The Power of Creative Recycling
Let’s take a minute to learn why your next big idea might be hiding in the past.
Remember when we talked about navigating creative blocks a few weeks ago? Well, I had to recently take my own advice. My creative work for my W2 and clients was fine, but personally? It just wasn’t clicking.
After reviewing my daily actions, I identified the cause: content overload. I love being inspired (my saved collections on IG are poppin') and learning new things (my TikTok still has recipes I want to try). Yet, the amount of content consumption was impacting my execution.
Yes, research is important and in an upcoming newsletter, I will share how I find and organize inspo across digital platforms. However, it’s only one step. You still have to execute because results only come from doing the work.
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So, I had to unplug and go back to the basics: my weekly brain dumps where I take a doc and put every idea or concept down I have to clear my head. During one of those sessions, I saw old folders in my Drive that I haven’t touched in a while.
I was curious and started going through them. My eyes LIT UP. These folders had ideas of gold, content outlines, and drafts I created years ago but forgot about. At that moment, I realized that I was so focused on what was being created around me and trying to start from scratch, that I forgot to look within — come to find out I had the answers all along.
Here are 3 ways you can look back to boost your future creativity:
Schedule time to look through old files.
If you have notes with ideas stored away, schedule a solo working session to go through them all and reflect. Figure out what is catching your interest at the moment and how you can execute it now with the skills you’ve obtained since you first wrote it down.
New to this? Pick three idea spaces.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of content and ideas, so being intentional about how you document your concepts is key. Try establishing 3 specific spaces for your ideas: 1 to jot things down quickly (like Notes), 1 to get pen to paper (a notebook), and 1 to organize for efficiency (Docs, Evernote, Notion). That way you always have access and know where to come back when you need a refresh.
Pick the low-hanging fruit to get you started.
So you see all these great creative ideas and start thinking “How am I going to get all of this done?” Don’t fret. Select one (or two) things you can execute quickly to get back on track, giving you the momentum to tackle the next thing.
If you read my birthday newsletter, you can see how I felt after my ‘look back’ period. Sometimes you got to take a step back and remind yourself you had the juice all along. Those drafts in the vault and ideas in the notes still matter, even if you don’t execute them at the moment. Write them down. You never know when you will be in the space to receive them again, but when you are, you’re ready.
I really love this idea of "creative recycling" that you share. I do think there is this pressure or feeling to always be novel/brand new, and that leads to unnecessarily starting over. I certainly am guilty of doing so. Will definitely be digging through my own crates to find some hidden creative gems from the past!