Bad ideas

When you are learning a new creative skill you’re allowed, or even expected to be bad. It’s liberating. So how can we maintain this freedom?

Here are a couple of things to try:
1. change your medium.
2. deliberately have bad ideas

1. Change your creative medium

Once you accept a label “artist”, “designer,” “writer,” “entrepreneur” it’s harder to accept being bad. You become scared to “show the shit,” the experiments that did not work.

Worse still you stop experimenting and don’t allow yourself to be bad. Ironically, this is a downfall as you don’t progress.

In Jennifer Syme’s podcast, she advises changing your medium to allow yourself freedom. She considers her creative expertise to be writing and yet for a hundred day challenge she creates image quotes. This is because it removes the pressure for perfection.

I had never considered idea this until recently. I wrote a short blog post on behalf of my partner for his work. I’m not a writer, though I enjoy the process. This meant if my writing was rejected “so what”. Apart from a bruised ego, I don’t need to worry I am not a writer. I am not EXPECTED to be good.

If I had submitted a piece of graphic design I would have worried. So much so, that I would have dreaded submitting it.

2. Deliberately have bad ideas – creative thinking technique

There’s a creative thinking technique that exploits the idea of allowing yourself to be bad. It challenges you to come up with bad ideas.

Imagine you have a problem to solve or need new ideas based around a topic. Think of as many stupid or bad solutions as you can. The more ridiculous the better. Once you have exhausted your ideas think how you can turn those ideas into something that works.


Problem: struggling to decide what clothes to pack for a holiday

Bad Idea

Don’t bother taking any clothes.

Make a bad idea into a potentially good one

Create a service where there are clothes in the correct size waiting for you in your hotel room. It would be like a mini bar where you only pay for the clothes you wear.

You can also apply this technique to the way you create. What is the worst medium you could choose to create an image? What’s the weirdest style you could choose to write in? Try it, adapt it and see how it goes.

So if you’re feeling stuck try changing your medium or coming up with deliberately bad ideas. Let me know how you get on.

PS. Don’t train your dog to open the fridge, that really is a bad idea. Why do people do this? My fridge would be empty.