A list of the worst ideas I’ve had lately (and why they’re really not so bad)

  • A music festival sponsored by Jif and Smuckers called ‘Peanut Butter and JAM’
  • An interactive google map outlining the quintessential route for seeing every major landmark referenced in a third wave ska song.
  • Taking a road trip to see every major landmark referenced in a third wave ska song
  • A blog dedicated to late-90s alternative christian rock
  • ‘TheySoundLike’ a website that autogenerates a playlist of recommended artists based on the name of any band input by users

  • A collection of .gifs from the 1994 film ‘The Paper’ with headlines and dialogue from the 2016 election photoshopped into the frame
  • A listicle of playlists developed by characters on The Simpsons
  • A petition to convince Netflix it needs to resurrect the mid-2000s sitcom My Name Is Earl in order to properly conclude its Season 4 cliffhanger.
  • Crowdfunding a Slick Shoes tribute album
  • Editorial – ‘In Defense of Neon Pop: Embrace Your Inner Scene Kid’
  • Book: My life as a millennial emo and why I no longer hate everything 

Even when a list is good the contents of that list can be bad. I try to set aside time every day to brainstorm a few new ideas. These can be ideas related to my career, my hobbies, or life in general, but every day I challenge myself to develop a few things that could change my world. The ideas outlined above were all written down by me at some point in the last week, and I’m not ashamed to admit I definitely made in depths notes plotting out how 2-3 of these might come to fruition. I’ve since moved on, but that’s kind of the point of the exercise: Be creative without fear of failure. Anything is possible, you just have to use your imagination.

I make a lot of lists in my life. I make lists for grocery store, for chores around the house, for work, and in order to keep track of all the things I’ve yet to do. Sometimes these lists help me work more efficiently, while other times they remind me to complete a task or two I may have otherwise overlooked. Whatever the case, lists help me get a lot more accomplished in a timely manner than I would be able to do without them. 

Idea lists, like the one posted above, help me by keeping my mind active even when I’m otherwise not engaged in an activity. By getting all the wild thoughts and ideas I have down on paper I’m able to better decide what I should or should not do next in my day, week, month, life. I’ve also found that creativity exercises like an idea list can help generate better ideas faster than you typically world. The brain is a muscle after all, and in order to make it function to the best of its abilities you have work it out. Consider idea lists like going to the gym, and the more you do it the more creative you will feel yourself becoming.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.