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Beat Creativity Blocks By Embracing Bad Ideas

Writer’s block, or any other kind of creativity drain, can be discouraging and depressing, especially if coming up with ideas and new solutions to problems is what you do every day. Playwright and screenwriter Megan Cohen has a method to beat writer’s block and reclaim her creativity: embrace your bad ideas and let them lead to good ones. Here’s what she means.Photo by marya.

She notes that when you feel like the well is running dry on good ideas, it’s time to sit down and just start brainstorming. Brainstorming alone isn’t enough though — after all, if you’re short on ideas, brainstorming isn’t going to turn up much. She suggests you break down those internal walls where you gauge each idea for worthiness before you write it down. Write down the awful ones and see where they take you:

To keep things interesting, you need bad ideas, with their chaos and swearing, their disrespect and vulnerability. But how do you lure them? What’s the solution to good ideas?

Well… it’s more ideas. If you don’t have an idea you really like for, say, the premise of your TV spec script… then we have a lot to talk about over coffee, but also you should sit down and write 100 premises for your TV spec script. Yeah, 100. Like the famous number of Dalmatians minus one.

The “100 ideas” method is straight-up stolen from an anecdote where Judd Apatow tells someone to do it. He probably invented it, maybe? It legit works.

If can be difficult to embrace the ideas that you know won’t work in their current form, but if you feel like the inkwell is dry, it’s time to explore the bad ones and see where they lead you. Often, even the worst solutions to problems have in them a few nuggets that can be applied in a good way. What do you think? Have you often found diamonds in the rough of your brainstorming sessions? Let’s hear it in the comments below.

Writer’s Block: The Solution to Good Ideas [Megan Cohen, Playwright]