It feels like we are not allowed time for composting, daydreaming, idle doodling and staring out the window anymore. That we need to be in full productive mode all the time.
I do not believe this at all, I think composting, and all its components are a vital part of a creative life.
The process of composting for your garden involves putting in a lot of different things in a bin and giving it a huge amount of time. It needs vegetable matter (cuttings from your garden, raw vegetable waste – no cooked food or meat, else rats will invade); brown matter (cardboard, paper, natural fabric) and things which create space (twigs, small branches etc). Then you leave it a long time and out of the bottom of the bin comes rich, fertile compost which will make everything else in your garden grow. If you don’t have a mixture of material, and most especially the space, then the whole thing will turn into a rotted, slimy, stinking mess.
This is the perfect metaphor for creating. Not least because it needs time. You chuck all sorts of stuff in – for me that is all the various things I read – both books and online, podcasts, audiobooks etc, my 1000 words of writing, my journal, and make sure there is breathing space and give it time. Breathing space is my walks, swims, meditation and prayer time, Sundays as Sundays as well as general daydreaming and staring out the window.
Sometimes on my walks with the lovely Buster I listen to music or podcasts but more often than not I don’t listen to anything and this allows ideas to percolate through my brain. I like to look for things to photograph, so I am very focused on the moment and Buster is an ideal walking companion – I need to know where he is and look after him, but he doesn’t interrupt my flow of thought and he makes me smile.
Swimming is a really repetitive movement, which is excellent for allowing thoughts to flow, I use a Garmin Swim watch so I don’t have to count my lengths, so I can focus on technique and thoughts too.
I also make sure that I schedule in holiday breaks every three months.
If you don’t allow that composting time then there is always pressure to be performing and eventually your well will run dry and you will no longer be creating from a place of abundance.