Creative Process: Incubation. [42/52]

42_52_Creative Process_ Incubation.png

Creative Process: Incubation is part two of a five part series on the creative process. 

How do you know when it’s time to start writing once you’ve got a story idea? You might have hundreds of story ideas, and there’s no time to write them all. How do you figure out which ones should rise to the top and take up your precious time?

The answer is different from project to project, but one technique to help you figure out which stories you’re ready to write is the second step of our five part series on the creative process. That step is incubation. 

This is time spent thinking about your idea. And, by thinking, I don’t just mean brainwork. The incubation period includes sketching loose scenes and character motivations into a scratch notebook (you have a scratch notebook, right?) as you try to piece the story together. 

This part of the process can take days, months, and even years. If you’ve ever heard an author, screenwriter, or director talk about their project, they usually say something like, “I’ve had the idea for this project for twelve years, but I couldn’t quite get it right until now.”

It’s easy to get stuck in this stage and blame your procrastination on “needing to brainstorm” your story longer. 

There’s a point where you actually do have enough of your story, and it’s time to move on to the next step. Next week, we’re going to talk about that next step, the Aha! moment, when your story breaks open.

Jump. Build, Fly.
F.C. Shultz