Whether It’s Gone or You’re Looking for a Home Run Idea
Writer’s block, the yips, hittin’ a wall, brain freeze, idea drought, in a rut, flatlined, road closure, creative burnout — these are just a few of the terms society has coined for a simple part of human existence, feeling lost for a bit. We’ve all experienced it at some point or another. Whether you’re a professional athlete, a baker, an accountant, a designer, a filmmaker — we’ve all had a moment where we’ve lost the juice that keeps our brains moving in the industry. Even if we’re still doing our jobs and pumping out ideas, they may be missing that fresh, impactful kick (or home run) they need to be great.
Our employees are no exception, but especially our writers, designers, and creative directors. You see, coming up with fantastic, jaw-dropping, award-winning creative is a lot of pressure. Like a lot.
We sit and think, we stand and think, we drive our cars and think, take hikes and think, think, think, think all hours of the day, every day of the week because we want to come up with great ideas for our clients.
In the agency world, good ideas are the currency of success, and the ability to consistently foster and ignite creative thinking is paramount. Again, a lot of pressure.
Below are a few ways our creative team finds the juice they need to develop all the great ideas you see on our website.
1. Get Outside
We’re talkin’ shoes on, coat zipped, fresh air, numb fingers kind of outside. It can be as simple as a walk down the street. Every one of our creatives has a dog, so giving them some exercise is a good excuse to get out of your desk chair. 20% of the oxygen you breathe goes to your brain. The more fresh air you give it, the more clarity it will receive. Fresh air makes for optimal brain function — it’s true! Look it up! And go outside.
Getting outside could look like travel too. Maybe you need a day off and an afternoon at the summit of a mountain. We’re so close to the Rockies here in Denver, that it’s not uncommon to find our creatives-turned-Sasquatch romping around the bush on the weekends. Anything to be outside and away from the computer.
2. Consume Content
Any form of content might help spark an idea — books, movies, music, etc. Some of us like to keep a notebook next to us while we’re watching our shows late at night. We then jot down some quotes or patterns we see in the shows or movies to use as inspiration for a current project. You never know where your next great idea might come from.
Consuming content also lets your mind take a break for a while. As creatives, it can be hard for us to turn off the thinking, so diving into someone else’s story helps us shut off for a while and escape. Music can do the same thing. Try doubling it up: listen to music while you walk, it could be just the combo you need to keep thinking.
3. Do Something New
Sometimes trying something new can unlock a compartment in your brain you didn’t even know was there. You could try baking, scrapbooking, skateboarding, basketball, hiking, snowboarding — truly anything you’ve never had the time or desire to try before. You’ll find our creatives gathered together trying new things all the time. It’s important to give your brain a chance to think differently and take a break from what you do every day.
4. Try Another Creative Activity
This goes hand in hand with trying something new. A few of our creatives recently took up pottery classes. We have a natural knack for creating, so any creative activities are going to be fun and interesting for us. It’s still a new way to use our creative brain and could help spark some new ideas and keep us on our toes. By engaging in extracurricular creative activities, we are able to use our creativity for ourselves rather than our job. This ensures we stay excited in the creative space.
5. Read About Other Creative People
There will be many new creative minds in the world as years go on, and there continue to be, and there have also been many who came before us as well, and they’ve got a lot to share about creativity and in our case, advertising. Pick up a book one of these creatives wrote, listen to their lived experiences, and learn something. We spend a lot of our downtime learning from successful old advertising campaigns and agencies that have successful reputations. There are big names in every field of creativity, it’s worth studying, learning, and understanding the creative process as it was before us and how it has evolved.
You may also want to watch Ted Talks and listen to people explain the thought process behind their good ideas. Taking a masterclass taught by one of these creative minds will also give you an opportunity to learn from the best to do it in their craft.
6. Stream of Consciousness
Just write! Just draw! Whatever creative field you’re in, just put pen to paper and start spewing out anything that comes to mind. We call this a stream of consciousness, and sometimes it’s the best way to weed out the bad ideas and let the good ones find their way onto the paper.
This may sound crazy, but doing menial tasks might just be the reprieve your brain needs from a creative block. The repetition of wiping counters or vacuuming can be meditative. It’s like a massage for your brain, something simple, easy, and that you’ll be successful with. Feeling like you’re failing over and over again can often contribute to continued writer’s block or creative burnout, doing a task like cleaning, that you know you’ll be successful with, could just be the trophy you need.
By rest we mean get all of the recommended hours of sleep you need, do an activity that gives your brain a break, or maybe even take a nap. We recommend sleeping with a pad and pen by your bed, most of our creatives, and even many of our employees in other departments, do this. If you wake up from a dream in the middle of the night with an idea, write it down! Some of our greatest ideas can come from dreams.
9. Talk with a Friend
Even if that friend is a coworker, talk to them! Ideas can come from anywhere, so talk to everyone. Bounce ideas off of each other, talk out loud to your partner, whatever it takes. Sometimes keeping everything in your own head does more harm than good.
Okay, hear us out. Sometimes you just gotta let loose. Throw your head into a pillow and let it out. It may seem silly, but it can be a great release. When you’re stuck and you don’t have any good ideas, it feels like impending doom. It’s scary, it’s uncomfortable, and it can be extremely frustrating. Sometimes letting yourself have a little fit can make you feel worlds better. It also gets you up off your chair for a bit, a place that is so easy for us agency creatives to get stuck at.
The List Goes On
We could talk and talk and talk about all the different ways we try to reignite our creative thinking. It’s a constant game of trial and error (and sometimes a lot of screaming). But at the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. Are you a screamer? Would you sign up for a new creative hobby? Do you prefer focusing on good sleep? Whatever it is, try it out next time you find yourself in a slump, we sure do.
Take a look at some of the work we’ve done because of this list. And remember, good ideas can come from anywhere.
Oh, and give us a holler (or a scream) if anything on this list worked for you and you need some help executing your brilliant idea.