When it comes to creative endeavors, we are slaves to our ideas. Over the course of any given project, many different ideas are required to see your original vision through to completion, even if that vision has been drastically changed in the process. The thing is, though, that some of our ideas suck. The truth hurts, I know. I think one of the most difficult skills to develop as a creative-type is being able to recognize aforementioned suckage, and move past it.
The concept here is pretty simple, but honestly quite difficult to put into practice. We tend to want to hold on very tightly to our original ideas, because they are ours’ and we just can’t help but love the shit out of them. Yes, even the ideas that flat out aren’t going to work we tend to hold dear to our hearts and not want to give up on. Sometimes we make them work, and there is of course plenty to be said about tenacity, but more often than not quality suffers as a result. Now, having said all that, every idea is important and deserves a shot. We can learn just as much from failing ideas as successful ones, and sometimes far more.
Given the two previous (rather conflicting) statements, we are forced to arrive at some sort of crossroads… On the one hand, we have to recognize a bad idea and kick it to the curb so as to avoid any wasting of time and slowing of momentum, which is a tremendous force when it comes to creativity. On the other, we need to learn something from that same idea, so that it can be re-purposed, or at worst avoided, later on.
What is the solution? Hell if I know, if you figure it out, please tell me. I have figured out, though, that recognizing this strange little dichotomy is quite helpful in moving around the issue in a practical way. I’d hardly call it a solution, but it’s something. I personally try to use this knowledge to make an effort to identify an idea that isn’t going to work, then continue with it to a certain point anyway. In this way, while working through it I may find a totally different idea, a nifty way to rework the original one, or I may just waste a ton of time and tell myself “Damn it, I knew that was a bad idea,” hours later. You win some, you lose some I guess. But at least in identifying the potentially problematic idea early on, I prepare myself to try to learn something from it. There are obvious problems sure… like a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure for the given idea, but like I said, it’s less than a solution.
Anyway, it’s something to think about. Of course we all need plenty of those, so as to waste as much time as possible thinking about gibberish. For that, you’re welcome. But I promise it helps to stay on-guard for those seriously horrible ideas, and if you work at it, you can still learn a lot from them.