THE BLOG

The Creative Process

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

People like to perpetuate the idea of creativity as a result of divine inspiration followed by a burst of manic, late-night work, completed in a garret during a thunderstorm.

In reality, though, it's less about poetics and more about treating the process like any other job -- except that you're both your boss and your employee! A normal "creative workday" follows to give you an idea of just how much self-discipline and regular old elbow-grease your average "artistic" type employs each and every day.

9AM Wake up, feeling proud for not having overslept the alarm again, though, really, there's no real reason to wake up at this time than any other, as there's nowhere I have to be.

9:10 AM Open computer, ready to get down to really creatin'.

9:15 AM Realize the juices of inspiration just aren't going to flow without coffee.

9:25 AM Without breakfast, the caffeine jitters attack my frail, artist's temperament. I decide that making some oatmeal might reverse the effects, but it doesn't work.

9:26-10:15 AM
Check celebrity gossip sites while waiting for the caffeine to settle down. This gets filed under the "research" heading, since they may produce handy "pop-culture" references later.

10:15 AM Caffeine has worn off, and now I'm ready to get down to really creatin.'

10:16 AM
...just as soon as these e-mails are dealt with. It's impossible to be focused when thinking about all that e-mail piling up; better to just tackle it now.

11:02 AM Now that I've dispatched those e-mails, and read up about the sale Pier 1 is having on various seasonal lighting, and browsed the suggestions eBay has for me, I'm ready to really get down to some creatin'.

11:03 AM Inspiration fails to strike, lightning-like, from above. In times like this, it's important not to give up, but instead turn to various online news sources for "inspiration."

11:14 AM
The photo-slideshow of presidential pets past and present reminds me that it's really time to set up a vet appointment

11:17 AM Come to think of it, the food and litter supplies are running low. Better deal with that now, otherwise the cats are going to start peeing on the furniture again, and after a long day of work my energy and my sense of the urgency of the situation might disappear.

11:25 AM Head out the door to Target, calling the vet on the way there - this is what is known as effective multi-tasking

11:27 AM Without access to my calendar, I am unable to set up an appointment. Will have to call back later today or maybe tomorrow.

11:42 AM Arrive back home, litter and cat food in hand.

11:47 AM God, that litter box really did need changing. The smell is so distracting it's impossible to focus on anything else.

11:53 AM After that bout with the litter box, I really need a shower. Touching my computer would be like begging for delayed diarrhea, or some other debilitating illness, and everyone knows the mind can't function well when the body's in pain.

12:25 PM Cleaned, dressed, and ready to get down to really creatin'!

12:32 PM No wonder nothing's flowing - it's lunch time. Can't work on an empty stomach!

12:36-1:30 PM Though cooking and eating the garden-burger that is a staple of my midday diet only takes me until 12:48, I use the rest of the time to finish the Tivoed episode of Real Housewives that serves as lunchtime fare - building in little breaks like this for oneself is important, and helps maintain motivation!

1:32 PM I should probably tweet something. If you want to stay relevant these days, you have to build up a following on twitter, and keep it.

1:42 PM Why is it so hard to think of something witty and under 140 characters in length?

1:47 PM Resort to tweeting about poop - poop's always comic gold - now I'm ready to really get down to creatin'.

1:49 PM Actually, I should probably deal with the e-mails that have piled up since this morning.

2:16 PM
Now that those are cleared up, it's time to really get down to creatin'!

2:23 PM
Jot down a few one-line ideas for possible pieces, things like "Germanic fitness instructor as director of historic bus tour of Philly for the elderly?" and "Kathie Lee Gifford + the large hadron collider?"

2:25 PM Strenuous work like this deserves a little reward. Head out for a coffee and a little window-shopping.

3:26 PM Arrive back home. Attempt to work previous ideas into a coherent piece.

3:32 PM It would be much easier to concentrate on things if this room weren't so messy.

3:48 PM
Having tidied up the living room, realize that the kitchen sink really needs scrubbing.

4:02 PM Finally, with a clean work area I can focus on really doing some creatin'.

4:36 PM Come up with brilliant bit of dialogue between two LHC scientists, who want to shoot Kathie Lee Gifford into a wall and see if dark matter erupts.

4:48 PM Fiddle around wikipedia, fan sites, and gossip sites, because before I proceed any further, I want to make sure that I can really get Kathie Lee right.

5 PM Save and close all work - after all, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you still separate out some time for yourself. And of course tomorrow, what with all that I managed to get done over the course of the day, I'll be ready to get right down to more creatin'.