Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

The Nativity of Our Ideas

Many people around the world will be celebrating the birth of a babe in a manger this evening and tomorrow.   Not the most auspicious spot to be born in, nor the best of timing, or circumstances… but that didn’t stop the child from arriving, or from growing up to do some fairly impressive things.

So it is with creativity.  The creative impulse, or the birth of an idea, doesn’t need – and doesn’t wait for – perfect circumstances to manifest in the world.  Although it can be very helpful for us to know what time of day we are most productive, or to establish spaces, routines and rituals to support the creative process, it is equally important to go with the flow when an idea decides to be born.

I do some of my best work at my kitchen table, while my husband is preparing dinner (I know, I’m blessed) and my children are playing in the next room.  In fact, my time and resources are so limited these days that I’ve taken to using some very helpful tools to capture that moment of inspiration when it appears.  I love 8×6 Miquelrius notebooks, as well as Moleskins, and always carry one around with me. I also love digital recorders… though lately I’ve been practicing with Dragon Dictation, an app on my iPhone that turns my voice into instant text. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close. I also use the Notes app – the one that looks like a yellow legal pad  – to ‘scribble’ digital notes to myself.

To be sure, these are a lot more high tech than a manger full of hay – but the point is, instead of saying “I’ll do it when the time or place is right,” or “I’ll get to it when I have (insert your excuse here),” we can choose to be like that grateful, graceful mother so many years ago. We can say, “Thank you, this will do nicely. ”  We can welcome the birth – the nativity, if you will – of our ideas, and we can nurture them to do great things, no matter how limited our resources may be. And you never know what gifts, or blessings, might appear as a result.


5 Responses to “The Nativity of Our Ideas”
  1. Jen says:

    Beautiful and inspirational! Thank you for sharing this. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  2. Beth says:

    This made me say a long “Ohhhhhh!” out loud. Thank you for this post, Emma.

    The post is inspiring, yes, and beautifully written, yes… and filled with practical ideas as well.

    I’ve been pondering how best to deal with the fact that I do a lot of my “book thinking” while driving on my afternoon rounds, going to see Dad in his nursing home (he’s declining now…), getting the groceries, etc. I’m working through “The Artist’s Way” twelve-week creativity-enhancement program, and it certainly confirms that driving is one activity that is very conducive to the flow of creativity, but it doesn’t offer concrete suggestions of how to capture those creative ideas before they drift away like the smoke from the morning candle I just extinguished. I will look into those apps, etc. (I’m on my way to Mac conversion!)

    I love this part of your post — “we can choose to be like that grateful, graceful mother so many years ago. We can say, ‘thank you, this will do nicely’.” Yes. That is right on. Yes.

    May you and your family know grace and peace in this season and beyond.

  3. Diane Tipton says:

    Thank you for the ideas. I frequently lie awake composing the perfect paragraph, only to lose it when I wake up in the morning. Glad you mentioned this topic because I have been contemplating just how to capture that muse whem it shows up. Mine is usually at night whem my mind can wander freely. I will keep a notebook next to the bedside lamp from now on, and also one in my purse. Now if I can only find a pen when I need it…..

    And, please accept my condolences for your step father. I have always been a huge fan.

  4. gary says:

    The one idea that has stuck with me (since last being a student of your online course) is to keep with me, a paper/pad at all times. Jotting down the “latest and greatest” ideas is the better alternative to having them vaporize before too much time passes. I now have a collection of notes on the back of paper napkins, junk mail (between the print or any blank area), and of course my pocket note pad. Each observation, thought or feeling has the potential to be much more when the opportunity to “focus” finally comes my way.

    As of 6:15 pm on Christmas eve, I have neither grand ideas nor energy. At MY kitchen table tapping the keyboard to finish this note, I have a view of the border-less dark out my window. The cedar is tangled in tiny white lights, oddly glowing warm in the cold black air. The quiet near me is disturbed only by the sound of the BBC world news in the next room, and the steam pipes rapping from “Zeus” in the basement doing his thing.

    I think it’s an “early to bed” night….Happy Christmas, Emma and to everyone else who comes upon my senseless rambling.

  5. Diane says:

    Thankyou Emma. I love this topic and the “birth of an idea.” Like Diane Tipton I often come across great paragraph ideas and lose them by morning, and that leaves my hubby muttering profusely. II taken to writing them down on bits of paper, I just need to get a little more organised and keep folder/s of them. I to, allow my mind to wander when driving to and from work which has been very productive since I have had to travel further (up to an hour) to my place of work in this past month. Thankyou for mentioning tools I could use as it is not always possible in thick traffic to pick up a pen and start writing.

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