The Creative Process of Writing Fiction

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.” This quote from George Bernard Shaw is stating that imagination is the key of all creativity. When it comes to writing, pushing that imagination is done through a process. Essentially every person has a unique touch to their writing process. However, the breakdown is all the same. Research shows that there are five stages to the creative process. The first stage is the stage of groundwork. This could be reading other writer’s work, watching movies, discussing ideas with other people, or even a personal experience. This is when one is gathering ideas or researching the idea in order to further develop it. The idea is generally pushed forward with extensive research that could include online research, visiting places, shadowing people, drawing, and more. Next, is the stage of ripening. During this stage you’re progressing your idea and beginning to create the product. Outlines are usually made at this point in time. You are putting all your research and idea gathering onto a layout. Everything at this point may not make sense and you might not be sure where you’re going with it yet. As a result, writers take breaks from their work which is the stage of illumination. This could be taking a shower, going for a drive, going for a walk, and more. Usually breaks or time away from your work leads to you having an ‘Aha!’ moment. That is the moment when everything begins to make sense, when you realize what you want your piece to look like. You begin to finalize your idea or draft and seek appraisal from your peers. This is the fourth stage of the process. Now you are looking for feedback on your idea and how you’ve created it so far. Your peers may give you criticism that may make you want to change things. It could even lead to a complete re-write of the piece. Finally, the last stage is the stage of application. You’re now applying the feedback, research, and brainstorming you’ve received and working on your final product. “According to Gabora, an individual may begin this step more than once in order to reach the desired outcome.” (Richards-Gustafson 1). Research also shows that at this stage people use the fact that they are almost done, and the anticipation to share their product with others as a motivator to push them through the final haul. This stage can take days, weeks, months, years even. To go even further than what research I could find online I dug into the minds of my peers.

Background Information

“Creativity does not just happen. It is a cognitive process that produces new ideas or transforms old ideas into updated concepts, according to Brussels Free University psychology professor Liane Gabora.” (Richards-Gustafson 1). The creative process is done in every piece of fiction ever made, whether it be short stories, novels, papers for school, and more. There are five stages that are generally done in the process being groundwork, ripening, illumination, evaluation, and application. This process can be used in written piece such as novels, class work, and more. Authors, students, and regular people go through this every single time they write something.

I used a survey, and research online to collect my data. My survey was created on qualtrics. I posted it on reddit for any students to answer. I sent it to friends over facebook, text messaging, snapchat, instagram, and even had people answer it in person on my phone. I had both genders answering the survey, and it ranged from high school students to already graduated people. Qualtrics doesn’t allow me to copy my graphs, so I had to screenshot them and put them in that way.

My survey was just a general questionnaire about everyone’s creative process when it comes to writing papers, books, stories, etc. It went through the process, asking how many breaks they take when writing, what keeps them motivated, and where they begin with their work. It also asked what they would do to push their idea for their paper or longer piece which included visiting places, extensive research, shadowing people, watching videos or movies, drawing and more. The survey also gathered information on whether or not people require certain things to write such as tv, music, silence, food, drinks and more.
In my online research it was difficult to find a lot, but one of the major things I found when I asked to write my thesis paper for me was the five stages of the creative process which can not only be applied to writing fiction but be applied to several other things. I also looked into what many authors did during their process of writing books and many of them came back to the five stages. They all had something made them unique but it was very small things.

My survey received a total of 51 responses. 25 of these responses were from current college students, 11 were high school students, and 15 were people who have already graduated college. Subsequent to sharing my survey about the creative process of writing fiction with several people, these are the answers I received.

When I asked the people answering my survey to rank from 1 to 6, 1 being the highest, on where they get their ideas from; the top three were personal experiences with 39.22% and 20 people placing at first. Second in being picked first was brainstorm with 22.45% and 14 people placing it at first. However, 14 people also ranked it as 4th in their choices for getting ideas. Third in being picked first was other books/stories with 17.65% and 9 people placing it there. But, 17 people placed other books/stories as their 2nd choice. The one that was chosen to be ranked 6th the most was Other at 72.55% with 37 people placing it at 6th.

After I asked how many breaks people took during the process of writing, the majority was was 1-3 at 49.02%. When it came to 4-6 breaks it was at 27.45%, 6-8 was at 5.88%, and 9 or more being third was 17.65%. Results also showed that high school students and already graduated people took fewer breaks than students in college. Of the 9 or more category 6 were college students, and all 6-8 replies were college students as well.

In conclusion of my research, I’ve narrowed down the process to five stages. The five stages apply to both genders and all ages. The stages are groundwork, ripening, illumination, evaluation, and application. Going through the process can range from a great amount of time to a very little amount of time. Most people also get their ideas from personal experiences, and brainstorming. The majority of people also only take one to three breaks, and are motivated by wanting to be done and being able to share their work. On a final note, when it comes to writing fiction every person will go through the five stages of the creative process in some sort of fashion.

