Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined: How Your Good Taste Is Killing Your Creativity

And here’s where I’ll put the lasers.

How familiar does this sound: you start writing. You work hard, but your stuff just isn’t coming out the way you want. It doesn’t have that…special something that all the works you love, the ones that changed your life, have. Hell, it doesn’t even have that passable something of the works that you read to kill time. It’s bad. Real bad. Or, worse, boring.

You know what you like. You know what’s good. And the words have been there for fucking centuries. Not like someone came along and made a whole new vocabulary, unless you’re counting words like ‘twerk’ and ‘vajazzled’, and really, who does?

So you think: I should probably give up.

A lot of people do.

Welcome to Suckage Lane. This road becomes the final resting place for many a creative endeavour. You can see their bones scattered along the lane as you slog along. And, hey, a lot of those bones look awfully fucking familiar.

The problem, though, is not the road.

The problem is you.

Or, more accurately, your good taste.

Too much awareness of what is ‘good’ kills creativity. You know what’s good, so you think you should only be making that, whatever that is. Otherwise, what’s the point?

But “good” is something to strive for, not something you need to achieve right out of the gate or give up. Because before you can make something good, you have to be willing to fuck up. You have to be willing to do something epically bad. So fucking bad that it never sees the light of day. Otherwise, your perception of good will smother your infant creativity right in the crib.

You ever see kids doing something for the first time? They’re not concerned with good taste. More rockets, more glitter, more tentacles, more unicorns…kids will try anything to see if it works. That’s why they’re little fountains of creativity that we need to harvest for their sweet, sweet brain juice learn from.

Try some stuff. Story not working out? Be willing to try anything. Introduce a city-wide outbreak of Sudden Poop Explosion Disease. Make the main character a cyborg with a pet lemur. More stripper assassins. Something.

You might still fail. But at least you’ll go down swinging. And you never know: maybe that ridiculous, insane, utterly tasteless thing…was just what you needed to keep going.

And if it’s not, you still thought big. You went outside your comfort zone and tried some new shit. You braved Suckage Lane, and, instead of turning back, armoured yourself in the bones of your past projects.

Creativity is a weird little plant that grows its best in fucking bizarre soil. So if you’re dedicated to only making things that are ‘good’…you’ll end up only making things that are boring.

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