Do you have a ‘new ideas’ folder?

Nick Asbury

“Some are nearly worth doing…”

Nick Asbury is a freelance writer and one half of UK creative partnership Asbury & Asbury, whose projects include Perpetual Disappointments Diary (Pan Macmillan/Chronicle). In 2016, he co-authored the new edition of A Smile in the Mind: Witty thinking in graphic design. So Nick, do you have a ‘new ideas’ folder?

I have an ‘ideas’ folder – it’s one of the sadder places on my hard drive.

I’ve come to realise that if I save something to the Ideas folder, it will probably never happen. If it’s a good idea, it usually gets its own folder somewhere else.

File names in my ideas folder currently include Brandscape.docx, Bus_to_Bedfordshire.docx, Keats_Heuristic.docx, Novel-length_strapline.docx, Philosopher_chants.docx and Sloganagrams.docx.

Some are nearly worth doing, but it’s like conceptual art – you don’t necessarily have to see the thing in order to get it. For example, I had the idea of producing a glossy, hardback book full of ‘Please consider the environment before printing this’ email footers. I think it would be fun, but it’s a lot of trouble to go to for an idea. So it will probably stay in the folder.

Increasingly, I feel like the creative skill is not so much having ideas, as working out which ones to do and how to make them happen – managing all the issues of money, time, contacts, production etc. There’s no magic way to do it – it’s often a tedious process. But it’s rewarding. My bugbear is when these things get called ‘side projects’. Why would you call your own creative output a side project?

Ideas Folder by Nick Asbury for A Curate's Egg
Perpetual disappointments diary by Nick Asbury for A Curate's Egg
Perpetual disappointments diary by Nick Asbury for A Curate's Egg

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