Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
- When writing my book, "The CSS Detective Guide," my inner critic was so strong at one point that I was totally blocked. But, because I was on a tight deadline, I didn't have time to wallow in it. I had to figure out a way to kick my writing back into gear. In order to trick and hack my creative brain, I did this, I gave myself permission to be bad. I told myself, "Okay, I'm going to write a really bad sentence. "Then, I'm going to write an awful paragraph. "And this whole chapter just won't be good." When I made it okay to not be perfect, brilliant, and clever, I opened up the space for something to come out, and then I could work with whatever that was. The irony? The really bad writing that I allowed myself wasn't actually all that bad. And, in retrospect, I realized that no matter whether I wrote something good or not, it would still have to be edited. Being bad on purpose totally takes off the mental pressure. It's the ideal antidote to perfectionism. In fact, it works to direct any perfectionist and competitive tendencies towards being perfect at being bad. Not only that, but it actually distracts the part of the brain that's creating the block in the first place, the inner critic, thus enabling us to get into the creative flow that we desire. Often, we take ourselves and our creative process far too seriously. Most of of us have been ingrained to fear failure, and to see failure as the absolute worst outcome when working on any project. But, in it's purest form, creativity is about having fun and exploring. When we're in the creative flow, we're so present that we aren't afraid to make mistakes, and if we do make mistakes, we immediately learn from them, and adjust and adapt, and we keep going. Play with being as bad as you possibly can at what you're creating. Deliberately give yourself permission to make the worst design possible, or to write the worst sentence, paragraph, or article as you can. Giving yourself this kind of leeway helps you quiet the inner fears, and frees you up to stop taking yourself so seriously, so that you can be more creative. This creative dose is called be bad, and make it ugly. Now, this is what we're going to do, you're ready. So, I have couple of folks here with me, I have Peter and Chris, and what we're going to do is we're going to write a poem, but we're going to write the worst poem that we can possibly write, and we're going to do in, like, this much time. So we have about 90 seconds. Everybody's got a piece of paper and a pen. Write poorly. Use bad sentence structure, awful rhymes, make it sound pedestrian and common. I don't care. But have fun with it. So, we got 90 seconds, go. (timer ticks) (bell dings) Okay. I'd love to hear what you got. - All right. I was just thinking of a bad poem, and so I thought of, here it is. Walking through the woods one day, I happened upon a calendar so gray. The calendar spoke, what did it say? I miss the month of May. - I love that poem! That's great, that's like a great kids' poem! And this is what he does when he's trying to be bad. Okay, what about you, Peter? - Okay, I love the blue dolphins, they are slippery and nice. If you wanted me to hug them, I wouldn't think twice. - And that's very sweet too! Okay, and so here's mine. I can rhyme, right on time, don't take mine, ideas. Because it's bad. Creativity is fun, play in the sun, eat some good stuff, yay! (laughs) So, did you feel like because you just had license to do whatever, that whatever came out was okay, right? - Yeah, it made it feel okay to have a little bit of fun with it, laugh at it. - Exactly! And what if we brought that kind of attitude to everything that we did creatively, right? And you take this, and then you can work with it, and you can change it, or you can make it more serious, or you can keep having fun. You could publish it in a children's publication, everybody wins. So, when you do something like this, when you give yourself permission to be creative, to be bad, and to make it ugly, it often will free you up to do more than you even thought that you could.