Decades of research provide rich knowledge about the nature of creative potential (e.g., personality, motivation, and cognitive abilities predicting creativity) and creative products. However, the process between generating creative ideas and actualizing these ideas in creative products is less well understood. In this chapter, we argue that the success of transforming creative ideas into accomplishments substantially depends on effective self-regulation processes. We adapt and extend social psychological research on self-regulation and define two broad groups of self-regulation processes in creativity: (1) revising and re-strategizing (including regulating process expectations, adjusting approach, and managing ambitious goals/embracing risk), and (2) sustaining and maintaining effort (including planning and organization strategies, persistence in the face of obstacles, and managing emotions). We conclude the chapter by discussing future directions in the study of self-regulation in the creative process.
How do high school students approach academic and creative challenges?
This study compares the content of academic and creative challenges for 190 high school students, and examines students’ intentions to persist. Students reported experiencing academic and creative challenges in different areas: academic challenges were described primarily in math/science and English, with themes related to time management and striving to improve, while creative challenges were described overwhelmingly in art and music and concerned problem solving difficulties. Students reported more interest and intention to persist in the creative than academic challenges. Interest was the strongest predictor of persistence across both academic and creative challenges. The divergent perceptions of creative and academic challenges suggest that capitalizing on the creative elements of academic assignments could boost student interest and subsequent persistence.
We examined the predictive power of 2 different conceptualizations of passion and persistence in relation
to creative behavior. Specifically, we examined predictive power of the self-reported grit subscales
(defined as a combination of passion/consistency of interests and perseverance) and teacher-reported
passion and persistence (based on lay definitions of these constructs). In 3 studies of college and high
school students, self-reported passion/consistency of interests and perseverance (grit subscales) did not
predict creative behavior and achievement. Openness to Experience (Studies 1–3) and teacher nominations
of passion and persistence predicted creativity (Study 3). Finally, we found support that teacher nominated
passion and persistence remained significant predictors of creativity above the Big Five personality traits.