We get ideas everywhere.
I’m hoping this blog is helping you to get ideas, whether something you see on here inspires you to go look for them or if something you read on here makes you ponder something new that you haven’t thought about before.
What do you do with those ideas?
I tend to wake up early in the morning—or settle down later in the afternoon as the busy middle part of my day slows—with a really good idea. It’s usually something I’ve been thinking about for a while, usually stewing about it. Often, I try to force my ideas to show up before they are ready. But when the idea shows up (whether it be a plot fix for a client, or an inspiration about how to show a character’s arc more deeply or an idea for my first product—soon to debut on this very blog!), I almost have to catch my breath.
Sometimes, I just can’t believe another idea has shown up. This is a foible of many creatives. We hoard ideas, unwilling to let them fly free in the world because we’re afraid that if we let one idea go, we won’t get another.
This is wrong. But I do it too.
Ideas are meant to fly
We have to be willing to let the ideas that are out there (said by an “idea catcher”) flow through us when they are ready and when the time is right. And we don’t get to decide if we feel ready or not. The idea comes to you the day it’s supposed to, don’t you think?
When we’re ready for it, we get it. When it’s time for the idea to fly, we’re ready to let it go.
Well, actually, often, we’re not. I’m not ready a LOT. I hang onto it a bit longer, just in case, hoping to have plan b in place first.
Ideas are not to be carried long term. Let them fly. Let them go. When you get one, do something with it. Make your idea appear to you as a beautiful eagle or a sea bird that can’t be caged. The moment you get the idea, the clock is ticking really. Not for you, but for that idea.
I used to have nightmares about being locked in a cage. Whenever I would panic, I would feel like a bird in a cage, and I was wounded from beating against the bars for so long. And there would always be some reason that I couldn’t leave the cage, of course, being that it was my nightmare.
I learned a trick in therapy about a year ago or so. I was supposed to picture myself there in that horrible nightmare (in the safety of daylight) every time I felt the fear of it, my breathing pumping my chest, my heart racing, just freaking out. But I had to reach out in my mind and unlock the cage. I had to reach out and grasp the bird in both hands and then hold it while feeling my racing heart, my thumping chest, my panicked breathing, and look at it. The bird’s eyes (my eyes) were wild, crazed, panicking, trying to escape. But I had to look.
And then, after I’d looked and felt so I would not ever forget (or felt that the pain would bust me right open), I would let the bird fly. And my breathing would calm, my heart rate would return to normal, my chest would stop heaving. I felt an inner peace flood through me as the sea bird flew quickly away and then returned to float on the wind right beside me (in my day rendering of this nightmare, I was bobbing just off shore in a sail boat), staying close, like my winged angel, flying just above the water, even swooping down to bite at the rising white caps on the water’s surface.
I believe this old nightmare of mine was about my inner life too. Sure, I’ve been in a cage in the past, trying to beat my way out past other people’s ideas of me, but what if I’m doing the same with my ideas? What if they are ready to fly before I think they are? What if I’m the one in the way of my ideas flying free?
Are you in the way of your ideas too? Are you holding them back too?
We all crave ideas, but when we get them and then try to hang onto them, they get heavy. We can’t hang on to them for too long. We have to get them ready, polish them until they gleam, prepare to let go.
And then watch them fly.