This post was inspired by a beloved friend who recently shared her creative process with me.
Planning a Mixed-Media Painting
My friend writes:
This is a photo of my creative process: the initial journaling/brainstorming session for the current encaustic piece I’m doing.
Writing a Sonnet
Naturally, I began to reflect on my own creative process. I usually compose on the computer, but I also keep a notebook around all the time. I call it an idea book because it can’t be pigeon-holed as a sketchbook, a scratchpad, or a journal. I write thoughts, reflections, ideas, and first drafts in it. I also doodle and sketch in it. It’s a little of everything.
So this example comes from the desk of yours truly. In it, we can see the final product and the creative process.
I regularly read the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, and awhile ago I came across a quotation that I felt I should take to heart (more than usual, though I try to absorb as much as possible). I decided that writing a sonnet would help me become familiar with the concepts. Here is the quotation:
…the tongue is a smouldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endure a century. (source)
Sonnet in favour of moderate speech
When under pressure to a heart ignite,
When failing to emit a single sound,
It’s best to share a quote—or so I’ve found—
From greater words than I could ever write.
If, when you speak, the seeker seems confused,
Press on with moderation and reflect:
The concepts are important to connect,
And Anna’s conversation may be used,
But listen to the beating of that heart
And modify your pace to match their own.
Call on the Concourse: you are not alone.
Recall our oneness: we are not apart.
In short: the tongue can be a burning flame
Or it can be a light shining His Name.
*Note: The phrase “Anna’s conversation” refers to a teaching tool that is learned by participants studying Book 6 (“Teaching the Cause”) of the Ruhi Institute sequence of courses—courses that Baha’is everywhere are using in their community-building efforts.
Now here is the page of my idea book on which I worked out the sonnet:
I’m not sure what kind of insight into my character this will give you (feel free to share in the comments section), but nonetheless it’s interesting to see the scratchings and sketches of others. This friend and I both use writing and/or mindmaps, for example, but not everyone does.
What is your creative process like?