Plenty of expert opinion suggests that our creative practice divides into two categories, however we label those categories. I don’t know who it was that claimed that producing great writing was 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration, but this is the division of creativity we’re talking about: between the stroke of imagination and labouring at it to produce the finished whole. Oscar Wilde argued that genius was an infinite capacity for detail, which, like the inspiration/perspiration proverb, suggests that the balance lies firmly on the side of effort. Most informed opinion, however, indicates a more even split between inspiration and perspiration, and affirms that creativity involves both stages. The process is one of having an idea and then fashioning it into shape. In writing fiction, the first stage is the imagining. This comes from the same place as your dreams do: the unconscious mind.
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