Monday, December 27, 2010

The Spiral of Creativity

This photo of Parco di Monza in summer has been coming up in my mind lately, which means I need to share it. I loved the cloud formations on that day, the spirals I saw. I didn't see the clouds as spiraling inward, but moving outward. I saw in the clouds a spiral of creativity, where ideas are born at the center and then gain momentum as they spin toward the outside. The ideas eventually break free and are sent off into the world at high speed, flung with the creative energy they attained through the spiral. All that, read in the clouds on a summer day.

I can see why this image has popped into my head, because the whole idea of the spiral of creativity fits perfectly with some reflection I've been doing. As I work hard on finishing my Find Your Eye class, I've realized that I have moved to a dramatically different place in the creativity spiral. The place where the ideas are about to completely break free, and move off into the world.

I decided today I would share these fresh thoughts on the creativity spiral. These are the different places or phases I've experienced, so far. I'm curious to know, is this how you have experienced it too? Where are you in the spiral?

The first phase of the spiral is Absorbing. Opening yourself up to all of the creative ideas that exist in our world, and absorbing them into our creative center through reading, observing, learning. This is an active step, because you have to seek the ideas out and expend energy into taking them in to yourself. This may also be the absolute center of the spiral, like the eye of a hurricane, the place where there is calm. You need peace and quiet to absorb.

Processing is the second phase. I think the phrase I like to use, "I have all of these ideas swirling around in my head," fits perfectly here. This is where the ideas you absorbed begin to be transformed. You think about them, write about them. You are seeking where they fit in with your life, your experience, your philosophy. You are in the spiral proper now, beginning to really move.

After Processing comes Practicing. You begin playing around with your creative ideas. You give your creative self a playground, a safe place to explore and practice. You delight in the discoveries you make. It is through this practice and play that new connections are made in the ideas you've been absorbing and processing. Brand new ideas are born.

At some point, Practicing transitions into Acting. Some of the ideas that are born during play will become ready for action. Things are really moving now in the spiral. Dreaming of how to bring the idea to fruition becomes doing. You begin to take the next steps, to make the ideas real and get them ready to release into the world.

Finishing comes next, very close to the outside of the spiral. You are moving quickly, putting the work into completing the remaining actions to send the idea into the world. This, in some ways, is the hard part, because it's not all swirly fun and play. It's the nuts and bolts of getting things done. There are deadlines and external requirements at times. The excitement is still there, but it is different, tempered with effort. In this phase, your commitment is tested. Will you really launch the idea into the world? Or will you let it sink back into the spiral?

I find myself in the Finishing phase of the spiral right now, with my Find Your Eye class. It is interesting to discover, even with the effort it is taking, that my commitment is stronger than ever. Each time I work on the class, no matter how much I still have yet to do or how much I see that I need to improve, I find myself saying, "This is good stuff. I need to get this out to people." This one idea, of the many that are born in my spiral of creativity, will be launched into the world.

What comes next in the spiral of creativity? I don't know yet. I can only see the parts of the spiral I have been through so far. I don't know what happens when the creative idea is launched into the world, but soon I will. Have you launched your creative idea? What has come next for you? I would love for you to share your experiences with me, to let me know what phase comes next in the creative spiral.

While I don't yet personally know what comes next, there is one thing I do know:  In order to work, the spiral must always be kept in motion. In order to keep the momentum, even for one idea to launch, I have to be Absorbing and Processing and Practicing too. Without that continual creative energy fueling the movement, the spiral will die. Like clouds on a sunny day, it would will eventually blow away, disappear into the sky. So I keep reading and journaling and writing here, sharing my little insights with you all, so that my spiral of creativity continues.

Today's 9 Muses Musing prompt is SHARING. This is the post I needed to write today, regardless of the prompt, and I'm surprised that it even is remotely related.  Tomorrow's prompt is STORIES. 


  1. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. 2Cor.9:15
    Yesterday this was explained to me,He is indescribable, He created the swirls, and we say Lord, I beleive, I stand in awe!
    Hope you had a blessed Christmas,
    Aunt Elsie

  2. Fantastic post Kat. Thank you!
    I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  3. Must be moving into the practicing portion of the spiral. I've got my safe spot to play and am really looking forward to your class!

  4. Right now with my particular challenge I think I am in processing. ;) Love the picture!

  5. I love clouds! I love shooting images of them. This is beautiful, thanks!

  6. Nice post, Kat. I think I'm somewhere between Absorbing and Processing!

  7. This is good stuff!!! Thank you for sharing...processing it at the moment ;-)

  8. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. I'm still in the processing phase.

  9. I like this way of visualizing the creative process. I've always used spirals for processing different emotions or themes in my life - this is the most well-rounded version I've heard!

  10. OHHH, I have experienceed these feelings but didn't realize there was an order. What a wonderful find! I think this is how I came to realize that I didn't want to take documentary family photos for a business but the undocumentary one. I see the difference between the two and for my family, see and do it. Thank you Miss K! Looking forward to 2011. it is going to be killer!

  11. The clouds in that sky are so wispy, like God just dragged his finger through them. Makes me long for bluer skies since ours was so grey today.


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