CREATIVE CIRCUMPLEX: A Map of the Creative Process

The Four Quadrants The Four Poles
Entry Ecstasy Agony Industry Inner & Outer, Connection & Separation


Wander / Explore

The random walk. Moodling. Searching -- for a problem, a focus, and idea. Sitting in cafes, browsing in the library, the museum. Preparing the ground. Chatting with people, looking over past work. Waiting. Receptivity.

Connect / Envision

Inspiration, falling in love. Finding the problem. Seeing the first connections from which the work will evolve. Sense of certainty, elation, excitement.

Engage / Flow

Being in love with, obsessed by, absorbed by the work. Total concentration and focus. Timelessness and flow. You see the work whole and work inside it.

Struggle / Endure

Blockage, conflict, separation. You want to go one way, and the work wants to go another. Frustration. Hard, painful work that goes nowhere. Self-doubt.

Transform / Shift

Shift of perspective. Solution to the problems that blocked progress. Recreation of the work in a new image. Understanding, acceptance of the work's needs.

Revise / Adapt

Industrious work to manifest the vision. Application of craft, technique, perseverence, discipline. Adaptation of the work and the idea to one another.

Test / Reflect

Trial runs, dress rehearsals, the review process. Preliminary engagement with consumer, audience, critics.

Launch / Release

The performance, the publication, the opening of the art show, the unveiling of the new product, building. The chef's creation is served. Marketing and sales.

© Copyright 1998, Holly Arrow