I used to have a friend who worked on the theory that the more jokes he told, the more likely it was that one would be funny. Now, to be fair, he was a pretty humorous guy so obviously he had a fairly high-percentage success rate. His theory, no matter how self-deprecating and amusing in itself, was something that stuck with me.
Seth Godin (marketing guru), whom I’ve mentioned before, recently wrote a blog advocating the generation of as many bad ideas as possible as this would, as a sideline, increase the production of good ideas as well. Echoes of my friend’s theory, here.
These ideas certainly apply to the creative arts. I think they probably apply to all sorts of aspects of life, too, in whatever arena one works or plays. It is hard, I believe, to give those bad ideas voice or to allow them to see the light of day, especially when time is short, money is tied up in resources, or our sense of value is seemingly dependent on the good ideas. Allowing ourselves to produce bad ideas, however, may lead to that childlike freedom that we often talk about with envy in the arts and perhaps elsewhere.
I think it probably takes practice to break down the self-censoring that we have developed over so many years. The details of that practice will depend on the area of life that we are dealing with. I am going to try harder, though. Goodness knows what will result, and perhaps I will end up with more disasters that end up as scrap paper, but it might be worth seeing what comes out along with the dross!