Hesitation and jealousy

July 21 by

Hesitation and jealousy

It happened again.

I had a genius idea, years ago, and I sat on it.

And guess what? Just like last time, and the time before, and some other times before that, someone else thought of it, acted on it, and the idea is going like gangbusters.

This time, it’s rocks.

Years ago, my son and I had an idea to write motivating little things on rocks and leave them in random, public places as encouragement to others. We went to Dollar Tree and bought a couple of bags of river rocks — one set of black, smooth ovals, one set of lighter -colored rocks with mixed shapes and sizes.

I wanted to write empowering statements and quotes on them and hide them, trusting the universe to work them into the visual field of whomever might need those words the most on a particular day. I would write the name of a Facebook page or a hashtag or something on the back, just so we could see if anything ever came of it or whether anyone else starting contributing rocks, too.

And it would be a secret.

We wouldn’t let anyone know we were the ones doing it. Hush-hush good deeds. Hide them stealthily and sneak around. Extra fun, and good karma. Teach my kid to go out and do random kindnesses for total strangers, with no reward or thanks.

Win-win, right?

I gathered all my weird-colored nail polish and metallic Sharpies for the black ones. Got my paint markers, acrylic tubes, sealants, and tiny paintbrushes ready to roll. Put everything into a basket together, so we’d have it all right there and good to go.

And promptly forgot about it for months.

As the last couple of years went by, I found the basket every once in a while, and went, “Oh, yeah!  We need to do that!”

And then stashed it somewhere, because I was positive I’d “surely remember it later,” of course… and never did.

One time, I painted one. It said, “you’re enough.” Plain script, super readable. It had flowers.

I liked it. I never got around to placing it, though.

Yeah. Well.

Fast forward  few years, and a Facebook post catches my attention.

Someone near me has started a movement — a take-off on a similar one elsewhere, as I understand it — using the hasthtag #615Rocks.

It’s pretty simple:

  1. Get paint.
  2. Paint a rock however you’d like.
  3. Include “#615Rocks” on the back.
  4. Hide it somewhere.

That’s it.

And it’s spreading like crazy.

I live in a fairly rural area way outside Nashville proper, and it’s all over the place, even out this far. I’ve seen many posts by real-life friends and their children, either sharing the ones they’re about to hide or showing off the ones they have discovered in the wild.

Many people choose to take a picture, share their find, and re-hide it for someone else to happen across.

There are message rocks about breast cancer awareness, cartoon character rocks, inspiring quote rocks, flowers, birds, kawaii deco stuff rocks. They’re all stripes, sizes, themes… it’s amazing to see.

Here are a few created by group member Melanie Cagle, who kindly granted permission to share her picture:

Melanie Cagle, #615Rocks

Artist Credit: Melanie Cagle, #615Rocks


Aren’t these AWESOME?!

It makes me want to run around Nashville right now and find them all. Pshaw. Forget Pokémon.

I want ROCKS.

And there are so many, many others. The talent brought together by this new little hobby is stellar. The folks who started this group definitely did our area a service. I’m so happy this is a real thing, and that the city has responded and carried it on and on into something big.

Yet part of me wants to be insanely jealous.

Okay, fine. Maybe part of me is.

But I’ve been in the creative game long enough to know that, you know what?  That’s my fault.

I did have the idea. Probably not before these people had already started, guessing by the size of the group and how strong it’s already moving along. (Also, my posting about having had the same idea a while back is absolutely NOT any kind of attempt to steal their thunder or downplay the uniqueness of what they’re doing — please don’t think that it is!)

But when I did have my version of the idea, it was on me to go out and make it reality.

It was on me to get off my butt and pursue action.

It was me that kept forgetting, me that put it off, me that put it all in a pretty little basket and stashed it in a mental closet.

“Me” didn’t do anything.

And ideas are worthless without action.

Even when those ideas are words, and not tangible things like art or books or buildings or marches, they are useless until they are used and acted upon or shared with other people.

I could have started a rock thing. Easily.

But instead, I chose to let it fall by the wayside.

And now, someone who didn’t fall prey to hesitation is out there rocking our socks off (pun alert!) and heading up a group of — get this!  — almost 27,000 people! And looking at the stats, it seems another five hundred to a thousand new people join every day.

By the way — you can click right here to join your creative own self.

It’s amazing!

There’s no point in my being mad; it’s too dang cool a project for allowing any bad vibes to enter.

They had the idea legitimately; it has nothing to do with little old me. I don’t even know the organizers.

But I’ll tell you what. I’m super proud of everyone who is participating. It’s a great change to my feed from the angry politics and forgotten rescue dogs in need of homes and “here’s what I had for breakfast” pictures (although I can’t judge, because I’m guilty of food posts sometimes, too.)

It’s refreshing and creative and it brings people together.

I’m glad it exists in the world.

If it had been left up to me?

It’d still be in a basket at the house. Next to the cross-stitch I also never do and a a half a million unread books.

There’s a theory, shared by many artists and some psychologists, that there’s a “collective unconscious.” The theory is that there is a cloud of ideas floating out there in the ether, all shared by humanity, and they can be accessed by multiple people in sync, at any given time. Edison invented the lightbulb at the same time several other people on the planet did, too — each independently. Many, many inventions have that phenomenon in common. The credit in the history books goes to whomever ran their happy butt down to the patent office first.

It’s especially true in the creative world, as well. Books come in cycles. There will be a sudden influx on agents’ desk of manuscripts containing vampire romance, or time-travel by some weird new way, or classics rewritten into the horror genre. They all get submitted at once. Nobody knows why. It’s groupthink.

Of course, six months after publication, there will be another influx of copycats, trying to cash in.

It happened to me and Cathy jointly, too.

The coloring book we sell, Conscious Coloring?

We thought of it in 2011 or 2012, but we didn’t get around to finishing and publishing it for several years. The idea had nothing to do with seeing other adult coloring books around — we hadn’t, yet!  It came from our both falling in love with the tangle style of doodling, and noticing how differently we each filled in colors and shapes on even the same starting pieces. Eureka!  Let’s publish it!

But we didn’t. Not for years.

And then by the autumn we finally got it out into the world, the Secret Garden coloring book had peaked, all the copycats had jumped onto the bandwagon, and we were among a million and one adult coloring books published that same month. Sales were okay, but not what they could have been if we’d been in front of the timing on that project instead of behind it.

Our loss. Our fault.

No one to be mad at.

And I’m even going to include ourselves within the people “to be mad at.”  Because being upset and wallowing in regret isn’t productive, either. You can’t go back and redo things like that. It’s just a lesson for  next time.

And maybe a blog post. 🙂

So, there’s the skinny.

Learn from my mistakes.

Don’t let a good idea go.

Don’t sit on your butt and let the universe say, “Oh, okay. Well, if you’re not interested, I’ll just pass this little tidbit on to the next person in line who’s paying attention…” and find out later that your idea would have been awesomesauce in the real world.

Don’t lose your chance.

Whatever your Thing is?

Don’t wait.

Don’t doubt it into nonexistence.





(Image credit: Richard Styles)












Tracy Lucas

About Tracy Lucas

Tracy Lucas is a writer, editor, and the co-owner of Inkwell Basics. She owns Four Square Creative and Smash Cake Press, and she blogs about writing and publishing at her personal website. She has written and sold more than one hundred and fifty pieces for print, web, radio, and stage.

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