing it professionally or to a high standard – in which case you’re using ‘practice’ like a doctor uses ‘practice’ to describe his or her work at the clinic or surgery.

It’s all in the word

The key is in the word ‘practice’ (or ‘practise’) and its different meanings. In this context it can mean:

  • When doing something creative is part of your life, when you follow a creative discipline.
  • When you make a habit out of your creative thing (rather than doing it once, or simply talking about it).
  • When you deliberately practise in order to get better.

Process over product

With Creative Practice the focus is on the process of doing it. It might lead to a creative product – and that may well be very important – but the focus for the practitioner is on the process. The product (say the concert or the book or film or photo) is part of the process. The process has parts to it. These overlap. I’ve written about this elsewhere in relation to the writing process (here for instance) but I’ll sum it up more generally like this:

  • Incubation
  • Planning and research
  • Creating
  • Honing
  • Receiving feedback
  • Making it public
  • Reception
  • Reflection and review
  • And repeat

A messy process

Creative practice doesn’t necessarily involve all of these steps, steps repeat throughout, and they almost never go in a straightforward chronological order like this. One creative process may overlap with another, too. Suffice to say that the ‘creating and honing’ part of the process are the marmalade in the sandwich (or insert other sandwich filling that you like!). It’s the ‘creating and honing’ that we focus on when we have a creative practice.

Up next: Creative Thinking

 

 


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