Most ideas are like bad relationships: you know you have to move on but the idea of letting go seems too unbearable to handle. Our team has heard all the excuses that range from "It's just a matter of time before this idea succeeds" to "This idea is just too perfect to give up." But, in reality, the same rule that holds true for relationships should apply for ideas: if it's going nowhere, it is sometimes best to move on.
Many creative professionals feel pressured to move the ball forward on all of their projects. But sometimes we are blinded by our passion for the ideas we have conceived ourselves (conception, to no surprise, is a very emotional process). We spend so much time pushing all of our ideas to fruition that we've lost a sense of perspective. The same passion that drives a creative to succeed can also interfere with judgment. Sometimes, the best idea is to kill an idea that is consuming a lot of your energy.
Much like pruning branches from a tree helps strengthen the remaining branches to survive a brutal winter, killing ancillary ideas will help nourish the ideas that are most critical.
As you begin sending some of your ideas to the graveyard, consider the following tips to make the transition easier:
Creative destruction. Create a weekly or monthly ritual to critically examine your pipeline. Prioritize your ideas and kill the ones that haven't been actionable in the past year, are low on the priority scale, or will never go anywhere.
Donate your ideas. Share them on sites like ecopop. Give them away for free. License them to your competitor (sounds frightening, but you might as well benefit and develop relationships in the process). If you have no intention of using your ideas, allow others to make them happen for the greater good.
Generate Ideas in Moderation. Our judgment is impaired when we get intoxicated. When rampant, new ideas will get you off track. So, drink in moderation and strive to make ideas happen, rather than generate more ideas.
Focus on Results, Not Time. Achievement should be measured by output, not by the amount of time spent on a project.
Much like a New Orleans funeral parade, celebrate the ideas that you have buried. If you suffer from separation anxiety, feel free to keep a backburner of ideas to which you intend to return. But be honest with yourself, and if nothing worthwhile is ever going to occur, say goodbye and don't look back. Send that idea to the graveyard!
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Behance articles and tips are adapted from the writing and research of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network , the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen. All information © Scott Belsky, Behance LLC