The Art of Strengths Coaching

C is for The Creative Process Of Opening Up And Closing Down

People often go through a certain process when being creative. They go through the stages of opening up and closing down. They may do this when solving a problem, painting a picture, writing a book or whatever.

They start by choosing a specific topic they want to explore. They open up and gather lots of information. Some information may immediately be relevant, some may take them along new lines of enquiry.

At a certain point they feel it is important to close down. They want to sift through the information and clarify what is important. They narrow this down to the things they want to explore in greater depth.

People again embark on opening up and closing down. They continue with this process until they complete their final product, project or other piece of work.

Looking back at your life, can you recall a time when you went through a similar process? What did you do then to open up and then close down?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation when you went through the process of opening up and closing down.

Describe the specific things you did then – the principles you followed – to go through the process of opening up and closing down.

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Let’s explore some elements of going through these stages.

You Can Start
By Opening Up

Imagine you want to pursue a specific project. You may want to educate your child at home, lead an expedition, build a house or whatever.

You will often start by opening up and gathering lots of information about the topic. Different people do this in different ways. So you may aim, for example:

To gather information through reading, surfing the web or other activities.

To learn from positive models – such as from people who have followed this path successfully.

To reflect, let your mind wander and perhaps pursue other avenues.

Exploration is fun, but eventually you say: “Enough. Now I need to focus.” This calls for going on to the next stage.

You Can Move On
To Closing Down

At a certain point you may reach information overload. You may then want to sift through the material and aim:

To make sense of the information and clarify the key themes which are emerging.

To clarify the specific areas you want to explore in more depth.

To clarify how exploring these topics will enable you to achieve the final goal.

There are many techniques that people use for making breakthroughs and then moving onto the next stage of investigation.

Carl Honoré is the author of In Praise of Slow and The Slow Fix. believes we need to get the right balance between fast thinking and slow thinking. Fast thinking enables us to gather the pieces of the jigsaw.

Many of our creative breakthroughs, however, come when we have the chance to do some slow thinking. We are then able to put the pieces together and see the whole picture.

You can discover more via Carl’s website.

http://www.carlhonore.com/

the-slow-fix

 

You will choose your own way of closing down. This will lead to the next stages on the road towards achieving your final goal.

You can continue opening up and closing
down until you have completed the project

“I follow this process when writing a book,” said one person.

“The first step is to map out the whole book. This is then broken down into milestones. These often take the form of chapters that are broken down into sections.

“Each section includes themes that I want to cover. These are broken down into headlines, paragraphs and examples that will bring the writing to life.

“So by the end of the planning phase I have a detailed road map for completing the book.

“I then move on to the actual writing. This involves exploring the first topic, filling several pages and then editing these down into the final version.

“I tend to follow the process which was, I believe, described by the French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery. He is reputed to have said:

‘Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.’

“Then it is on the next topic. I follow this process until I have completed the book.”

You will, of course, have your own way of integrating this approach when doing a project.

If you wish, however, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you look ahead and do the following things.

Describe a specific project when you may want to go through the stages of opening up and closing down on the way to completing it.

Describe the specific things you can do to, when appropriate, go through these stages when doing the project.

Describe the specific things you can do to do your best to complete the project.

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