Creativity, it turns out, has to do with using the right side of our brain, the hemisphere that is visual. To recap, the left hemisphere is verbal, logical, language-based, and rational. The right hemisphere, by contrast, is visual and “sees.”
The stages of creative thinking are apparently quite predictable and involves 4 steps:
1. Saturation: We use our left hemisphere to define the creative challenge. It may involve reading a photography book on various techniques, etc.
2. Incubation: Just “knowing” does not automatically mean that we can do it. This is when we need to walk away from the problem that our left hemisphere can’t solve by itself. Do something physical and shift to the right hemisphere by letting our brain mull over all the information we have read.
3. Illumination: The Ah-ha moments spontaneously come when we least expect it. An unrelated activity (exercising, taking a shower, driving or even sleeping) often triggers the solution to our problem.
4. Verification: The left hemisphere reasserts itself to test and complete the creative work, whether in a laboratory, on a canvas, translated into words or as a beautiful picture.
Adapted from How to Think Creatively.