"Although it is part of the creative's essence to constantly generate new ideas, our addiction to new ideas is also what often cuts our journeys short."
In an online songwriting course I recently completed, the biggest lesson I learned was to complete a bad song before creating anything perfect and unfinished. This has been a huge test of my humility.
The thing is, I truly want to identify as a songwriter, but I just don't have a ton of work in my portfolio. A huge reason for this is that I have rarely finished a song. In fact, my original songs which have ended up on my set list are there because I didn't want to ruin the aspects I was proud of by deconstructing it, thinking that this would interrupt the natural flow of what was already there.
Look at this graphic from Scott Belsky's book. What you're looking at is a "new idea", with high energy and excitement, naturally losing momentum until the project reaches a plateau in energy. Often what we will do at this point is abandon the original idea for a new one because it automatically has a high excitement and energy level. But we also blame the idea. We think that if it were good enough, the energy and inspiration would be there. But this curve can be applied to most projects across the board.
It seems to me that in songwriting, my problem was that I perceived the plateau as unending. In fact, this graph perfectly describes my previous songwriting technique.
However, if the aim is shifted to working through the plateau by setting a goal of completion without judgement, a project can be finished, and then we can move on to complete another project without the straggling obligation of great ideas in an incomplete form.
A bad idea in a complete form is always going to be more valuable than a great idea in an incomplete form.
Now that I understand the natural curve of a project's energy, I can put in the work during the plateau period to move onto the upswing.
I hope this helps you in your projects as well,