Taking out the trash (So you can have new, shiny stuff)

2 minute read

Are you like me, and have a couple ideas (blog posts, products, applications) lingering in your head? Are you also like me, and do nothing whatsoever about them? Well, apparently there is an easy solution to that. Get them out of your head, and sell them. What I mean by this, write the blog posts down, create your product, or an application (MVP will suffice) and publish them, get rid of them, and give them to the world.

I have listened to a Ruby Rogues episode on Creativity and Technology a couple of days ago, and I caught one really interesting thing while they spoke about writing in particular, but it can be applied to any idea you have in your head. It’s really easy, the bare act of writing the thing you are holding in your head, makes it go away. David Allen talks about the same thing in Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity. And the same thing applies when you clean up your home from the stuff that has been there for much too long. You make room for new stuff. And if you are on a constant improvement path, the new stuff will surely be better and shinier than the stuff you threw out.

It’s a really simple process, and you will vastly improve your skills if you start taking things out of your head and putting them into the world. Let’s say, for example, that you have the coolest idea in your head. Not that you think it’s the coolest, but something for the world to see. Let’s say that your idea is an idea for the iPhone. And you tend to keep it to yourself, while never acting on it. What will happen? Someone will come to the same idea, maybe not as good, but will act on it, publish it, gather feedback, improve on it and you lose. What if I told you that the first big idea you have in your head isn’t really that good? And there are better ones to come. But you have to clear out your mind so it can accept new things.

I’ve been on and off with my writing for a while, and the same thing happens to me. I started writing things down, and better ideas came to mind. I even made one of the applications I had in my head, and saw it as not really usable. To the trash with it. Also, with a clear mind, you can afford to explore new things, like Rhetoric, or design, or whatever interests you at the moment. Most of us can be creative, if we choose to be. And you can’t write your first book to be as good as one of Seth Godin’s books. But you have to start writing, to get the junk out of your head, so you can come to the really valuable stuff that lies underneath all of the garbage.

I’m going to steal a quote from the Ruby Rogues show to end this post: Terry Pratchett once famously said, “There’s no such thing as writer’s block, only lazy writers.”