06 May How to Get the Creative Juices Flowing
Marketers often work within well-defined structures. There are brand guidelines to keep you within the limits, a creative brief to guide your project and maybe even a previous campaign to align with.
But every once in a while we get the opportunity to develop something from the ground up.
The chance at complete creative freedom and a fresh start brings with it excitement around writing something new, designing a logo for a new organization or ideating a new campaign.
But then it hits…the blinking cursor, the white canvas in Adobe InDesign… sometimes just getting started can be tough. If you’re suffering from the infamous designer’s or writer’s block, here are a few tips to help you get the creative juices flowing.
Rapid-fire idea generation.
Take a deep breath and start writing down, either physically with pen and paper or a whiteboard and marker, or in your digital notetaking space. However you capture the ideas, be sure to leave the censoring behind. There are no bad ideas—just let your thoughts flow and see where it takes you. While all ideas won’t be winners (or even feasible), getting them captured will help trigger new ideas along the way. Don’t forget to take a page from the competition. Do a few Google searches to see how others are talking about whatever it is you are working on, or look at similar spaces in other industries to see if there are any notable trends.
Collaborate—great minds think differently.
You’re likely no stranger to the phrase, “great minds think alike,” but we wholeheartedly believe, scratch that, we know great minds think differently. Bringing together people with different experiences, perspectives and worldviews leads to richer thinking and better ideas. If you are stuck in a rut, hop on a call and ask a teammate or friend for help. Consider getting a group of your co-workers together in a room to throw ideas onto a whiteboard. If timing is a challenge and you aren’t able to connect with everyone at the same time, try round-robin idea generation. Start a document with some parameters or direction included, post it in a shared location (such as Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox, etc.) and ask a group of people to jump in and add their ideas when they have a moment within a certain timeframe. When you come back to the document, you will have a fresh set of ideas to help get your creative juices flowing, and each participant still gets to collaborate by building off the other ideas in the document.
Change your view.
Another oft-used phrase is, “Change your perspective, change your life,” and is that ever true. We’re not going to get too philosophical over here, and we’ll stick to talking about how this rings true for getting over designer or writer’s block. Just like how the angle a photo is taken can drastically change how others perceive the subject of the photograph (i.e., taking a photo of your home from an angle that hides the piles of unfolded laundry and highlights the new seasonal décor you’ve just put out instead), the same is true for a new marketing assignment. Maybe your mind is stuck on all the things you CAN’T do with the marketing. Instead, take a moment to review and focus on the things you CAN do within the parameters of your assignment.
Another great way to stir up new ideas and get your creative juices flowing is change your physical perspective. It can be something as simple as moving from your workstation to a cozy corner chair, or even to a new location, such as the patio of a local café or restaurant. The new views, sounds and smells are sure to bring new ideas to mind.
Get your blood (and the ideas) pumping with movement.
When we move our bodies, more blood, oxygen and nutrients are sent to our brain and studies show it may even make you more creative. So, take a few minutes to get up and go for a walk, do some stretches, meditate or do yoga. You can even add movement to your brainstorming sessions by bringing a ball (or another soft object) to the meeting that you can toss from person to person as you share ideas.
Channel your inner child.
Play with kids’ items, such as finger paint, play dough, pipe cleaners, beads, etc.—the key is to engage your senses. Playing with things with your fingers can help bring the senses alive. Challenge yourself to close your eyes and talk about how an idea smells or sounds.
Beyond engaging your senses, try playing a board game. While board games have their rules, they also encourage players to expand their decision-making and problem-solving skills by approaching situations through the lens of a game.
There’s no single fix for solving a creativity block, but a combination of the ideas above is sure to infuse new thinking into your next ideation session or marketing project.
Need help ideating for your next writing or marketing project? Writing by Design can help keep your brainstorming sessions grounded in strategy and focused on goals. We love to help generate ideas and can work as an extension of your team to infuse fresh thinking for a special project. Request a quote today to jumpstart your next big idea.
Kayde Kempen is a senior account manager at Writing by Design. She has 9+ years of marketing communications experience and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Kayde has written hundreds of blog posts and marketing emails, both for Writing by Design and its clients, is the lead content writer for Writing by Design’s website/SEO clients, and assists with press releases, concept writing, script writing and more. Prior to joining the Writing by Design team in 2016, she was an associate marketing manager at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where she worked for five years and managed the University’s online presence. She managed UWO’s social media accounts, led nearly 90 website redesign projects, wrote for the University’s alumni magazine and news website, and wrote and managed a variety of print and digital marketing projects.