Monday, January 17, 2011

How Do Your Ideas Grow?

One question I get a lot is “Where do you get your ideas?”  My initial thought upon hearing that question is “Where don’t I get ideas?” because ideas seem to come from all directions, at any time.  Of course it is because I also do a lot of what Julia Cameron calls “filling the well.”  This can include the activities listed in her book “The Artist’s Way” (morning pages, artist dates, regular activity), but I also find that other things also fill the well and help nurture baby ideas.

growing ideas my sample one

With that question in mind, I went to the local coffee shop with my journal and markers on hand.  This is the image that came to me.  Creativity as a garden, with all the elements that help to fertilize the process and help in the development of ideas. 

As a child I remember reading the story of Squanto, and how he taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops using fish, so that is why the fish are in the image (that I like drawing fish is a happy plus).  Each fish and mineral underground contains an element of what feeds my idea plant.  You can see here that my fertilizer includes reading, movies and dreams.

Actually putting the ideas down in some form grows from this fertile ground, including blog posts and working in my personal journal.  The harvest includes finished work, which can also be used as fertilizer to start the process all over again.

I also feel that self care, symbolized by the sun in this drawing, is of utmost importance in developing ideas.  If we are tired and depleted our bodies and minds can’t help but divert all our energy into just surviving.  My self care includes such things as rest, yoga, friends and good food.  Play is also an important part of the process.  Allowing some time to just goof off can help more than anything sometimes.

What nurtures your ideas?  I have put a link in the sidebar to a blank copy of this worksheet  (How Do Your Ideas Grow) that you can print out and play with on your own.  Feel free to share it with your friends (please link back to this post, thanks!) , and I would love to see what your garden looks like.


  1. i have not seen many people say self care generates ideas but oh, it's so true! love the fish metaphor as well. When I was little I actually learned to plant corn in a mount with a dead fish in it. nothing thrills a 5 year old more than burying a fish!

  2. I have found that being gentle and nurturing with myself is a lot more productive than trying to force growth. :) I loved that book about Squanto, I checked it out over and over. Unfortunately my mom was never down with getting a fish for my corn LOL