the stages of creativity

The idea of creativity has been on the forefront of my mind recently.  I've been reassessing my own sources of inspiration and trying to allow myself more space to grow.  For months (and potentially years) I've been getting trapped in the confinements and "rules" that I thought I had to abide by, but I'm only now realizing the best thing for me is to be me.  So I'm working on freeing that inner creative spirit I've been accidentally drowning.

It's funny - recently I've been getting the most comments from friends and peers about my work.  Maybe this creative passion I've recently unleashed has shone through my work and people are noticing it.  How incredible is that?

I recently had a late-night conversation with a friend about creativity.  One of those abstract conversations where everyone's mental vision is so vivid you almost feel like you're watching a film through a kaleidoscope.  We talked about the different stages of creativity; there's the stage where you have ideas and you want to create those ideas, but your creation ends up looking nothing how you envisioned.  Then there's the stage where you creation ends up looking pretty close to your initial idea.  And the last stage is, of course, being able to physically create exactly what you've pictured from the get-go in your mind.  Any artist knows that's hard.  Our minds whirl through mini clips of daydream movies as we romance about a creation we can't quite seem to bring to life.  Personally, I'm stuck in the middle working my way to the latter.

What stage of creativity are you at?