Blogging and Writing 203 – Idea Stewardship

How to handle and manage ideas, getting them from head and heart to paper?

In my style of writing, some ideas have a shelf life. In other words, often my ideas are strongly linked to now. To the moment.  To what is going on when they are generated. If I sit on them and don’t work with them while they are passionately on my heart, my desire to work with them disappears.

This affects the pacing of how I write. There are times where an idea pops by for a visit in my heart and brain and I can park it in the wordpress queue. It doesn’t seem to mind if I put it off for a while, just as happy to get some of my time whenever I can offer it. Then there are ideas who are more demanding – wanting something of me RIGHT NOW!!! When that happens, or when certain ideas just seem to be flowing in a “Deanna, pay attention, this-is-a-special-moment!” kind of way, I need to carve out time pretty quickly to work with them or…they go away. The creative spark, the mojo, the emotional investment fades. The idea is lost. Not because I didn’t record it fast enough, but because I didn’t flesh it out and give it life within the window of inspiration. And mojo is really hard to find. At least for this natural nerd.

I suspect other creatives know what this feels like. An idea comes alive and is moving in a moment… and then the energy behind it disappears. As I continue to walk a writer’s path, I am learning how it feels in my heart when the time is “now” – to focus and sit on down at the computer and stay there till my work is done.  And I am learning to recognize which ideas need immediate attention and which can be parked for later.These two things, how ideas feel and what they need from me to steward them well, are higher level writing skills that have only emerged in the last couple of years or so. I would encourage writers out there to spend some introspective time figuring what this looks like for you.

The writing process usually involves two very important parts. First, inspiration (the part I can’t control) – then, perspiration (the part I can control). When I find ways to marry the two, they have the most beautiful babies.

Just because an idea might need immediate attention to craft it properly, that doesn’t mean it needs to be published right away. I may write a series of blog entries a few weeks or even months before they post. Sometimes idea stewardship means having the discipline to sit with it a while, even when it feels like it is burning a hole in my blog queue. This patience allows me to interact with an idea or theme for a longer period of time. The longer I work with it, often, the sharper my articulation of it becomes. And the greater my engagement with Jesus is over the idea in my writing piece, which is often my personal goal in the process.

I almost always revisit things I write in the week or two before I publish it. I may make adjustments or I may not. It depends. It isn’t unusual for me to find sentences that made sense to me in the first writing, when the passion was flowing, that look overdone or nonsensical a few weeks later. Giving myself a longer window of time to interact with an idea often produces a very powerful synergy:

1.The energy  and spontaneity of the moment (my heart)

2. The safety net of time to cool down and engage my logical analysis (my head)

3. The time to work, work, work (my hands)

These are some of the keys to my idea stewardship.