Do you have a green thumb for creativity?
(Pssst! Cole, here. Enjoy this guest post by my dear friend, Sandra Peasley Bush. I know you will 😉 )
“What’s that?” you may ask. “How do I know if I have one?”
A green thumb for creativity isn’t much different than a green thumb for gardening. When a person has a green thumb for gardening, they have the talent for growing healthy plants, juicy fruits and elegant flowers with what appears to be less effort than those of us with ordinary thumbs. The green thumbed gardener has house plants that never wilt and gardens that never succumb to insect attacks. Some mysterious talent appears to be natural for those lucky people sporting green thumbs.
The green thumb for creativity works in a similar fashion. People who have one of these unique digits often have a flair for a number of creative endeavors -arts, crafts, photography, dance, writing etc. They appear to set their hand to any inspired task and it comes to be… or does it? Are these people naturally more gifted than the rest of us, or is something else at work that earns them their admired attribute?
In fact, the green thumbed gardener, talented author, renowned artist and concert pianist have several things in common.
They are dedicated to their idea.
My friend Rebecca, a Master Gardener and green thumb extraordinaire, has the most breathtaking garden I’ve ever seen.
For many years, I’ve looked forward to spring when her hillside garden comes alive in a wave of butter yellow daffodils, pink weeping cherry trees and a variegation of green foliage.
Some time ago, Rebecca and her husband bought a lovely home poised on the edge of a barren hillside. She had little experience gardening and couldn’t imagine what to do with the stark, blank space. For days, Rebecca gazed at that treeless, flowerless slope until slowly, ideas began to take shape in her mind. She visualized colors and forms on the bare hillside, jotted down ideas and sketched little images as they came to mind.
After browsing aisles of possibilities at a local garden center, she purchased six golden daffodils, took them home and set them into the earth. With her dream and the choice of six plants, Rebecca’s garden was born. Every year thereafter she added more daffodils. Her vision expanded and her passion for creating beauty grew. Seasons passed, and in time, all could see that her determined efforts had created one of the most attractive gardens in the tri-state area.
By following her creative vision, Rebecca was able to transform the plain, lifeless hillside into a sea of several hundred sunny daffodils, fruit trees and other eye- pleasing flora. She became well known for her productive “green thumb”.
Yes, Rebecca had a green thumb, but it had not appeared suddenly- a magical gift bestowed upon her by the Fates . Rather, it was the result of hard work and determination. She learned all she could about plants. Rebecca dug into the dark soil, set bulbs and seeds and pulled endless weeds. She watered and raked and watered and raked again, then dug out more weeds, pruned out deadwood from the trees and watched her thumbs grow green with the stain of chlorophyll from handling countless leaves and stems.
Yes, she had a green thumb, and it was the result of her passion and willingness to follow a creative dream with the necessary work.
They are prepared to do the work.
Those who write create gardens with words. The writer must tend to the growth and development of each writing project with both a plan and a sense of openness to ideas. A creative green thumb in our craft comes from a willingness to take certain steps.
Writers must always carry a notebook in their pocket or purse or be ready to use Notes in their iPhones.
Ideas, like fireflies- must be captured quickly, or they are gone. The memory can never be counted upon to bring back a creative thought . The writer must get it down on paper before it disappears.
A notebook, or notes app in an iPhone, is the place where a writer gathers their creative seeds for future sowing.
Green thumb gardeners and writers schedule a certain time
and place to do their task on a regular basis.
Many people buy house plants or start gardens only to lose them when leaves wither and flowers die. Often, this is due to a simple lack of regular watering and care. “I just don’t seem to have a green thumb,” they lament, when in fact, they had not taken the needed steps to help living things thrive.
Like living plants, creative projects of any kind, can’t thrive and grow without routine attention. We must decide the days, time allotment (just 1/2 hour 5 days a week is better than no plan at all) and place (may be different on certain days). Be realistic.
To get started, relax. Creativity cannot express itself under tension. Forget such things as word count and spelling. These details will be addressed later, after the initial creative process has ended.
If you are seeking a new idea or sense of where to go next in your current writing project, sit with a blank page and let ideas come freely to mind. (Remember Rebecca’s bare hillside?) Jot them down as they come.
When one word draws your attention more than the others, place that word in the center of a page and let all associations flow onto the paper/ page. This will take you naturally toward a writing destination. Note: This widely used idea comes from Gabriele Rico’s book, WRITING THE NATURAL WAY. This book is a useful addition to every writer’s library.
They are willing to pull weeds and enrich the soil until they get it right.
A green thumb writer must be willing to write and rewrite. Just as a daffodil bulb is not yet a flower in bloom, our first draft is only the beginning and not our final, finished product. Be willing to pull out the wrong words and replace awkward sounding sentences with those that clearly get your point across to the reader.
We must be willing to dig into the soil of our writing project and work it until it produces the best piece of writing possible
By applying the practices of those who have earned their green thumbs in creativity, we will know a true sense of accomplishment and bring about writings to be admired and enjoyed by all.
Cole, here! Thank you, Sandra, my friend. Your words are always inspiring and encouraging.
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