Of Writing and the Creative Process

What is your creative process?

How do you write?

I am often asked.

I am not sure how to answer this. But let me make an attempt.

First, let me categorize my writings.

One, what I write for myself, mostly poetry. Undiluted thoughts. Raw. Brimming with anguish or marveling at joys of life. Here, it is purely my perspective. No filters, as it is referred to these days. And, this is spontaneous. I can never dictate my mind (or is it heart) to write a poem. It speaks what it wants, when it wants. I am just a medium.

Second, what I write to converse, to build a dialogue, to exchange thoughts. These are, sometimes, short fiction (never had the patience for longer, more intricate writings), and generally my blogs. Like the one I am writing now. This is slightly more methodic. There are considerations, like relevance, timeliness, occasion, reason, purpose and medium. What I say, where I say, when I say and to whom I say – all these are weighed in (well, at least, attempted at).

Third, what I write to convey thoughts and messages of others - the stories that businesses must tell. Both, to their customers and teams. Both, within their organizations and to specific external audience. And, here the process gets trickier.

This form of writing requires greater discipline. Methods. Structured thought process. Deeper understanding of the 5 Ws and a H.

This is where skill meets intuition. Knowledge meets exploration. Expertise meets experience. Expectations meet realizations. And, art blends with science.

And, now for the creative process.

Listen to the term – creative process.

Creative.

Process.

Does it say something?

Listen again.

Roll the words on your tongue.

Hear them.

Picture them.

Got it?

Yes, that’s it.

Creativity meets processes.

Creativity is intuitive.

It is earned or discovered. It blossoms.

Processes are evolutionary.

They are learnt, developed, deployed and, once you get a hang of it, improvised.

What is the process I follow?

I listen.

Words reveal themselves.

Meanings unfold.

Jargons simplify.

All, as I listen to each syllable. Listen with the context. Listen with intent.

And, not just the words.

I listen to conversations, chaos and noise. I listen to the sellers and buyers, technologies and processes, businesses and markets, leaders and challengers.

And, this listening lets me learn many languages. I learn to speak in different tongues, in varied environment, in specific context.

And, the language equips me to craft messages. Messages that resonate with those who are intended to receive them.

I understand.

Understanding is developed as I explore contexts.

Understanding is multidimensional.

And, understanding is a continuum. It evolves. The more I explore, exercise and experience, the more I gain clarity. Clarity on the pitch and positioning.

And, with this the messages get the context, they must.

I structure.

Here I have a confession to make.

Structure was something, that eluded me for a long time. It was the brute force of intuition, combined with the obsession to listen and intent to understand, that guided my writings. But then, a senior, a mentor, revealed the importance of structure.

I realized that writing without a well-defined structure is like navigating a crowded city without a map; like embarking on the journey to a destination, without charting a route.

Structure is the GPS that guides the narrative. A framework, if you will.

The structure lands the messages with impact.

How to define a structure?

It is contextual.

It is informed by the type of narrative and channel of communication.

It depends on the messages that need to be conveyed and, to the target audience.

The structure brings a flow, fluidity and form. It makes the reader flow with the narrative and guides them to take the intended action.

And, finally, I write.

Writing is just 20% of the entire process. Arriving at the writing is a journey.

Listen, understand, structure, write. That’s it.

Does it resonate?

What is your creative process?

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