“Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it, wooing it, exploring it in small enticing steps.”
—Julia Cameron, Walking in this World
Those words from Julia Cameron’s sequel to her landmark book, The Artist’s Way, struck me. Clearly, those who perfect an art form invest many hours honing their craft. But until I read those words, I never thought about it as a form of romance. Being a bit of a romantic at heart, that idea appealed to me. I’ve had the honor of investing over 35 years wooing my wife Anna from the day I met her until now. So I thought that some of things I learned about wooing her might apply to my creative pursuits as well.
You see, I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with some of my pursuits. I’d have a great idea; one that I set out to pursue, only to discover that it was taking much more time that I thought it would. Soon, other demands come my way, and that good idea is parked. But it’s not quiet. It whispers, “I’m here. Remember me?” I do, of course. How could I forget you? You’re such a beautiful idea. But it takes too much time to conquer you. My good idea deserves a relationship when I’m only willing to give it a one-night stand.
Of course, no good idea is worth a one-night stand’s worth of attention. So for your next good idea, try romancing it instead:
- Spend time with it. This, of course, is one of the primary challenges of a good romance. They take time. People and ideas both need time to be nurtured; to fully discover who or what they are. If you’ve got a great idea, when was the last time you spent 15 minutes interacting with it, mulling it over, researching it, writing about it? Think about something you might do each day with your idea.
- Spend money on it. Some relationships are more costly than others. I’m blessed that Anna has always been satisfied with a cheap date, referring to me, not her. Receiving gifts is not one of her love languages, though I do enjoying buying things for her. When it comes to your idea, how are you investing your money? Perhaps you should consider attending a workshop or conference, buy some books, or hire a coach. Never before have there been more resources available to help you get your idea off the ground.
- Talk about it with your friends. You know someone is in love by their conversation. They can’t help talking about their love interest. Is that true for you with your idea? Have you shared your idea with your family and friends? Or do you resist talking about it out of embarrassment that it might be seen as a wild idea—a mere infatuation? Sharing ideas with others help you learn what you like and don’t like about it. Just like in a real romance.
- Show respect for it. No one likes to hear someone speak disrespectfully of others. It’s especially awkward among people who should be in love. Yet, it happens all the time between people and also with our ideas. If you have a habit, as I often do, of internal self-diminishment, of trash talking yourself, you’ve shown disrespect for yourself and your idea. No healthy relationship can be formed from criticism. No good idea springs forth from self-deprecation either.
- Pray for it. You wouldn’t want a relationship that God hasn’t blessed, would you? Nor should you want to invest any more time in an idea that’s not inspired by the Chief Creative. With so much wisdom at our disposal (James 1:5), if only we ask, why remain silent?
So, go ahead. What keeping you from asking that great idea out on a date?
Add to the list: What other ways do you romance your ideas?