Ideas Won’t Wait Around Forever

Ideas Won’t Wait Around Forever

Elizabeth Gilbert tells us about a story she started to write but never finished. She loved the idea but never seriously got down to executing it. Then, a few years later, she had an encounter with a fellow author who filled her in on what she was working on. Gilbert was shocked that this author was writing her story. This is how she explains it . . .

“The idea had grown tired of waiting, and it had left me. . . What was the idea supposed to do, sit around indefinitely while I ignored it? Maybe. Sometimes they do wait. Some exceedingly patient ideas might wait wait years, or even decades. for your attention. But others won’t, because each idea has a different nature. . . Because this is the other side of the contract with creativity; If inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it is allowed to unexpectedly exit you.”

Ann Patchett wrote the story Gilbery wanted to write. The idea needed to be expressed. It just needed to find the right person to work with it.

“I believe that inspiration will always try its best to work with you — but if you are not ready or available, it may indeed choose to leave you and to search for a different human collaborator.

This happens to people a lot, actually.

This is how it comes to pass that one morning you open up the newspaper and discover that somebody else has written your book, or directed your play, or released your record, or produced your movie, or founded your business, or launched your restaurant, or patented your invention”

Seize Them Or Someone Else Will

“Multiple Discovery – a term used in the scientific community whenever two or more scientists in different parts of the world come up with the same idea at the same time.

There’s no logical explanation for why this occurs. . . . Yet it happens more often that you might imagine. . . . Janos Bolyai, “When the time is ripe for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring.”

In the business world, for instance, there’s a general understanding that a big idea is ‘out there,’ floating around in the atmosphere, and that the first person or company to grab hold of it will likewise seize the competitive advantage.”

I often wondered why people who never talked to each other could get the same idea around the same time. This explains it. Ideas float – and you need to capitalize on them when they come to you, before they move on to someone else.

Ideas are Stubborn

“Don’t fret about the irrationality and unpredictability of all this strangeness. Give in to it. Such is the bizarre, unearthly contract of creative living. There is no theft; there is no ownership; there is no tragedy; there is no problem. There is no time or space where inspiration comes from — and also no competition, no ego, no limitations. There is only the stubbornness of the idea itself, refusing to stop searching until it has found an equally stubborn collaborator (Or multiple collaborators, as the case may be)”

What a great way to express what an idea is, where it comes from, and how creative people can harness them. Big Magic is an amazing book that I highly recommend.

Why not share some of these ideas with your students?

I will be doing that this week. If this doesn’t fit with your teaching plans, why not explore the archive. I am sure you will find something you can use.

Teaching Tip Tuesdays – tips and ideas from my classroom to yours