Do you play with materials and not care about "finishing" something? I do this all the time. Play for play's sake can lead to learning what works, what doesn't, what you like working with. One thing leads to another, and another, and maybe even to a good design idea or engineering solution that you CAN use in a finished piece.
Here's an example: I found a leftover piece of hollow rubber tube in a bead box. (You know how things migrate out of their proper places!) For reasons I never question, I started to play with it. First I wrapped a bit of 24g Artistic wire around it. Then I strung wire through it. Next I strung an orphan big-holed bead onto it (a Paula Radke bead). Eventually I had this completely random but intriguing snippet. I pinned it to my cork board where I put things like this, my experiments and inspirational stuff. It started to collect a bit of dust before I really noticed it again.
A few months later I started working with more intent on designs using wire and rubber O-rings. The first snippet on my board caught my eye and well, long story short, here's what evolved:
So when you play, PLAY. Don't try to make "something". Be fearless, nothing is wrong or a mistake. Bead, take stitches out. Wrap, uncoil. Hammer, straighten. Be generous with your materials. Save everything and look at the bits and pieces often, because you never know when one thing will lead to another!
Beadalon Design Team Member