A Year in Burgundy is a beautiful and quiet documentary on the art of winemaking in the pastoral heart of France. The winemakers know the importance of each season. Late summer is time for harvesting. As the leaves of the autumn vines turn red and gold and fall to the earth, it is time to prune the vines. You can see the smoky haze on the horizon as the winemakers burn those pruned-off vines in the vineyards and let the ashes fertilize the roots for next year’s harvest. Winter is the time for the vines to rest as their roots dig deeper into the ground.


Many of the winemakers in this fertile corner of the world farm vineyards that span generations, as do the actual vines. Some vines that hold the grapes of the world’s best wine live to be 100-years-old. The older the vine, the deeper the roots, the more the vines can weather periods of drought. Watching this film made me realize what real artisans these winemakers are and that nature is their palate.

I talk about the creative process in a workshop I give on creativity and innovation and why it is important to understand your own process. Most, if not all of us have a period of time we call procrastination. It’s when we’ll do anything, but the creative job that has a deadline looming. This procrastination is actually creative hibernation. Just like the grapevine in winter, you may not see the creative harvest yet because your creative roots are digging deep and your creative vine needs to rest. The reason it’s important to know your own process is that you must honor this quiet time and not only celebrate the creative harvest.

As a writer I’ve observed and learned my creative process is different from my design process and different from my presentation process. Each are different varietals of creative vines, similar but uniquely their own.

The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling the need for a creative hibernation. A quiet season to still my mind and rejuvenate. I’m recognizing my need for quiet and reflection. Maybe it’s the time of year, the chill in the air, the leaves are falling, the days are shorter, even my bamboo has slowed it’s relentless attempt to take over my yard.  The busy season of holidays is almost upon us. I’ve decided to not take on any new projects for the rest of the year. I need to slow down and nurture me.

After a quiet night alone with a fire glowing in the background, savoring a glass of wine while watching a documentary on how it was made, I awoke before dawn with ideas that had fermented in my dreams. I had words that were ready to be harvested. The parallels to the seasons of winemaking and the creative process were ready to spill out of my pen.

wineglassHonor the season you are in
Fertilize the soil
Plant the idea
Let it hibernate
Allow it to grow
Nurture the creative vine
Prepare for droughts
Grow and create
Grow and create
Grow and create
Prune your creation
And prune again
Know the time to harvest
Pick the best grapes
Make the wine
Throw it away if it is sour
Start over if necessary
Savor when done
Drink what you have created
Honor the season you are in