Never lose steam on your creative projects.
I created and started using this method a few years ago. I’m a musician, designer and aspiring children’s book writer and I’m constantly coming up with new project ideas. Like many creative people, I would come up with an idea and would invest a bunch of time into it, but as soon as I got a new idea for a project I would drop whatever I was working on and pour all of my energy into that new idea. I would end up with a slew of unfinished projects and a feeling of not being about to accomplish something. The Fallow Method helped change my perspective from a negative to a positive.
What does Fallow mean?
Fallow is actually a farming term for letting a field rest during the growing season. The purpose is so that field can rebuild it’s nutrients. If you constantly use a field over and over again, it will get burnt out.
How does this relate to creativity?
It helps to consider creativity as a natural resource. Like farming, if you constantly pour all your energy into one field, it will use up all of it’s nutrients and you will lose steam. But if you let it rest, you will build up creative motivation for that particular project and, when the time is right, you can pick up where you left off. It’s all about juggling your creative motivation between your projects.
Let’s say you were writing a song and after a while you had an idea for a children’s book. And while you were writing your children’s book, you had an idea for a really cool app. The old way of thinking would lead you to believe that you have an unwritten song and children’s book, but The Fallow Method makes you think of your projects as more of a long-term work-in-progress. Because you are jumping around, you are never really getting burnt out. The trick is returning to your abandoned projects so they are not unfinished and also not feeling like you have wasted your time on a project you are leaving. You’ll be back!
If you return to your song, children’s book and app when you have built up your motivation for them, you are picking them up where you left off and growing them each time.
How long do you let a project rest?
As long as it takes. It could be days, weeks, months or even years. It took me about 6 years to write one of my songs. I never gave up on it and I worked on it when I built up enough motivation for it. That’s the beauty, there is no set rule - you just have to Fallow Your Heart ;)
My experience with this method
I found that this method does not work well if you have a deadline. You can’t just drop your idea and work on something else, if you have a set goal to meet. But if you have some personal side-projects that you’d like to complete, maybe this way of thinking could help you.
- Don’t force it! Go with the flow of your own creativity so you don’t get burnt out. Fallow Your Heart!
- Don’t feel guilty to abandoning a project to work on something more interesting. You’re just using your creative motivation wisely.
- It’s all about changing your perspective. Think of all of your projects as long-term works-in-progress. When you return to them. Pick up where you left off.
July 14, 2013>
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