A Garden of Ideas

Ever grow something from a seed? Watch it germinate and burst through the soil to become a flower or some yummy vegetable? We artists can do the same thing with ideas. You need to cultivate your own garden and let those artistic notions flourish. 

It’s not as simple as tossing a seed into the ground and adding some water. If you’ve ever tried to keep a plant alive, much less grow one from scratch, you know the problems that arise. A patch of hot days will wither your crop. Or overwatering can drown your plant before it even starts. 

Often seeds come in packets because a good farmer knows that not all will survive the process. Some might be duds and never germinate. While others will succumb to environmental forces. 

As an artist you should always be jotting down ideas (using notecards allows for easy access). But most of these ideas are not ready to use right away. They need time to grow. Some will sprout quickly, virtual idea-weeds, and can be acted on just as quickly. 

Others will linger deep in your subconscious, or even fall out of your mind completely. Well then, you wonder, what’s the use in that? You see a good farmer always tends their garden. Pruning, watering, fertilizing. You will do the same with your garden of ideas.

Visit them often. Sift through the things you’ve jotted down. Do some connect now? Do other concepts arise? If so, you might be ready to harvest. If not, let it grow a little more. 

Some take years to fully mature.

I have a book with ideas for blog posts scribbled inside. The idea of tending a garden of ideas has been passed over again and again. Each time, it didn’t feel ready enough. Until today when it felt ripe. 

Some ideas might take years. But if you write them down and tend to them, they won’t be forgotten. Who knows what fruit they will bear with enough love and care. 

Get your hands dirty and bury a few seeds today. A garden won’t grow itself.

Tim Kane

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