It’s OKAY to Throw Out Ideas that Aren’t Working

I’m in a Facebook group about decluttering and today, there was a post saying:

I use conditioner a lot more quickly than shampoo. I like to change scents so I have multiple partially used bottles of shampoo. Any suggestions for use? I feel bad just tossing it.

The comments have given some… interesting suggestions about how to use the partial bottles with the majority of the suggestions being to mix them or to use them to wash items that are not hair.

WHY am I writing about this?

Because I can 100% see the parallels between these half-used bottles of shampoo and writing. The shampoo is a stand-in for half-done ideas, books that you’ve begun writing and never finished, and even for business courses you’ve purchased but never completed (or never implemented.)

You “feel bad just tossing it.”

When I gave the poster permission TO throw them away… holy moly the storm I stirred up! I was accused of being “very wealthy” and “very wasteful.” To clarify, I DID say that I have no problem only using PART of something and then tossing the rest. I.e. I use the part I wanted, needed, and liked – and the rest goes out the door.

These folks however… holding on to this shampoo and “using” it is a big deal.


While I’m shuddering at the idea of mixing the bottles (I have a feeling that’s a recipe for damaged hair!) what has me more appalled is the underlying mindset.

Stick with me, I’m digging in.

Right after Small Thing was born I wrote a short-lived series of Writer Mom Chronicles. I had this idea to document my journey as a writer and a mom. A few weeks later, when the C-section was healing and I was sleeping a bit more, the luster of the idea faded.

It really didn’t align with my message. I really didn’t WANT to put my focus there. It didn’t feel good after those first few articles where I NEEDED to write about what I was going through.

I let it go. I threw away the half-used bottle of “shampoo.”

I did not and am not spending one iota of my energy figuring out how to “use” this idea. I gave it a try, it didn’t fit, I released it.

What about stock art I’ve purchased?

Gotta say, I have a deep love of purchasing the mandalas and patterns that can be used to create Adult Coloring Books. I’ve bought… probably fifteen sets of “re-sellable” artwork for an Adult Coloring Book project.

Some of the patterns are really beautiful. Others are crappy. I DO like to occasionally “publish” coloring books for you guys, my tribe. I enjoy the purchase and get my monetary value from enjoying the purchase.

The designs that I don’t like… I don’t use. I delete the files from my computer. I’ve used as much of that “shampoo” as I’m going to and I ditch the rest.

Again, no guilt. No drama. No endlessly trying to figure out how to “use” this thing that doesn’t fit me.

Online classes…

I know I will not implement 100%. Some of it isn’t going to fit me. Some of it, I won’t be ready for. Some of it, I’ll already know.

I take what I can and… you guessed it! Throw away the rest!

You do NOT have to hold on to “good” ideas when you’ve moved beyond them. You don’t need to beat yourself up when it really was bright shiny object syndrome and NOT a move you wanted to make, in your business or your writing.

It’s okay to just… toss it!

Where are you trying to force yourself to “use” an idea, writing you’ve started, a course, etc., that you know you really don’t want to “complete”?

P.S. This is different that succumbing to procrastination or overwhelm! It’s also not the same as when you know you’re called to write your book and you can’t figure out HOW. That I can teach you. (Talk to me to learn more!)

Kim Galloway
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