Divorcing Yourself from Your Ideas

“Learn to be able to divorce yourself from your original idea” Kim Harkins

I know I mainly write posts about writing, but today I’m presenting a post that can be applied to all areas of our lives. When I do these in my classes I call them Having a Moment with Mr. Middlebrooks.

I love to plan, but let’s be honest, things/thinks don’t always work out exactly how we’d like all the time. But we all know people, and, from time to time, we are that person who just wants something to be a certain way. I’m that way in restaurants and I’m sure I’m annoying, but when I want to sit somewhere I want to sit there- at least I tip well. But it happens in my personal, work, and creative life as well.

When I was in Photography school, planning out our photo shoots were part of our process and part of our grade. Having a clear idea before you began your studio time was vital if you wanted to finish shooting by the end of class. But, sometimes things just wouldn’t work. It was one such studio session where Mrs. Harkins, my instructor, said, “Marc, sometimes you have to divorce yourself from your original idea.”

“Sometimes you have to divorce yourself from your idea.” That slap in the face phrase, has stuck with me throughout the years. It’s an amped up version of all of those little clichés that we’ve grown used to: don’t sweat the small things, choose your battles, and/or some things just aren’t meant to be.

But still I think it means more than that. There is a skill there, being able to admit you’re wrong? No, I don’t think that’s it. It’s more like a skill to be able to identify that your original plan is not working, to accept that it’s not working, to be okay with that conclusion, and then move on to another plan.

Having this skill gives you the ability to not beat ourselves down when things don’t work out; it helps us learn to alleviate negative self-judgement. Getting wrapped up in your mistakes is counter productive, but being able to see the problem and come up with a second solution is a true skill. This state of acceptance allows us to stay fluid and to remain in the creative mindset.


Please feel free to leave comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions on this post. Thanks- Marc

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