I’ve had a lot of ideas, notions, dreams, what-if’s, etc… that I’ve abandoned over the years. I’ve written down ideas thinking “This could be an awesome painting” and just looking at the words is exciting. Then sometimes I will come back to that same idea and try to attempt it. “What was I thinking? This is silly! Should I make this? Maybe I’ll work on this better idea”. And the idea will fade away into the ether.
Overthinking is the thief of ideas…and joy.
There is a difference between being selective about ideas with one’s limited time to work, and abandoning ideas before they have a chance to become something.
I am currently on day 61 of my third 100 day project. If you glance at my Instagram you might think I’m just like “Yeah dude, I’m doing this. This is so effortless for me!” But the reality is that every single day I doubt myself and my abilities and want to stop sharing, yet every single day I push past those thoughts because the fear of failure is worse than actually failing. Failing does not feel good, and I fail every day.
Ideas often fall short. The work that I make often does not resonate with people who are either indifferent or uninterested. So why keep going? Because every artist, musician, writer, athlete, human being whom I deeply respect has had those often soul crushing experiences. The key is that they didn’t give up. The only way to close the gap between what I make and what I wish to make, is by making a large volume of work.
I find that working on a consecutive project where I am producing work every day pushes me to work out ideas that I might normally have cast aside for fear of “wasting time”. The process is never a waste of time right? Every wise human knows this. Yet often that fact can only really be known in retrospect.
Each idea is a catalyst for another. Writing down words creates room for more words. Making drawings makes room for other drawings. Making songs makes room for new songs.
How can one know what the good ideas are? It’s only by making so many (often bad) pieces of work that the good (and great) ones start to surface.