Conversations & Percolation

It's time to bring others in. But only part way. I'm not yet ready for all-out collaboration. The idea is too new. Too unsteady. Heck, I'm not even sure it has legs yet. This is the time to bring in safe voices, voices that wonder aloud with me rather than making verbal lists of pros and cons. It's not the time for rash judgments and sweeping statements. It's time to engage in conversations that begin poking and prodding at the motionless form on the ground to see if it might have some life in it.

What is the point of these conversations? Well, there are two points. The first is to find threads. The second is to find if the threads can begin weaving into something better, bigger, more full than the idea making lazy circles in my mind.

I talked about threads awhile back, but, in short, threads are those commonalities that begin to point at themes. Are there a number of people asking the same question? Are so-and-so and them-over-there scratching at the same itch? Are there words, or ideas, or modes of presentation that seem to be popping up again and again in unexpected places? Many times the work of the creative person consists of latching onto these things, these patterns that no one else has yet noticed, and to bring them to the forefront, attaching them to an idea that is just beginning to grow.

This is the phase where it doesn't look like you're doing anything. Nothing at all. You're thinking about doing something, but there's very little actually "doing." Or at least how that looks.

But if you're well-accustomed to the creative process you'll know that this is the phase where the heavy lifting really begins. This is the difficult (and often quiet) phase of creativity where the idea is given time to grow and where you can begin to see the shape of it.

I can't skip this phase. I couldn't if I tried. One way or another I'm going to end up in this part of the process. I can skip it now and just get working, but the working will be interrupted—perhaps even stalled completely—by the necessity of this time. I can either allow the idea to add flesh to bones now, or I'll be drawing skeletons for days and will need to stop frequently to imagine what flesh on them might look like.