A Presentable Essay

For the purpose of the essay we have to make it presentable right so our written communication whether we are writing our our paragraphs our grammar our indenting our commas . spelling mistakes all of these need to be taken care of okay and the third thing that you’re evaluated on an essay is the structure or the organization of the essay okay so what I will do is what I would like to do is I would like to come back to all these three points I’ll come back to all these three points but before that I would like you to write one essay okay so would you like to write an essay writing service nz right now all of you have yes no yes so I’ve got one yes willing to write an essay guys yes three have got three people saying yes what about the rest of you four okay so I’m going to give you a topic please listen very carefully what you are going to do in the next 20 minutes.

okay I’m going to give you a topic so I will give you 20 minutes to write the essay guys okay and after the 20 minutes are up I will ask one of you to show your essay to the entire group okay so we then will take your essay one of your essays and then we work it from there we will talk about all the evaluation parameters again with your essay as a reference point okay so that’s what we’re going to do when you write the essay like I said you will get twenty minutes here’s guys so I am writing the topic now and from now I will give you 20 minutes to write your essay okay so I am writing the topic on the whiteboard in front of you this is your topic guys please start best of luck you have 20 minutes this guy’s please stop writing please stop writing guys.

okay good so how has the experience nice how did you find the essay writing tasks were you aware about the topic were you having good content okay so now what we are going to do is I would like you if you while you were writing if you had any doubts if you felt there was something troubling you or there was something which came to your attention at that time please post all your questions in the chat box I’ll take them up but the same time I will take them up while we are doing the next activity I would now like one volunteer anybody anybody would like to volunteer and share their essay with the rest of the group who would like to share your essay with the rest of the group okay so Shopsmith will take up your essay please hang on a second is this your s Tashman okay so just give me a minute now okay can everybody see the essay on the screen Chaucer don’t worry yeah in fact it’s very good I appreciate it a lot that you are volunteered to Shearer has saved the rest of the group I hope all the entire group learns something from the discussion that we have on this.

Yesterday I got a Kindle Touch.

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve said it before on my blog but I hated the idea of books going digital at first. I told myself I’d never buy a Kindle because I always wanted the actual book. I’m the kind of person that loved turning the pages and the smell of an old book. I didn’t want to have to read on a screen whenever I wanted to. I hated E-readers.

Well, that changed.

I was in Texas and I saw my sister had her Kindle with her before bed and in the morning and I examined it and I actually started to want one. I figured it’d be good for being on a plane or having to wait awhile somewhere, I had thousands of books at my hands. I love looking at my bookcase and seeing all of the different kinds of books and the different covers laid out in front of me. I even started highlighting my favorite quotes from the books I loved most.

I researched the hell out of the different Kindle’s and wasn’t sure which was best for me. I found a ton of Youtube videos that reviewed it (I look there for reviews on any products I plan to purchase, I can’t be the only one!?) and there was on that really stood out. I loved this review and it’s what made me decide on a Touch.

So, glad I did. I love this thing so much.

It’s the perfect size and I love the case it’s in (except it’s purple.. ugh). It came with a light so you can read at night and a wall charger. When reading, I feel like I’m reading a book, which I heard was the most “book-like” Kindle out there. I find myself flying through a book so much faster than an actual paperback.

What I love most is being able to sit at home in my pajamas and buy any book I want from Amazon. It’s so much easier, especially because there’s only one book store, Barnes & Noble around here and it’s not the closest. We had a Borders at the Mall but they closed. Lame.

The one downfall I will say is that now that I’ve got the simplest way to get a book, I can’t think of a book. I say there for such a long time last night trying to think of a book, only to come up blank. There are tons of books I want to read but now that I have the opportunity to find them, I can’t. I need to start making a list.. hah.

I’m currently reading a few books by a new author I found, Kody Boye. He’s younger than me (so jealous!) and writes such fantastic stories. I’m going to review some in a few days when I finish them and hopefully get an interview out of him. I found him on Twitter and have his personal e-mail so we’ll see!

Also, Alyicia reviewed her Kindle and gave out a website, to borrow books from readers, which is fantastic! If you sign up, I’d appreciate putting in this referral code so I can get more borrow requests!


Am I the only one that gets giddy when I discover new music?

Finding new music for me is probably the hardest thing to do. I’m really picky when it comes to music. People will recommend artists to me and I’ll begin to listen and if I’m not feeling it, I’m going to move on. I honestly can’t really stand much music today, especially people like the new VMA Best New Artist. I looked up some of his lyrics and I was disgusted and appalled that he was even a nominee.

I find a lot of artists and I think “Wow, this is pretty good”, but rarely will I find an artist that really gives me goosebumps and can really make me obsess over their songs. I don’t find too many artists that make me so impressed with their sound and words, but when I do, you’ll know it. I’ll tell everyone about them and bug them until they listen to my favorite songs. I’m sure my friends are annoyed with it, though. I’ll obsess over a new tattoo idea incorporating the artists lyrics in it or I’ll update my Facebook status.

