The following is an excerpt from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity, The psychology of discovery and invention (HarperCollins, 2013, 1996)(based on interviews with 91 prominent creative individuals, over age 60, from 1990-1995).
The creative process has traditionally been described as involving five steps:
But this classical analytic framework leading from preparation to elaboration gives a severely distorted picture of the creative process if it is taken too literally. …The creative process is less linear than recursive. …Sometimes incubation lasts for years; sometimes it takes a few hours. Sometimes the creative ideas include one deep insight and innumerable small ones.
The five-stage view of the creative process may be too simplified, and it can be misleading, but it does offer a relatively valid and simple way to organize the complexities involved.
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