When Ideas Turn to Manure

Over the last few weeks I’ve been plugging away at some older pieces of work, deciding whether to forge on with them or cut them loose.

I had just closed the document of a poem I had been working on after having decided it was not worth pursuing at this time and launched into a quick twitter self-evaluation session.

The conversation I had with myself is below.

Cleared the desk of old projects hanging around. Abandoned some. Others into storage. Time to focus on the new things. And Get Stuff Done.

Come to conclusion some ideas are worth exploring but awareness they are practice, amassing the hours needed to master the craft.

Nothing wrong with that. Some ideas sprout early, look good but produce only weeds. Cut them down, turn them into compost for new ones.

It does seem to contradict “finish what you started” but sometimes the piece will not work no matter how much manure you pour on it.

Commitment to an idea is noble but not at the expense of developing as a writer, artist, creative person. Shelve it. File it. Let it go.

Sometimes ideas just suck. Sometimes they turn into manure. Put it on the compost pile and let it feed new ideas and projects.

Do you ever let something go or do you see it out to the end?



13 responses to “When Ideas Turn to Manure

  1. Thought provoking..
    Great piece..
    I love this one
    Hope you follow back.

  2. I absolutely agree with you. I find that not every bit of inspiration is meant to be used right at the moment it comes. For me, if something isn’t working for a while, then it usually means it isn’t going to work because I am approaching it in the wrong way (for the time being). I believe in following an idea through too, but sometimes the idea and the story come at different times and the idea needs fermentation. Great post!

    • I agree that sometimes the idea and the story arrive at different times. No idea is wasted as such because it may be the next step to working out why a piece does or does not work. Or it may lead to a new idea.
      I aim to see ideas through but occasionally it needs to be shelved or forgotten.

  3. Ah. My compost pile is immense. Perhaps it is harbouring a future great work? I shall continue to hope.

  4. I definitely agree that sometimes you need to take a break from whatever project you’re working on. That may mean scrapping it entirely or just putting it on the back burner. But most often, I get ideas while I’m still working on something else, so I jot it down somewhere and come back later.

  5. Even terrible creations can be shaped into brilliance. Nurture your ideas don’t immolate them so quickly because they lace momentary prospects. Time can bring new meaning to old thoughts.

    • I do nurture ideas and let them grow. Sometimes I feel I have gone as far as I can with it, or it is not developing and needs time away from it to gain fresh perspective or insight. It helps having good beta readers who can pinpoint the flaws or offer new angles to approach a concept. Not always easy to hear the feedback but essential for growth as an artist.

  6. I hear your struggle with letting go of all those pieces you thought might glow , not really sure what to do myself with all the pages I racked up from years of eager excited scribbling.

    So what I do is simply this, now and again I type them out just in case a jewel is lurking in piled high drawers oh how I wish.
    To save my fingers from lots of typing my idea is simply this .
    To buy myself a memory stick.
    Happy days to you . Kathy.

    • I had this other thought, too, that some ideas are simply pieces of practice, building our skill set and understanding of our craft.

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