Creative Process

I carry notecards and a mechanical pencil with me practically everywhere I go (not that I've gone much of anywhere for the past eleven months). I do this because ideas seem to come from out of nowhere sometimes, and if I don't write them down, I might forget. That said, I find that the act of writing something down helps me to remember it, even if I misplace the notecard. I also always have at least one current notebook, where I then transfer these ideas when I get home (or where they go if I'm already there, thereby skipping the notecards altogether). Later on, I type up all of these miscellaneous ideas so that I can have a digital record of them as well, and so that I can have them all in one place for later reference. 

Are they all good ideas? Of course not. In fact, at this point, they're barely ideas at all. They are really more like seeds of ideas. They have yet to germinate, develop and bloom. And much like with seeds, some of them are duds and will not grow into anything, while others will bear fruit that can then be shared with others.  

Continuing with this plant metaphor, I check back on these seedlings every now and then to water them and give them some nutrients, i.e. do some development -- usually by hand in those same notebooks. When I sit down to outline something that was just a seed of an idea a few months ago, for example, it's almost like my subconscious has been working on it this whole time. Or not at all. It really depends. Some ideas take root, while others don't. Some take years before they are ready to grow into something tangible. 

Knowing that my brain works like this, I have incorporated it into my creative process. When it is time to choose my next big project, I go back to my "garden" to see what has bloomed while I've been working on other stuff. Sometimes there are two things that are almost ripe, which I go back and forth between, taking them both on concurrently. If I start to get burnt out on one, I go back to the other. Wash, rinse, repeat. Or there could be one idea that I had practically forgotten about, but which I am now really excited to work on. On some level, that excitement helps provide the momentum that is necessary to get through any big project. After all, I tend to believe that if I don't even care about what I'm working on, then there's a pretty good chance that no one else will, either. I think that's probably true with most people.  

I mention all of this because it took me many years to figure it out for myself. I don't know if other people's brains work like this, but in my experience, this process has proven to be immensely productive, and I am always excited to get to work on the next project, whatever it may be. I am also happy to share what I have learned about nurturing creativity, as I believe that making art, in some form or another, should be an integral part of everyone's life. Once you find your creative talents, you might start to wonder how you ever lived without them. 

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