I’m not sure if anyone of you have heard of Explosions In The Sky, but you need to. Wikipedia describes them as “an American instrumental post-rock band from Texas. The band has garnered popularity beyond the post-rock scene for their cinematic, elaborately developed guitar work, narratively styled instrumentals, what they refer to as “cathartic mini-symphonies,” and their enthusiastic and emotional live shows.” I’ve recently discovered instrumental music and how powerful it could really be. I’ve come to love putting in my headphones and reading while listening to Mozart or instrumental versions of my favorite artists. EITS are the best band to listen to if you’re looking for inspiration or just background music while reading. Every song is relaxing and so powerful in it’s own way.

About me

  • The journey to date
  • I’m a lifelong digitalist (I’m not sure if this is an actual word – if so I bag copyright). I’ve worked in print, interactive and strategy roles in Johannesburg, London, Austin and now Houston.  I met my amazing wife whilst on a 6 month surf trip in Mexico (15 years ago). I have three beautiful children, Jack, Anna and Harry  and am starting to get some clarity on my hazy idea of the brotherhood of man.
  • Things I like
  • • All things Digital (In no specific order)
  • • Cricket (I don’t like it…I love it)
  • • Triathlons
  • • Surfing
  • • Guitar (been stuck for 20 years though)
  • • Meditation
  • • Reading books on Spirituality/Growth/Improvement
  • • Supporting the Golden Lions (my experiment in patience)
  • • Travel
  • Cool things I’ve done/do
  • • Hiked the Inca Trail
  • • Travelled through 30 countries
  • • Lived on the beach in Mexico for 6 months
  • • Travelled in Indonesia for 3 months
  • • Run New York Marathon
  • • Lead Singer in an Irish Folk Band
  • • Salmon fished in Alaska
  • • Helped build a shop in rural South Africa
  • • Run marketing for a non-profit children’s home
  • How to stay happy
  • Prayer, Meditation, Exercise and Mental Stimulation (reading, writing and concepting).
  • Things I don’t like
  • The word “thought leadership” (would somebody please explain this to me), that word is banned from the office (see t

5 steps you can take to practice gratitude

Below is a picture of me and my mom when I was the wee lad. I keep it next to my bathroom sink and I try and give gratitude every day for her unconditional love.

We go through so many forms in this life. Sometimes we feel as if we’ve got it all figured out and then in the blink of an eye we’re grabbing at straws, begging for answers and trying to get back home.

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I’ve never quite figured out the point at which these waves turn. Maybe it is just me, but they do turn and for whatever reason, when it does we have to enjoy the ride.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever been 100% happy or ever wallowed in too much self-pity. Well, that’s not exactly true. There are times when I have no clue as to the next “upswing” phase, but as experience waves, it’s wand over us, we realize that things will settle down and the proverbial mist will clear.

So what is it? What is this elusive happiness that seems to evade us at times? What does the world look like when shrouded in happiness? Is it a myth? Should we expect more?

I hope so. I’d hope that we eventually get to a stage whereby we can live in a perpetual state of flow, positivity, and light.

The “formula” is shaping up for me and I’m influenced by enlightened minds who tell the same story. Be grateful, love yourself, love one another.

You can think mumbo jumbo, hippy bullshit, whatever… but I think it’s true.


We live in a world of duality. We live in a world where people are happy to lay down a tirade of abuse against their barista for not preparing their $5 latte correctly when that same $5 would feed a family for a week. That’s not hippy bullshit, that’s fact. I’ve lived and traveled in countries where $5 would be a gift from god. In the 1st world, we don’t think twice about spending $5.

Here are 5 things you can try:

  1. Be grateful when you wake up in the morning. Seriously, give it a try. The second you open your eyes…say thank you. Be grateful for that conscious breath, be grateful for your child wanting a bottle of milk (resist the urge to throttle),  be grateful for the light entering the room (unless it’s 2 am)
  2. Sit in Silence. There are a million ways to the top of the mountain. I don’t know the path. I do know that we don’t move forward without acknowledging the good that surrounds us. Sit for a minute, for five, for an hour if you choose. Just sit and listen and say thank you.
  3. Say thank you for the smallest things. If your coffee tastes good or the traffic light changes just in time for you or your wife/husband has a sparkle in their eye … pay attention and you’ll be amazed at how much we can say thank you for.
  4. Set an email alert for every few hours that reminds you to be grateful. Hell Yeah, it’ll bug the shit out of you…but something will register and we can do this. Go one step further and set a 15-minute reminder for the reminder. At 3 o’Clock…I will find something to be grateful for. Keep doing it.
  5. At the end the day…say thank you. Take a deep breath…let the shit go and say thank you!
  6. Create your own brand. Keep in mind your industry and the level of professionalism required. If you are in a creative industry you may have greater leeway in this area.