Writing on the Wall: The Creative Process Explained.

People are always saying that they’re not creative.

But we say everyone is creative; it’s just a matter of how that creativity expresses itself. Maybe you’re amazing at throwing a recipe together out of a bunch of random things from the pantry, or maybe you can find a fast way to get just about anywhere, or maybe you’re a genius at solving math equations.

There are a bazillion ways to be creative!

We at GLAD WORKS are creative with design, coding, photography, writing, and all kinds of artsy stuff like that, but we’re not so sure any of us could build a space elevator. Well, maybe the techies could…they’re crazy like that, plus they watch a lot of Sci-Fi movies.

So today, we thought it would be fun to talk about creativity as a process with very distinct steps and phases since, after all, it’s how we create your projects for you. Without the process, we’d all be sitting here in the studio playing pool and planning parties.

While you’re reading about the creative process, you can be thinking about your own processes. Sometimes understanding and being aware of the process you go through when solving a problem or creating something can help you improve on it and achieve goals you didn’t know were attainable. 

Being aware of how you do things can improve the way you do them and impact the final result.

Whether you’re a studio full of “creatives” or just a regular person off the street, no matter how creative you are and what you’re creative with, we all follow a similar cognitive process when we create something. (That has to be the world record for number of times the word “creative” was used in a sentence.)

We’ll use the example of a writer’s creative process today because a writer is writing this RIGHT NOW and that’s how she feels like doing it.

She’s kind of in control here and we’re along for the ride. It’s best to just sit tight and let her go.


This is the stage of the process that’s the most work. When a writer starts a project she doesn’t just jump in and start writing it. She pokes around and does a little research on the Internet; she might flip through a book or two or look at similar projects she’s done in the past to consider them for revision. After that she might start to brainstorm a few ideas. This is as far as it goes at this stage of the project. Often, during this phase, she walks away without getting a whole lot, if anything, done in the way of actual writing.


During the incubation phase, the writer doesn’t really do anything even though she’s definitely still working on her project. Her creative process is going on in the background while she does other things like showering, driving or stirring a pot of soup on the stove.


Just as she’s rinsing shampoo from her hair and thinking about nothing in particular it hits her!  And she grabs her kid’s bath crayon and scribbles down her thoughts on the shower wall so she doesn’t forget her epiphany! Either that or she’s driving and she has to tell Siri to remember her idea for her. These inconveniently timed epiphanies drive the writer absolutely bananas.  But, she’s happy to have them, and so she gets over herself and moves on to the next phase.


After her epiphany, the writer then evaluates whether her idea is full of The Awesome or full of The Suckage. If it’s full of The Awesome, she moves forward with it. If it’s full of The Suckage, she tries to salvage whatever she can from her disappointing epiphany and take it in a direction that makes more sense. If she’s really stuck, she finds a way to work past her creative block until she’s got something solid. 

Sometimes she just stares at the wall and stuffs her face with chocolates until a better idea comes along (this is her favorite way to work past a creative block, btw).


Now is where the whole thing comes together. Our writer’s got a solid direction to go in and she’s ready to transform her thoughts into a final product. Maybe she starts writing an outline or a first paragraph; maybe she just dumps her brain out on the paper and cleans it all up later, but here’s where the ideas come together to form the final result. She’ll change a word here and there and move a paragraph around or take it apart, but after fussing with it for a while, it’s done and she can go about washing her hair in peace…until the next project comes along, of course.

So, that’s how it works, friends. That’s how we do The Creative. Whether you’re coding a website or writing a magnificent blog post or making a business decision, the steps of the process remain the same. And if you’re not creative at the things we’re good at, that’s ok! Call us and the beginnings of your project will be written on a bathroom wall in no time!

That part about the bathroom wall didn’t sound very good, did it? 

The writer should probably work on making that last sentence a little nicer. It’s borderline potty humor, really.

But that’s enough about us. In what ways are YOU creative, GLAD WORKS friends?


  • Wed, 02/01/2012 - 11:37am reply

    I create by envisioning the outcome, granted the view is always distorted in scale or flexibility at the beginning but this is the most fluid time of my process, anything is possible! As the reality of time, space and budget start to play a role the limitations actually create more of a challenge and help me "see" in a different way. I was once told by an art director "to turn it upside down and look at it again, see it in a whole new way" Once I start to play with the the physical installation I allow it to evolve as it speaks to me playing off what is completed to direct me in going forward. Most often when finished I can see those initial visions and they are always a key inspiration and have a place in the final product.

    • Wed, 02/01/2012 - 11:37am reply

      Tom, great process! Thanks for sharing! We also like to "turn it upside down!"

  • Wed, 02/01/2012 - 11:37am reply


    I don't see anything about Mood Showering in this piece.


    See minute 1:29.


    • Wed, 02/01/2012 - 11:37am reply

      Hahahahahaha! We totally need to start doing that! We actually even have Yoga Balls! Thanks for the great video :) 

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