When Good Ideas Go Bad

March 24, 2016

When Good Ideas Go Bad

Coming up with new designs is easily the most and least fun part of growing Hi Little One. Sometimes I’m feeling really inspired, the creative juices flow easily and I can crank out a couple pieces I really love in what feels like no time. 

Other times I will churn through idea after idea, only to end up empty handed. Yesterday was that kind of a day. 

I’ve had this idea of a baby silhouette tote for a few months now. Won’t this be great for Mother’s Day? Such a thoughtful gift idea! It will photograph so well! Maggie and I had it penciled in as a new style to come out next week, I just had to whip up a few mocks and take some product shots.

When I sat down and actually put the pen to paper, I was underwhelmed to say the least.

First it felt like a chalk drawing at a crime scene:

 Hi Little One: Bad Ideas 1

Then with the addition of shoulders and lashes, it got a bit better. But still really felt like something you’d find in your grandma’s basement among her creepy antique doll collection.

Hi Little One: Bad Ideas 2

 So I threw in some color to take it out of the basement and into pop art. But this still feels like a canonization, rather than a cute way to show off you cute baby while you look cute and run your cute mom errands in a totally cute but non-mommy sort of way.

Hi Little One: Bad Ideas 3

Then I thought - it's not my idea, it's the baby's fault! Behold, new baby, new color, still same, "meh" feel:

  Hi Little One: Bad Ideas 4

I’ve been asking everyone who’s come into contact with me for their opinion. What do you think? Seriously what do you think? Be honest!

This is the final stage, and when when I know the idea is really dead. When I’m on to something good, I share it, proudly. Look at what I made! Isn't it great?! I don’t timidly, yet persistently, ask everyone I know what they think. I spend this final stage begging for someone, anyone, to tell me my PB&J is a filet mignon. Please convince me of it, so I can check it off my to do list and move on. (I actually think this rationale also works when evaluating relationships, but that's a post of a different color.)

These days are frustrating, stressful, but—as I remind myself constantly—necessary. As Ira Glass states in my all-time favorite creative pump up speech, only by going through a volume of work, will the work you produce be as great as your ambitions. I believe this to be true in the landscape of your creative development and on a micro, day to day scale. Sometimes, the only way to a really good idea is through a lot of bad ones.

Perhaps there will be an application for the silhouette someday, but right now, I think this well is dry.

The good news is, I woke up this morning and had two really great (albeit completely unrelated) product ideas come to life before I finished my coffee. Bam! Bam! I'm back in the game! I cannot wait to share them with you!