Articulating the Process
Updated: Jun 21
Process is literally whatever you do to create the work. Over time you discover what works and what doesn’t. If what you're doing is effective, then you can repeat it and get similar results.
For example, If I want to write a feature film, it might seem overwhelming at first. However, if I decide that my process will be to go to a specific location, like a coffee shop and spend two hours every other day writing, I will eventually have a script. That is process.
An early attempt to organize my process started in 1997 with a journal to document the evolution of 'creating a character'. That process included how I memorized lines, backstory, costume, etc. I wanted to document my own personal exploration of a character. Twenty Two years later, I still write in the same journal.
At first it was a way to document my way of work, but then it actually became the process itself. Which simply means, writing in my journal has become one of my many tools to create work. And after 20 plus years of working this way, I'm convinced it is the most essential part of my creative process.
My way of work also includes many other techniques. I might shoot photos of flowers to create a theme for a series of ceramic pots. Or if I’m writing a film that takes place in the distant future, I might paint landscapes to see how my imagination could envision that future. I might make a collage of photos to inform a character I'm going to play. Using other mediums in order to find a way into the piece I'm creating is only another form of articulation, I'm just using a different language.
And, of course, it'a always evolving. What worked before may not work again so the key to an effective process is to allow it to evolve and change over time. You have to be flexible. For example, you might work with people who don’t work the same way you do. That might be frustrating, but rather than quit, see it as an opportunity for growth. This is a chance to evolve your process. You can learn from experiencing a way of work that is unfamiliar to you. It's like learning to speak a new language and the more you practice, the more languages you speak. That is the power of evolving your process.
No matter what technique I newly learn or old method that evolves, I always return to my journal to write about the experience. It's a way to force myself to articulate the next step along the evolutionary path of my creative process.
Recently I was listening to the audio book Calypso by David Sedaris, I learned that he too has kept a journal his whole life. I've always liked his work, and now felt a very real kindred spirit on the other end of the audio book.
In fact, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Mark Twain, Charles Darwin, Lewis and Clark, Thomas Edison, Frida Kahlo and Leonardo da Vinci are among many who have kept journals.
So if you walk away with anything after reading this... keep a journal.