Tag Archives: Creative Process

Creative Process Exercises (Step 3)

Manifestation is the third step in the creative process. It generally takes a lot longer to complete than the other two steps. Depending on what you’re creating, you may never be finished with it. Once you set out on the path to create something new, you begin to alter your reality. You start to receive information in the form of feedback, successes, failures, unexpected opportunities, or unanticipated obstacles. Any or all of that information can lead to discoveries and innovations. The creative process is dynamic rather than static. So use what you get to adjust your goals or reaffirm them.


This is where you get down to the nitty-gritty and figure out exactly what it’s going to take to realize your dream or accomplish your goal and then take practical steps to get there. You’ll need a plan. And you’ll need commitment. But you’ll also need to be observant and flexible. Continue reading

Creative Process Exercises (Step 2)

Visualization is the second step in the creative process. All the steps are equally important and it’s best to take time with each of them, but slowing down may be even more important at Step 2 than at the other steps. So make sure you give this stage ample time.

At first, the brain lavishes the scarce resource of attention on a single problem. But, once the brain is sufficiently focused, the cortex needs to relax in order to seek out the more remote association in the right hemisphere, which will provide the insight.

Jonah Lehrer, Imagine–How Creativity Works


Think of Step 1 as the large opening at the top of a funnel into which you throw everything imaginable and then some. Step 2 is the narrow tube that slows down the flow of ideas. Slowing down helps you weed out the shoulds so you can get to the juicy stuff. Try your ideas on to see if they fit you. Are your goals personally meaningful to you and consistent with your values? Visualization utilizes soft—as opposed to hard—thinking. Continue reading

Creative Process Exercises (Step 1)

There are lots of creativity exercises that can be found in books or on the internet and classes you can take to enhance your creativity. Many of them are geared toward helping you develop a creative approach to your work or personal life. Others seem to be directed at helping you solve problems creatively. That’s different from creating—making something from nothing.

The creative process works best when you complete the three steps—conceptualization, visualization, and manifestation—in order. And creativity exercises seem to be more effective if they’re matched to the appropriate step in the process. With that in mind, here are some exercises that lend themselves to Step 1.


At the conceptualization step, you want to give your Inner Critic the day or the week off so it doesn’t prematurely shoot down your ideas. Delete the words “practical” and “realistic” from your vocabulary. When you think you’ve exhausted the possibilities, keep going. That’s often the point where you strike gold. Continue reading

Something from Nothing: The Creative Process

Lots of people have identified the three steps of the creative process, and they’ve used various terms to describe them. I call them conceptualization, visualization, and manifestation. These three steps map remarkably closely onto the three Centers of Intelligence of the Enneagram: Thinking, Feeling, and Doing.

To use the creative process effectively, we need to fully engage with and complete each step in the appropriate sequence. But since none of us accesses all three centers equally, we tend to give insufficient attention to one or more of the steps, combine or confuse steps, or try to complete them out of sequence. I’ve seen–and experienced–how we tend to get stuck at the step of the creative process that relates to the Center of Intelligence we’re least comfortable with. But if creating were easy, I guess we’d all be masters of the process already.

The Three Steps and the Three Centers

Here’s how the steps of the creative process correlate with the Centers of Intelligence.

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