But how can I know which tree has potential? How do I sort through all of the options and spot which ideas to spend more time with, and what to let go?
The truth is: I don’t always know. Sometimes I cut into an idea and find there is not enough substance to sustain simplicity. Other times I’m surprised at how transformed the original idea becomes through pruning. And still other times, I find myself needing to step away to give my ideas time to reveal their potential.
Here’s an example.
I first wanted to write a Beautiful Voyager book in 2015. I was filled with ideas and even had a literary agent friend to bounce my ideas off. I found myself both excited and bogged down. My thoughts were too large and unwieldy. “Perhaps we can do deep sociological studies of how anxiety appears in different societies around the world?” “Should I try to trace how different forms of art affect overthinkers over the course of history?” “I could hire a researcher to help me uncover patterns that have never been documented before!” And on and on.
I needed to let go of trying to solve everything
so that my smaller ideas had space to grow. It wasn’t until 4 years after that original meeting with an agent that I started to be able to catch ideas that were worthy of writing and editing into a book
I could achieve and others would want to read.
Give it a try yourself
- Instead of holding onto every idea you have, let most of them pass you by. When you find yourself particularly intrigued by an idea, pluck it from the passing flow.
- Write your idea down to give it shape and clarity. Prune it like a bonsai to find the beauty and specificity it holds within.
- If you find yourself attacking the work too strongly, or holding on too tightly, set your idea aside and give it some space to grow again. You can always revisit it later.
Thank you all, beautiful voyagers. I hope you all are having a happy, healthy, non-overthinky end of year.