The Process of Creativity: Through Overthinking or Spontaneity?
How do creative artists create? Through a mind-numbing overthinking or a spontaneous creative surge?
I have the privilege of working with two graphic designers in my office. One is a qualified over-thinker while the other is spontaneously creative. Whenever these two are given a task, my over-thinker colleague takes forever to finish a simple task. But that is never the case for the spontaneous artist. We took an anonymous poll at the office to settle the question of overthinking and spontaneity. As fate would have it, many had preferred the work of the spontaneous artist to the over-thinker. This, by no means, cannot be a general principle. But it certainly poses a great question for all creatives artists: how do spontaneity and overthinking affect creativity?
Though it might be hard to define creativity precisely as such, the word upholds a genuine presentation of something unique and peculiar to anything it is assigned to. Creativity is usually interlinked with a work of art or literature. However, anything that takes a physical and visible form after being imagined by the creator is ascribed as something creative. This interlink with imagination makes authenticity the underlying feature of creativity. So, how does one become creative? Simply with an overtaking spontaneity? Or an overdue overthinking process?
Vincent van Gogh, commonly known as the father of modern Art, produced 900+ paintings in 10 years. Approximately, he has produced new artwork every 36 hours. This might be great evidence to show how one should be spontaneous while creating. Be that as it may, history tells us otherwise not to take this extreme blindly. Yes, Van Gogh was a prolific, brilliant painter while so many took their time producing a single work of art. The simplest
example would be Leonardo Da Vinci who has taken almost two decades to perfect one of his masterpieces, the Mona Lisa. Yet, the question remains: can we conclude creativity takes years of thinking? Or a matter of a few hours? More importantly, does the time it takes to finish a single piece define the work's authenticity or quality?
That is highly debatable. No matter how long it takes to take a visible final form, creativity is a spontaneous result of imagination. I believe it is a Eureka moment of a perfect explanation for whatever is gnawing your inside. Whether it is an emotional relief or a problem-solving result for the mass, there is a certain force one cannot hide or bury inside anymore. Productivity, on the other hand, needs effort and a certain discipline to finish what has
already been started in a moment. Many die with great ideas for they never take the time or the effort to change their imagination into reality. The other many die thinking it is never perfect to be seen by others. Some take their chances and become prolific while others are mostly impeded by the overdue overthinking of perfecting it.
Overthinking, as in spending an insurmountable amount of time in your head, might lead you to the point of creativity. But it will always pose a challenge to impede your productivity. For art to be perfect, you certainly don’t need to measure the width of your brushstroke in your head. Nor do you have to calculate the pages of your book before inscribing a single word. Creativity takes a leap of a mess, simply. Every perfect work is a result of too many ruined canvases and hundreds of thrown pieces.
Every artist is, perhaps, a perfectionist. But sometimes it is better to let go and create an authentic mess of your own. Who knows? That might be a masterpiece the world has been waiting for?!