Moving Through the Stages of the Creative Journey

Rules and technique are powerful transports for principle. Following the rules of dance or swordplay is like following a recipe. If you keep on track at each step you will discover what the chef intended. This is essential at the beginning. Especially before you learn what tastes good. But after you follow enough recipes you begin to understand flavor pairing, how to thicken a sauce, and how to appropriately spice a dish.

Now you enter into the next stage of creativity — innovation. Now you use these rules you’ve learned and begin to put them together in new and interesting ways. You fuse ideas from one dish with the recipe of another. New flavours are discovered but the rules are still palpable. If you make a lot of stuff that tastes bad maybe you go back to the recipes.

Constriction is the eventual reward of rules. The techniques that gave you the power to create now bind you down. They make you predictable, drive you to boredom; They become hard to avoid, they take you into your head and away from your body.

Yet without rules there is only chaos. Without rules there would be no language; only noise. Without the language of sounds, movement, and connection, there would be no way to share the profound, no recipes to get you started, no inspiration to push you further.

If you are diligent and resilient. If you renew and return. If you move enough times from recipe to rules to innovation to constriction to recipe. You may find the ultimate goal. The ability to intuitively create; to free-create.

Here, the rules are in you but do not constrain you. They are your tools. At this stage art and beauty can come as easily from breaking a rule as enacting it. There are still paired flavours and complimentary spices; yet there is tremendous room for surprise and delight for creator and audience, for creator and created.