Need New Ideas? Go Through The Garbage

One thing any creative person needs to learn really fast is: Never throw anything you have made away.

It’s true, sometimes your ideas are not practical, don’t fit the situation, sound bad or silly. But this doesn’t mean they are bad ideas as such… maybe just that their time has not yet come.

You will surprise yourself if you go back through old notes and brainstorms: some great ideas there. And by now, you will have gathered together enough new information to perhaps take those abandoned ideas in a new direction.

This is why people tell one another that nothing you do is ever wasted. It can always be used later, repurposed and given a fresh life. The best example of this is the boom in ‘Vintage’ clothing and furniture. This is nothing more than second-hand junk that went out of fashion so long ago that is has come back into fashion, being cleaned up and re-presented in a new way, with a new story attached.

Why Teams Can Be Powerfully Creative

A great way to re-purpose old ideas is to pass them on to someone else. The change in perspective, skills and/or knowledge set may often provide the spark that lifts a stuck, old idea to new heights. This is why working in teams can be so powerful creatively. The differences between the team members can make the most out of any idea, instead of relying on the tunnel vision of just one person.

A Poetry Example

From my own creative life and I can give the example of a poem I wrote called Life Pyre. I always liked the poem (you can read it here) but it never really reached its full potential. However, when my friend Shannon Hope turned it into a song, the poem came to life in an entirely new way.

Here’s a photo video I made to go with the song:

The Take Away

Nothing you ever do is wasted. You probably just haven’t found the right interpretation, opportunity, location or application for the things that seem like bad ideas.

Keep them. Write them up, take pictures of sketches. File them ready for cross referencing. And whenever you are stuck, go back and look again.

Repurposing the old is the best kind of stealing because all you are doing is turning your own trash into gold.

Leave a Reply