Shelved projects. "Bad" ideas. Ditched concepts. We all have them, and they take many forms. That article you'll eventually get to, that awesome concept you'll draw out. That book you've been working on (for YEARS).
As a creative, you never truly quit. And we can all be guilty of projects or concepts that make us ask, "What were we thinking?!" I've got binders full of ideas collecting dust while hammering away at other projects.
Glancing through "Art Of" books are troves of abandoned ideas, ditched characters, and lofty landscapes that never see the light of day...yet. Fans of the Star Wars franchise know especially the many concepts that never made it into the movies, found their way into many of the spinoffs of TV shows and video games.
That's an encouraging thought. There is never a "bad idea" in these. Just ways they could not be applied to the task at hand. They also lead to more solid ideas that work in the moment. This is the creative process at its core.
So when finding yourself in a bunch of "bad ideas" here are some quick tips to prove they were actually good in the first place:
Just Ask the Experts: They've Been There
Stephen King was rejected constantly until Carrie was finally accepted and published. JK Rowling keeps her rejection letter for Harry Potter. Star Wars had so little faith, FOX gave George Lucas merchandising rights on the condition he also took a paycut!
And again, I encourage you to find any "Art Of" book. They're full of stuff that never makes it to the final phase of a project. It's a great inspiration tool to know that you're actually in the same situation that the "pros" are in. Guess what? You're actually a pro too!
Ask Yourself: Why is it a Good Idea?
You've already asked yourself why it's a bad idea. Now it's time to defend that nugget from extinction. You thought it up. Surely it has qualities. Is it funny? Is it true? Is it something new? Will it help others?
Look for the basic principle of the idea and what it is intended to do. Ideas always end in action. If you can't find it, keep searching for that action. That's the value of the idea and turns it from "bad" to good.
Find it a Better Home
Sometimes most ideas just don't fit into the project at hand. A flyer might better be off as a postcard. A blog post might be just better summed up in a quick social media post. Your main character might be a great sidekick in a different story. Ideas are just like people. Just because they don't fit in one situation, doesn't mean it's bad. It just hasn't found the right place yet.
Tired of "Bad" Ideas?
Keep the discussion going! Let me know if you're "bad ideas" need some guidance. Bring this up with others. The best way to get over these challenges is getting social and finding fresh perspectives to help see something you're missing.