September 26, 2013
Writer’s block again? The feeling of being drained of all creative juices is not new to anyone. Routine has an incessant way of sticking us in a rut. Day in and day out, human nature curses us with a tendency to follow the same patterns. Roughly: wake up, eat, go to work, come home, eat, sleep. Insert various situations here and there. We even tend to eat the same types of food, or sit in the same chair at the same coffee shop at the same time of day. Simply put, we are creatures of habit. Don’t believe me? Ask your barista at Starbucks.
Sadly, these subconscious actions prove detrimental to the creative insight that we as PR professionals call upon (scream for) while crafting our message. With that in mind, here are several solutions for enhancing your creativity:
1) Empty your mind
Not that I mean forget everything and anything you have to do that day. Rather, empty your mind onto paper. To put it in simple terms, draft that all familiar to-do list. Let me guess, your inner PR personality just squealed for joy? Mine did, too. As fluid as the brain is, if you are thinking about the 87 billion things you need to get done, the creative calling may not readily come. Jot down what is tugging at your brain and come back to it later; this allows you to focus on the task at hand. Or, for the tech-savvy, download an app that allows you to take your to-do list on the go. My recommendations: Evernote or OneNote.
2) Color your perspective. Preferably with blues and greens.
Studies show that the perception of the colors green and blue actually facilitate creativity. So get up, stretch and take a leisurely stroll outdoors to take in the multitude of colors that are outside your window. Don’t have time to go outside? Adjust your screensaver or add some foliage to your desk.
3) Break up with habits
Not all of them! Just a few. It can be as simple as switching your good ol’ office chair for a different one. Or working remotely, say, at a cafe or at the beach (a perk of living in San Diego). Or perhaps its the habit of speaking to the same people day in and day out. Author and speaker Jim Rohn always said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Try striking up a conversation with a stranger. After all, we meet everyone for a reason, right?
4) Release those endorphins
There is something magical about exercise. The endorphins created after a workout have an astounding way of clearing your mind of all the fog that is preventing you from receiving the clarity you need. How do you think Albert Einstein created the theory of relativity? It came to him while he was riding his bicycle. Hence, I just want to remind you that exercise is a key component in achieving plain clarity.
5) Turn up the noise
Studies show that the right amount of background noise stimulates creativity; notably, the ambient hum of a coffee shop. And, behold, the discovery of all discoveries: the website Coffitivity brings the coffee shop to you!
6) Trust that you will be hit by lightning
Metaphorically speaking, of course. Inspiration comes whenever it pleases and at times it will come as a jolt. Trust that it will come but, more importantly, be ready for when it does. Have you downloaded those note-taking apps yet?
7) Brainstorm alone
It’s been said that brainstorming in a group setting can actually be counterproductive — that brainstorming in a group generates half the results of independent brainstorming. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Jared Sandberg, it’s better to brainstorm alone and then collaborate as a team, thereby preventing “coblabberation”.
8) Turn off your TV
It’s all too easy to turn on the television and get lost in the mindless obscenities of reality TV. Not all television is mind-numbingly awful, (ahem, Breaking Bad), but turning on a marathon of Keeping Up With The Kardashians or Jersey Shore may leave you with the IQ of a trash can. While an occasional guilty pleasure, for some (who’s judging?), it’s just by no means a way to fuel your creativity.
9) De-clutter your space
This stands as controversial issue, one that is, perhaps, based on preference. Some studies say that clutter promotes creativity. Personally, I have found that clutter is procrastination and anxiety disguised as one hot mess. Instead of working on a project, I’m doing my dishes or clearing off my coffee table. My creativity is put on hold.
10) Take it to the sheets
For those who are truly stuck in a creative hole, perhaps your answer is found in between your sheets. According to Big Think, “Scientists understand dreaming as an integral part of the creative process – it’s not just about the problems of everyday life, it’s about solving them”. So, if it hasn’t hit you yet, don’t fret. Just turn in and let your docile brain do the work for you.