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The Season Starter: 6 ways to beat your creative block

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  • August 25, 2017

With what we in the Sunshine State call “season” just around the corner (it’s the time of year where all the vacationers and snowbirds return), we’re sunup to sundown creating new strategies and campaigns. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, polishing rough ideas into diamonds, sometimes the creative well needs a little replenishing. We’ve compiled a short list of our favorite go-to creative kickers useful for anyone in any industry.

1. Take a Walk (queue the Passion Pit song)
Sometimes the best idea is to step away from the desk and take a quick stroll. The great American writer Henry David Thoreau (the guy who lived in a shack by the lake for a couple years) liked walking so much he wrote a whole book about it.

“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least… sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Walking

Now, we may not have woods and fields (here, we have beaches and swamps—the latter I wouldn’t suggest for a saunter), nor the luxury of four hours for a casual stroll. But even a quick lap around the building complex is an excellent way to distance yourself from a project and return with a fresh perspective.

2. Flip through a Coffee Table Book
These wonders of inspiration should be more than an indicator of your sophistication. Keep one around, and when you’re hitting the creative wall, peruse through it for a few minutes. Find a picture you love and write a few sentences responding to how it makes you feel or what ideas it evokes.

Don’t have a book? Type your favorite artist, decorator, director, era, animal, fashion designer, architect – anything – into Google and add “coffee table book” and we’re sure you’ll find something. Still stumped? This one is on our wish list.

3. Watch Your Favorite Ad
Call me a millennial (cringe), but YouTube is a great place to jostle your mind into a new creative perspective. Watch your favorite ad (the one below, by Creator Super Star Casey Neistat, makes the mind explode with possibilities), promotional video or even one of our fun testimonial videos. If you’re not in a video mood, grab a visual magazine, or head over to Adweek and see what the world’s biggest brands are up to.

4. Go On Your Last (mental) Vacation
When things heat up at work, asking for a week off just isn’t gonna fly. Instead, take a couple minutes to take your mind on a little mental vacation. Recreate a moment from your last vacation. Maybe staring across a canal in Europe, or the moment the waiter handed you a cocktail on the beach. What do you notice that you didn’t before? Once you’ve lived the moment again, head back to your last project.

5. Put on Your Picasso
My go-to? Drawing squiggly arrows. My notebook is full of them. They live side-by-side with all my notes, working headlines and concept ideas in a perfect harmony. Draw a quick sketch of something on your desk or your favorite picture on your phone. Give it a shot and see where your mind wanders.

6. Take a Moment for Mindfulness
Stress is a major inhibitor to the creative process. In a recent article for Creative Review, Tanya Livesey writes, “It’s been scientifically proven that, under duress, the brain shuts down the critical functions that feed the creative process.”

When you’re in the ad business, timelines are tight, and expectations are high, but getting wrapped up in the stress makes the process take more time. Try a quick, 5-minute meditation. First time? We love what the team at Headspace is doing—the creator of the app showed up on Jimmy Fallon a few weeks ago.

NOW, GET TO WORK!
Once the recharge is over, it’s important to get right back to work before you lose your verve. So, what are you waiting for?