Anyone who has grown anything, from home produce on an allotment or in your back yard, to a few herbs or houseplants on a windowsill, to your own nails and hair, knows that natural things don’t grow instantly.
You don’t plant a seed today and reap a bountiful harvest tomorrow.
Part of the enjoyment of growing your own food is the nurturing throughout each stage, from the planting of the first seeds, to seeing the first shoots of green, to the picking of the fruit or vegetables, through to the great satisfaction of preparing and eating food that you grew from tiny seeds with your own bare hands.
So why then when it comes to creating, do we often expect everything to be so instant and magically appear when we demand and expect it too?
We each have our own unique creative process, and there are stages that are common to all of us, and to any creative project we take on.
One phase we most often try to skip or fast track is the developing of our ideas.
No doubt you’ve had that feeling, when you first get an exciting new creative idea, you want to rush to your work space and get creating as soon as possible, while it’s fresh and the motivation’s high.
But most times this either isn’t practical, or the idea isn’t ready to be brought fully into being yet.
The period between having that first little spark of an idea, to setting down to evolve it onto something amazing can be anything from a few minutes to a few years, even decades.
This incubation period is absolutely essential and cannot be hurried, however much and however urgently we might want it to be a shiny finished product.
Again this comes back to enjoying each stage of your creative process.
A great way to help with the incubation of ideas is to have, well, an incubator.
I’m not talking about a glass tank lined with straw and kept at a cosy temperature, of the kind that eggs are hatched in.
The simplest form of incubator for your creative ideas is a notebook, or ideas book.
The basic process for incubating your creative ideas is:
1. Capture a new idea as soon as it comes. Write it in your ideas book in as much detail as you can, so when you return it has the same energy and gives you that same tingle of expectation and excitement as it did initially.
2. Let the idea percolate for as long as it needs. What actually happens is as soon as you write the idea down, your mind subconsciously sets to work on it, in some tiny dusty corner. You can’t stop it, it’s what your creative mind does.
3. Develop the idea. You’ll just know when it’s time. Maybe you’ll be flicking through your ideas book and it’ll jump out at you. Or maybe you’ll just wake one day with the idea in your head and know where to take it next.
This is the way all creative ideas are evolved, whether it takes minutes or decades. They need the time they need.
In between of course you work on other stuff that has already reached its time to be developed. Your creative life is a thriving organic garden of ideas, all growing at different rates and blossoming at different times.
At the heart of being a good (and happy) gardener is a combination of patience and trust.
Patience enough to let each idea grow in its own good time. And trust in the ideas, and in your own creativity, that you have all you need to develop it into all it can be. Which you do.
One final small thing to mention, but it is important.
Some ideas just don’t make it to full bloom.
However much tender loving care you give them, they just don’t turn out how you thought. It’s part of nature, there’s always some wastage, a few casualties along the way.
When this happens, let go and switch your energy, time and attention to other ideas that are growing beautifully, and don’t look back.
So, how often do you get frustrated because YOUR ideas aren’t instant overnight sensations?
How might you benefit from being a more gentle patient gardener, and watch and enjoy letting your creative garden grow?
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