Posted by: Cathy | March 27, 2013

Plant, Grow, Harvest, Fallow

I mentioned this cycle a few weeks ago: Plant, Grow, Harvest, Fallow

But how does this farming analogy really relate to your creative projects? Let me show you.

Coach Blog 032713 For a writer, ergo me, the “plant” phase is the idea of a story, the concept stage, and the research portion. You ask a lot of questions and maybe you get some answers. You are narrowing down the “what” for your project; what is it, what might it look like, what makes it feel important to create?

The “grow” phase is the actual writing. You are growing words on the page. This is the actual creation of the project; things are taking form and getting more and more distinct.

The “harvest” is the editing phase. You are harvesting the best parts of your story and making them a cohesive, beautiful whole; taking the raw materials and making them usable.

The “fallow” period is one we all resist. As a writer, this looks like getting quiet and inviting new ideas. It doesn’t look outwardly like you’re doing anything, but your creative powers are resting and recharging.

This cycle can apply to anything, even washing your car! The “what”/plant phase is you notice your car is dirty and you want it to be clean. The creation/grow phase is the actual cleaning of the car. Harvesting is the drying and polishing of your car. Fallow is waiting for it to get dirty again.

Each phase is important, though some will take longer than others. Try not to rush any part of your process. The “grow” phase is often the most exciting, because you’re doing, you’re making something that wasn’t there before! It’s thrilling and has lots of momentum because you want to see what happens next. But you don’t want your projects to die on the vine, to continue the farming analogy; once your creation is there, it still needs more tending. You may have lots of grapes but, if you’re trying to make wine, you have much more work to do.

Think about this cycle in relation to your own projects. Which phase is your favorite? Which phase(s) do you resist? Being conscious of this cycle, you can make it work in your favor! Rest when it’s time to rest, and go when it’s time to go.

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