The Three Stages of Creativity

It’s been nearly two years since I began my English Literature and Creative Writing degree (more info here: ), and I can’t believe that after this next term it’s summer break, and after that…my third year. Which is quite honestly absolutely terrifying.

In the past two years of creative writing there is one three step concept that my seminar leader told me, which has stuck in my mind. It’s this, reading widely, and a hell of a lot of coffee which has helped me to develop my writing from what it was, to what it is now.

The self aware stage is the stage at which you can be expecting to achieve a high 2.1, or even a 1.0. A 1.0 is from 70-80 marks wise. And a first is considered pretty much publishable. Which, as a creative writer is where you want to ideally end up…


(AKA. “I’m a brilliant writer. This is awesome.”)

This is the point you are possibly at before you come to uni, and even during the beginning of first year. Every poem/script/prose piece you write is fantastic. There is no need to pursue a second draft, never mind anything past that. At this point your writing is unconscious. You write, and just get everything on your head onto the page. You believe that you are a talented writer. Which you most likely are. But then we reach the next stage…

(AKA. “Sh*t, my writing is actually awful. I can’t do this. How did I get onto this course?! *hyperventilates*)

This usually comes at some point either approaching, or following, your first few marked pieces of work, or even your first portfolio. This is the point where you begin to look at your work and feel awkward about it. You feel like it is no good. You go through multiple drafts, and you sigh with relief when someone makes a positive comment about your work. You aren’t entirely sure what your style of writing is yet. At this point a lot of people lose the will with writing, and drop out or transfer to straight lit (although sometimes this is for other reasons; you may simply discover you are better at writing dissertations, or enjoy the lit side of the degree more). Push through this stage, and pay careful attention to both your creativity and the technical side of writing, and we reach…

(AKA. “My writing is good, I know I can improve it and how, I have my own distinctive style. This is awesome.”)

You understand your writing is good, but it can be improved. You make multiple drafts of your work, and go after creativity instead of waiting for inspiration. At this stage you can read your work, making edits and changes and trying different forms/layouts/phrasing, and (crucially) you can explain why you make these changes. You can see how things make the work better/worse. This is the stage at which your writing will improve dramatically. Chances are, you won’t even notice its improved until you compare your older work to your current work- which is all the more reason to keep what we refer to as a “creative journal”, which is a scrap book of ideas.
There you have it, the stages of becoming a good writer. Even when you reach the last stage, know that your writing is an ongoing process- and that this is part of being self aware. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s