Making something - anything at all - needs a process. That also goes for artistic or literary products. You cannot expect a result to come without any work. Some processes are faster than others. But everything requires a process, even art. People who don't understand that tend to think that an idea would just fall on their laps if they just start working on something. Trust me, I used to be one of those people too. But, before you can do that, there are other steps you must take first so that you have more of a direction on what to work on when you start. It's not much different from making a skeleton of your thesis before you start researching and, later on, working on it. Here are the important steps of a creative process:
Also known as procrastinating. This might seem like putting off work. Excessive procrastinating will be putting off work. The key is to keep your project in mind. Procrastinating, though unproductive, is important to gather inspiration, come up with ideas and refresh your minds. What I like to do to procrastinate is read a book, watch a movie, play video games (Android games are seriously addictive!), take photos, write blog posts (yeah, like this one!) and browse through the net. It's easy to get carried away, though. So I must stress that you need to keep your goals/projects in mind. If you have a deadline, keep it in your calendar or the back of your mind. Do not get carried away!
Personally, I believe this is the most important step. There's an illusion of unproductivity during the brainstorming step but it's where you make actual progress. For an art student-to-be, it is important to know that professors will want to see your progress. They will want to know the way you think, before it's all pretty in a packaging of a finished product. The brainstorming process is your mind at its rawest, where it's a just a vomit of thoughts on a piece of paper, you still trying to figure things out. It's the draft to your end result so it doesn't have to be pretty. Actually, you needn't finish your draft before you decide to go to the next step. You can always change it halfway done, you can start before you've got everything figured out.
Now is the real deal. Obviously productive. There's no reason for the first two steps if this step doesn't come along. Procrastinate and brainstorm as you want, if there's no end product, it's not a creative process. This is the part where you need to put most effort out. You might get rather fed up with this step, you might get a little downhearted and unmotivated. That's natural, working is working, after all. Neil Gaiman even gets fed at some point of writing his books and is always convinced to abandon the book. But you have to pull through! You will get a product that you can be proud of and love through and through.
This post was mainly written because a.) I needed to procrastinate, b.) everyone who wants to pursue the creative career field should understand that artistic products don't fall from the heavens all wrapped up nicely, working is working no matter what you do; and c.) people who do not understand the creative process keep thinking, "How can drawing be stressful? You love it! It should come easily to you!" Well, I'm here to set the records straight. Just because we love doing something doesn't mean we don't need to work hard to do it, even if we're really good at it. Talent is just half of the battle, we need effort as well. And so, people, I hope you all understand the creative process now.