Staring at the blank page can be intimidating. This could be the start of any creative project – from writing the next great American novel to crafting a new investment deck for your startup. Maybe your blank page is less grandiose, but still daunting such as organizing your thoughts for a sales pitch or drafting an email to your boss. As thoughts and fears swirl in our heads, it’s easy to freeze up like a deer in the headlights.
How will I structure the message? What word choice is best? Should I start with a story or a surprising stat? How long should the finished product be? Is it a good idea to use humor to make a point, or should the tone be more somber? As questions like these fire through our minds, we can quickly devolve into a tailspin of inaction.
Here’s a simple technique to break the deadlock: IdeaSpewing.
Just as it sounds, this tactic involves the unorganized dumping of thoughts onto a page. Don’t worry about structure, grammar, word-choice, rhythm or anything other than vomiting raw ideas onto the page. We’re talking a non-linear geyser of incomplete thoughts, dumped in a pile without any regard for organization. You’ll figure out how to build upon and assemble them later.
IdeaSpewing is the equivalent of going to the market and picking up a bunch of ingredients before deciding on a dinner recipe. Each raw and unfinished item enters your shopping cart in no particular order. You may grab several things that never end up in the final dish. This gathering phase allows you the creative freedom to explore and imagine the possibilities, before measuring, chopping, and preparing.
I’ve experienced the power of spewing personally, while creating many types of creative content. The trick is pulling apart the process into two distinct steps: 1) dumping out all your thoughts and ideas, unencumbered by any structural concerns; and then 2) arranging, assembling, and fine-tuning the creative elements into your finished work. Most of us combine these two steps into an edit-while-you-create pitfall that ends up making the process painful and the output less than ideal.
With increasing pressure on high-quality creative outputs in nearly every profession, IdeaSpewing may be your path to greater success in the new year. As the bubbly erupts at the strike of the new decade, let it serve as a symbol of the free flow of ideas needed to enjoy sustainable success in the years to come. In 2020, give yourself permission to get your bold, weird, and unexpected ideas out on the table without restriction before choosing how to assemble them into your own work of art.
Here’s to a swanky New Year’s Eve, and a Happy Spew Year.