I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity. Not just artistic creativity, but strategic creativity, and how I can be better in my job (or in marketing in general) to think outside the box and continually provide fresh, original and smart ideas to my projects.
This thought came to my head (sidenote, NAME THIS MOVIE: where do thoughts come from? I don’t know, they just appear!”)* one morning when I was slurping down my last bit of half-decaf coffee painfully wishing for more caffeine and more sugar, staring at my computer screen, and trying to determine how I could be smarter and better about a certain project. I had missed an opportunity and was beating myself up over it, pouting, looking something like this:
Too often I find myself behind the ball. Someone suggests something and I think “I probably should have thought about that,” or things don’t get done in the most reasonable timeline, or someone just has a better idea than me. I work very hard to be a strategic and creative person, but continuous creativity is tough! Especially in the marketing and PR world where you are constantly trying to outthink, outsmart and outdesign your competitor. I’m still learning and reworking my process everyday, so it’s a life-long learning curve.
So I started scouring for tips on how to refresh, recharge and be continuously creative. I found this article on Fast Company that offers some tips. Here are my favorites:
1. Stay connected to your world – I took this to mean your industry or your environment; keep your ear to the ground for trends, ideas and happenings around you that could trigger a bright moment of creativity
2. Be brave – this can mean for anything, whether it be speaking up in that big meeting, suggesting a different color for an ad, or deciding to make your own baby food – live courageously!
3. Look for inspiration in the unexpected – I like to read, and sometimes find nuggets of goodness in different places than marketing or PR trade books.
These are good tips, but, I think I want to add a few more to my own process to help refresh my brain when it’s on empty:
4. Take time – take time to look at what you’re working on and slowly pick it apart. Write down every stream of consciousness that comes to your head, make text graphics, word bubbles, thought clouds, whatever it takes to get it all on paper – and then start to make connections between what once was random, and may now be strategic.
5. Take more time – take a breather between big projects. Save some filing, desk work, or other mundane things between big thought sessions to give your brain a break.
6. Keep an inspiration board – Pinterest could be good for this, but I also like to cut out magazine ads, articles, clips, etc. of things that make me laugh, or ideas I wish I had thought of, or just art that is exciting to the eye. I think it helps give you more to look at than a computer screen.
7. Eat chocolate chip cookies – oh wait, that’s for my pregnancy survival list…
I know everyone has a different process, and we are all trying to be our best everyday. So any other ideas on how to refresh your strategic mind? I would love some more tips on how to keep a fresh eye on marketing strategy. I love to see how other people work through the fatigue and create more and more memorable and beautiful things.
*The movie is Empire Records for those of you who had no idea what I was talking about 🙂