Incubation: It means literally to provide body warmth so eggs
can hatch. For a writer, it means giving yourself the time and
space to grow to your full potential; to build strength, gain your
power and define your voice.
Writers desire to be in the zone where their writing flows; they show up as the willing scribe, following where they are lead. This is a wonderful state for a creative being. It’s also a state that we have to, in a sense, earn. Paying dues is something we hear about in other professions…the ice skating champion who practices endless hours to perfect his/her performance; the marathon runner who runs daily to improve stamina; the painter who paints endless hours to perfect certain techniques, etc. While an artist or writer may appear to be born to it, they also have to practice their craft in order to capture the flow. And flows can be interrupted by many things.
Daily life has its own responsibilities and responses. We get diverted. We also may experience what has been termed writer’s block or dry spells. I prefer to call these periods either incubation or the fertile void. Within this pause in your creative expression, something is brewing. You cannot force it. You cannot prod, poke or otherwise push it. The best you can do is wait with it and be attentive. From this place, when the time is right, something is going to emerge. Trusting your process isn’t easy at such times.
I’ve found that if you can put your creative energy into some other form, which could be rearranging your living room furniture, or planning a garden bed, even cleaning the house, things begin to move within. The muse is never really far…she takes an occasional hiatus so that you can process and integrate in preparation for what is next.
What has been your experience of incubation and/or the fertile void? Describe it in detail…this odd terrain that we’d rather circumnavigate. How is it useful to you?