Let’s face it; being creative takes some serious work, dedication and a little bit on luck. A particular episode of Mad Men comes to mind, when thinking about creative block. Don Draper, an advertising executive in the 1960s, is tasked with creating a new branding campaign for Lucky Strike to combat recent medical reports proving cigarettes are poor for your health. Draper uses a variety of techniques in order to spark his creativity such as sleeping, drinking (which we don’t recommend) and combative research, but he finally secedes and is empty-handed for the creative presentation. It’s only after talking with the owners that he discovers a unique branding statement: “It’s toasted.”
The long and short of it is, while we can plan ahead by implementing a content marketing strategy, we don’t always have the luxury of scheduling and planning our creative inspiration.
Here are 3 helpful tips to refresh your creative approach:
1. Set and schedule a daily creative routine
Determine what time of day you are most engaged and productive. Perhaps you are more alert right away in the morning. Try getting into the office a half hour early and dedicate this time for creative brainstorming. Put your cell phone on silent. Don’t surf the Web or check your email, but simply jot down the first ideas that come to your head. For me, the act of physically writing something down helps me to formulate my ideas better (since I don’t have the capability to backspace or delete automatically). Once you get in the grove, you’ll be amazed at how many ideas you are capable of!
2. Be a sponge and absorb content
Most of our inspiration comes from our unconscious. When you quit a problem, your unconscious is still actively working to solve it. Exposing yourself to different types of content will actually help your brain solve and compartmentalize content for future use. While no one expects you to be an expert on nuclear physics, absorbing content outside of your comfort zone will ultimately make you a better writer, speaker and small business owner.
3. Remove yourself from the equation
Everyone gets creative block—even critically acclaimed authors. The trick is to have a back-up plan to restart your creative juices. Just like icing and stretching are key to relieving an injury, establishing a creative block playbook is essential for any content marketing strategy.
- Remove your temptations and distractions: If you can’t stay off Facebook or Twitter long enough to get a cohesive thought down, programs and apps like OmmWriter can actually block certain websites and create an entirely new writing experience.
- Change your location: I know the person at Barnes & Noble with their laptop might seem cliché, but finding a space (away from your home) where you feel comfortable is important. You want to be productive, so don’t head to a spot where you’re likely to run into friends.
- Get some exercise: I know I always feel like I can do anything after a good sweat session. Whether it’s going for a bike ride or practicing yoga, keeping a regular exercise regimen helps clear your head and boost creativity. Just be sure to always keep a mini-notepad and pen handy at all times!
If you ever come down with a case of creative block, don’t panic. Look at your assignments ahead of time and let your mind absorb the topic. Once you feel like you have a good understanding on how you want to formulate your thoughts, practice the three steps above to ensure your success.
Share your worst creative block stories and your method for working through it.