The post refers to my “Secret Experimental Event Series” for Big Weekend Calendars and The Austin Events Wall Calendar. You can read more about the event series in this post.
Way back in 2019 I decided to put on a series of promotional events for the wall calendar I make. In all, there were over a dozen events. But there were a lot more ideas that didn’t make the cut.
This post is about those events.
“How Do You Come Up With Your Ideas?”
When people ask me this, I assume they mean “How do you come up with your good ideas?”
Because who cares about how you came up with a horrible idea you never used, right?
I wish I could say that I just wake up day after day with fully-formed great ideas like “hey we should have an event where I get a bag of wigs and people where them” or “hey let’s have an event where people chew some free gum and wear fake moustaches”.
Before I come up with great ideas like that, I have to think up a whole lot of really terrible ideas first.
The problems is that the part of your brain that the ideas come out of doesn’t know what “good” and “bad” are. It just knows ideas. It’s not until they come out of your head that you start judging them.
So you have to just let yourself come up with lots of ideas. And allow it to come up with bad ideas. Because if you get in there and start trying to sort the laundry while it’s still in the washer it’s not going to work.
For the experimental Event Series I spent a few different thinking sessions letting my brain give me lots of ideas. Then I went through afterward and picked out the best ones.
I’m just going to share some of the bad ideas I came up with so that you don’t mistake me for a genius.
I had about 120 ideas that got cut. Here’s some of the more memorable.
The Ideas That Didn’t Make The Cut
Keep in mind that my brain will often only give me a phrase or some words not a full idea, per se. I don’t always understand what it is trying to tell me. But if I feel inspired by a cryptic message I’ll go back to the brain and see if I can get more details.
In most of these cases below I did not do any such followup. You will have to just imagine what my brain meant.
- Make Dirty 6th Dirtier. (Or make another street even dirtier than dirty 6th.)
- Picnic. Big Picnic. Big Blanket.
- Decorate a stranger’s yard for the holidays. Because fewer people live in houses and have no yards.
- Dress up like cowboys and give fake tours to tourists.
- Put Texas on more stuff.
- Take a taco leave a taco boxes.
- Bike jumps.
- Accordion in park.
- Aisle 6 HEB.
- Hot Dog.
- Buried treasure.
- Traffic effigy for burning.
- Get washed/wasted in the park (can’t read my handwriting).
- An event where the theme is “someplace not crowded with free parking” and that’s all it is.
- Bring stuff to build an island or a bridge.
- Instead of a car wash, a people wash.
- Trees and Trombones. Tubas and toothpaste.
- Let’s build some condos.
- Cheering the afternoon runners on Lady Bird Lake.
- New moon swim at Barton Springs.
- What’s going to come out of the toaster?
- Phone on one side of lake that calls a phone on the other side of lake.
- World’s smallest ferris wheel.
- Cup of soup.
- Birthday celebration for anyone that had a birthday this year.
- I-35 work day. Where we all just get out there and fix it. (how?) You know, with shovels and stuff.
- Let’s give the honey back to the bees.
- A plant park. Like a dog park, but you bring your plants.
- Drop the marble down the thing. (Does not have to be marble).
- Musical obstacle course.
- Let’s pretend somewhere else is downtown, then it won’t be so hard to park downtown.
What’s important is that I didn’t judge as I was creating these.
I’m 100% sure if I had taken the time to think “oh sh*t, “Cup of soup”, is that a good event?” or “People do not want to eat tacos that were left out for them at some random time in the past” then I’d never had the energy left to get to the good stuff that actually became events.
After making this list I reflected on it, dug in more and eventually came up with the list of events we used in the Experimental Event Series.