I have a theory:
Creativity is cyclical.
In my own work/life/business, I have these crazy full-of-ideas periods, followed by amazing get-stuff-done periods, followed by…today.
Stuckness, tiredness, I-don't-wanna-ness.
The cycle affects individual ideas (let's make a Learn to Knit kit!) and my general, day-to-day creativity.
It starts with an idea, then a flow of ideas, then I get in the flow of making the ideas happen. This revving-up is my favorite part of the cycle. I would live here if I could.
I would camp here and do nothing but generate ideas and journal and plan all day long.
But then I get anxious to DO, to implement.
At the apex of the cycle is not just the flow of ideas, but the production, the work, the actual doing. In other words, creating.
But after that apex, as the projects continue to roll forward and the rush of ideas turns into a rush of details, sometime in the midst of doing, I slow.
And soon, the slowing is the overwhelming characteristic. No longer creating the thing, I'm either brunching (introducing the thing to the world) or I'm slowing down in the middle of the thing.
Following the slowing, comes the fallow period.
Despite being raised in the agricutural heartland, playing in cornfields, my days measured by the height of the corn: I haven't recognize or respect the fallow period until recently.
What does fallow even mean?
- cultivated land that is not seeded for one or more growing seasons
- undeveloped but potentially useful
I tried to ignore it.
Who wants to be “not seeded”?
Who wants “undeveloped”?
I tried to go right from the slowing, back to the doing.
But something in me resisted.
The ideas dried.
The inner pushpushpush halted.
I thought about napping.
I read for hours.
I baked, cleaned, strolled.
Before I recognized that this is a stage in the cycle, I kept pushing.
Pushing to get ideas.
Pushing to work on projects.
Pushing to work work work.
Pushing to get out of the un-doing and back to the doing.
But pushing got me nowhere.
Inexplicably, inexorably, unequivically the ideas came back.
First, just a trickle, then a stream and then a rush and I am back.
Back to doing, to planning, to creating.
Whether I push or not, my creativity cycled.
And, as Teresa said on Twitter today:
When you stop pushing it creates a vacuum that will fill back up with better ideas than you'd been pushing for!
When I recognize the fallow period, when I respect it, when I rest in it, I create a blank space, a well that is soon filled with ideas and energy.
Today, this week, I'm in a bit of a fallow period.
But it's ok, it's just part of the cycle.