Today’s prompt of “glowing” led me here to this little yellow partyvbulb and thinking about light bulb moments. Those moments made both famous and trite by cartoons with people or animals getting an amazing idea and having a light bulb magically appear over their head. This, of course, doesn’t happen in real life as it would be weird and unsettling. Though if you’re in a meeting and someone suggests something it would be super helpful, because you would know it was actually a good plan before proceeding with a long, tedious discussion about it. So, the simple little light bulb has managed to become synonymous with ideas. My entire career has been about coming up with new ideas and some days it seems like lights are flickering all around my head and others, well, it can feel like a power outage after a bad storm. The thing about creativity is that, light a light bulb, it needs a power source in order to work properly. Unlike a bulb, the power isn’t from electricity, so when this happens, I know exactly what to do next.
Walk away! Stop immediately! Yep… if I feel like my light bulb has burned out, the first thing I do is quit whatever I’m doing and do something else entirely. I never try to force myself to come up with an idea. It never works. I just happily bounce off to something else and come back to the project later. Some days, for my watercolor sketches, I’ve dashed off a pencil sketch at lunch of something I thought I wanted to paint and then erased it entirely and blasted out something else that evening. The fun part about creativity is that I don’t have to follow a linear path, even the one I suggested to myself in the moment. In today’s case, I’m not sure I was prenaturally inspired so much as I still need to keep practicing circles. Some days the inspiration comes full blast and others it’s more of a whisper. Though this doodlewash is a party bulb so maybe I’m thinking I should have a party soon. No, I don’t really really like parties so that couldn’t possibly be it.
There’s not really a second step other than returning to whatever it is I’ve started. Ideas will always come, usually when we least expect them. The fun part is continually moving forward in pursuit of them. A next thing to paint or a new way to rearrange the furniture in the house can lead to something really cool. Oh wait, so there is a second step after all. Never give up. After walking away, always come back and finish what you started. Even if it’s nothing amazing, at least it will be completed and teach whatever it is one is meant to learn from that to make the next try even better. The process is always way more fun than the conclusion. Moving forward, through each success and every little failure to arrive victorious on the other side. Even on the dimmest of days, if we just have a little patience, there will always be those light bulb moments.
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!