Writers – Catch Ideas and Be Receptive to Chance

Writers Catch IdeasAs writers, we need to be open to new ideas, even when we feel like all of our focus should be on our work in process. There is an easy way to do this without getting distracted.

I know that there are times when a new idea takes hold and it’s tempting to abandon our current project and start working on it right away. That is never a good idea. Jumping from idea to idea isn’t a productive strategy. Having multiple ideas and letting some of them marinate though is.

Here is what author Tina Welling has to say about . . .

Catching Ideas

“Most birds lay between two and six eggs; that’s a good range of writing ideas to incubate at a time . . . Jot down ideas for writing projects, put each one in a folder, and allow the ideas to become magnets for related material . . . Those ideas that continue to engender interest and passion will gather enough material in the folder for us to begin a writing project.”

I know that I need to get better at this. Being organized is paramount for any writer. The problem is that I like to do a lot of work in my head. I also don’t get back to ideas unless they really take root. The folder idea is a great way to store ideas and to revisit them. I’m going to try it out.

On Downtime . . .

I take a long time off between writing projects. I feel bad about that too. I know I should stop procrastinating, stop worrying about the process, the myth of the muse, and just start writing. I was never quite sure why I needed this downtime before. But Welling writes . . .

“Writers need long, deep periods of stillness and awareness in order to express themselves in language that captures the pulsing truth.”

She also helps illuminate the reason why we all need downtime and explains that we shouldn’t feel guilty about it . . .

“Our culture doesn’t honor the times of rest and restoration in a person’s life, which is the earth’s autumn and winter seasons, as much as it does the productive periods. But we must have these periods for growing deep roots and restoration energy in order to sustain flow.”

On Being Receptive to Chance . . .

“Chance is a wonderful force in our lives. Yet how chance works is a mystery to us. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Creativity and Flow, states that the definition of chance events is ‘ favorable convergences in time and place open to a brief window of opportunity for the person who, having the proper qualifications, happens to be in the right place and right time.’

So chance involves the convergence of three parts: the right time, the right place, and the right person. We don’t usually have control over the first two – time and place – but we can learn to be more often the right person, thereby giving chance a more open invitation to enter and create a favorable event. As writers this helps us at every level of our creative process.

So how can we be the right person for chance to find?

Three Ways of Being Receptive 

I break the process down into three ways of being in the world: receptive, intentional, and actively engaged:

Receptive: . . . set aside opinions, expectations, even hopes and, as much as possible, fears.

Intentional: . . . . have a goal in mind

Actively Engaged: We must be actively engaged in pursuing dreams. And we must make this engagement an exchange with life around us.”

That is simply brilliant!

Good things come to those who are able to seize opportunity and follow through. Maybe chance isn’t as random as most of us think.

Quotes and Inspiration for this post come from . . . 

Writing Wild - Tina Welling

Writing Wild: Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature by Tina Welling