I’ve recently been reading this article.
The article made me feel so much better about myself and my methods. I do feel I incubate my ideas. I’m conscious of them brewing in the back of my mind, percolating into something I will eventually put on to paper or into practice.
This harks back to a previous post about the Creativity Sponge. Time is an important part of the creative process, most times a necessary part. While we want our families and workmates to appreciate our need for incubation time, we also need to respect our own need for that time. This means knowing when not to force something, when to go for a walk, when to leave the idea for a week, a month, until another idea collides with it to take the idea from ordinary to inspirational.
I think the term that best describes this is ‘Thoughtful Creativeness’ – that which comes from time and consideration before anything tangible appears on paper.
We often equate Creativity with spontaneity – loud, unpredictable, surprising etc. But how much of this perception is actually the flurry of activity after a lengthy incubation process?
There will always be those moments of instant inspiration, witty responses right on cue and random ramblings of genius that you cannot prepare for. They just pop out. That’s the creative expression we expect, and is the hardest part of Creativity to predict and quantify. But, Thoughtful Creativeness is something better, more special and, if mastered, far more useful.
How often do we hear a person who has written a book, made a movie or written a song say something along the lines of, “The idea began several years ago when some-unusual-event-or-fact intrigued me. It took me several years before I really knew how I wanted to portray it.” That’s incubation.
How You Can Practice Thoughtful Creativeness
You’ve probably already experienced Thoughtful Creativeness. For example, have you ever been working on a project and suddenly have a brilliant idea for a final touch? The idea seems to just ‘come to you’ or ‘pop into your head.’ But really, could you have come up with that idea if you had not put in the effort and preparation which got you to that point? All the thought that came before incubated and nurtured the ‘flash’ of inspiration.
The biggest part of Thoughtful Creativeness is relaxing to the point where you trust both your Creativity and yourself. When you feel that little bud of inspiration forming in your mind, don’t feel like you have to do something with it straight away. Water it. Keep it warm. Shine encouragement on it. Be gentle and allow it to blossom in its own time. Ideas don’t die from nurturing and patience. They get better, they grow, gradually getting to the point where they open up into beautiful and colourful results that others will marvel at.
Have you ever experienced Thoughtful Creativeness? Do you have any tips on how to develop the skill? I’d love to hear your opinions.
Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art
June 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm
Hmmm….according to this, I’m ALMOST an incubator. My work is nearly always superior, with an adrenaline rush of the deadline looming jolting me in to high performance mode. The only fly in the ointment, and way that I could be called a pure-and-simple-procrastinator instead of an incubator, is that a large percentage of the time, my work does not get finished on time. I recall once when I won first place in a writing contest with high accolades, but only because they kindly stretched the deadline for me, and because at a certain point, I just called the story done and sent it in. My projects are USUALLY done on time, and done very well – but it depends on the kind of project. I’m afraid in my incubation, I’m a rather poor judge of time. I know that I need the pressure of the deadline, I spend the meantime cogitating on the subject in the midst of life, and do the work beautifully at the last moment, but don’t always have time to finish properly. *sigh*
June 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm
Yes. I also tend to be a poor judge of time. There’s just too much to do, and always one more thing to tweak. Thank goodness for deadlines though. I don’t think I’d get anything done without them.
But the end result is the main thing. If it comes out stunning, then the rush is worth it. 😉
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