Why to Think Twice Before Killing Your Creative Project

In Chapter 15 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, leadership philosopher Bijoy Goswami answers "How Do You Evaluate When to Continue a Project and When to Kill It?"  Goswami shares how he has learned to shelve creative projects for periods and, after letting them lie dormant for some time, pick them up and continue his work.  He shares a specific example of how this happened with his play and how it was turned into a short film years later. 

Bijoy Goswami is a writer, teacher, and community leader based in Austin, Texas.  He develops learning models, including MRE, youPlusU, and Bootstrap, to help others live more meaningfully.  Previously, he co-founded Aviri Software after working at Trilogy Software.  Goswami graduated from Stanford University, where he studied Computer Science, Economics, and History. 


Erik Michielsen:  How do you evaluate when to continue a project and when to kill it?

Bijoy Goswami:  So I rarely think I get to kill any project. It’s kind of interesting I find that no project is killed it’s always; it’s just going dormant. It’s like a project that goes into a long hibernated—hibernation and sleep and then just kind of sits there for a while and so when I find is if I have energy for something and somehow it starts to just pick back up again, I'm like oh, this project needs to be taken from wherever it is now to the next step and then it’ll finish that step and then it’s like okay well, there’s nothing else to do right now so let’s put it away.

We had the play festival called Frontera Festival in Austin and we put the play on and then we did it, actually our own performance if it, again, and it was sold out, we had a great time and then we were, we got back together said what do we wanna do next? We don’t really know. We don’t think there’s anything to do next so we just kinda put it away.

A few years later I meet up with another friend Neil who I met on a random basis and he end up putting me as the photographer and put me in a shoot for an ad and he said what are you working on? Well, I'm working on this thing, I had this whole project called—it was “Guru or Disciple? Yes!” This play and I think it would be a great short film and I know you kind of might interested in doing short film and he’s like yeah send that over. Sure enough he picks it up, he’s like, we love it. Let’s make the film.

So, Mystic Cab went from a play to a short film then it sat there for a while and you know, it’s a short, this 25 minute film and actually I've been thinking, okay it’s been a couple of years, it’s been a few years. Now, what’s the next thing for Mystic Cab? So, it’s part of this thing of putting things, you know, back on shelf bringing them back out, putting them back in the shelf and they just keep, they just keep going.