An agency like Me:Mo lives and breathes through the creativity of the people who work here, it is the one resource which we can never exist without and one of the least biddable – it’s easier to force a steel door open than force an idea. It’s not lightning in a bottle or an artistic temperament or any of those terms which in a lot of ways seek to dramatise or cheapen the process of creating original ideas and material – it’s something simpler than that. It’s the ability to take the world around you and twist it ever so slightly so that you find a different angle or way of looking which gives people a better view of what you want to show them.
Public relations, digital marketing, social media creation and management – every facet of what we do needs to be, has to be, shot through with a creative mindset in order to function in the marketplace of 2016 and onwards. It’s not an infinite resource though and the worst moment for a tired creative is the sickening realisation that for that instant the ideas have dried up and what was the easiest thing in the world to them a few hours ago is now Everest with no oxygen, a desert trek with no water in sight, a blank page and a winking cursor casting damning judgement on a sudden lack of ideas.
Creative block is a part of the business – no-one is 100% all the time – but with just a few mechanisms a little block can be worked through before it becomes a big one. They differ from person to person and no one is a winner on its own but we’ve listed a few which, having asked around the office, help keep our team firing.
Great ideas can come in a rush but when they’re trickling the worst thing is to stare at the screen or the page until your eyes feel like sandpaper. By taking a moment, stepping away, looking around, distracting yourself, you can remove a blockage more certainly. When all about you are losing their heads, give yourself a chance to keep yours.
If you think you have all the answers you are either the most extraordinary individual who ever lived or just a tiny bit deluded. We’ll let you weigh up the options on that one. In all seriousness though, colleagues, friends, experts, Mr Google – all are invaluable resources but you only get out what you put in. By asking questions you find more and better questions and through those, if you’re lucky, maybe something like an answer.
Feed Your Brain
Like the above, a mind which doesn’t take in new ideas will starve and wither away. From the worthiest book to the trashiest TV show, bathing in the ideas, tropes and chatter of others is a way to see the world differently, to walk in other shoes and to take paths you would never have travelled alone. If you can’t take in, manipulate and evaluate the ideas of others then the chances are you’ll not be much cop at creating and evaluating your own, and then you’re in trouble.
Remix, Reinvent, Reanimate
There are a fair few quotes out there regarding what the good and the great artists do but most important is that whatever you do as a writer, film maker, designer, editor, marketeer or any one of the myriad jobs in this industry, has probably been done before and done well. Nothing new under the sun is true but the new way of applying it is always out there. Take the examples of work which you love and use them as inspiration – remix your favourite tune, disrupt and subvert an old trope, find the new in the old and make it sing for you. It’s a way of paying homage but also of spinning new and shining cloth from dull, tired wool.
Remember to Play
Work is work is work – it’s hard and no-one else can do it but you and there’s a deadline coming and… You’re no good to it as a creative if you’ve forgotten how to play. Above all and in many ways taking in everything we’ve just said, if you forget how to play then you are lost. Do you remember that first time you picked something up as a small child and turned it over in your hands, then whacked it on the floor or threw it away, only to clap your hands in joy as it bounced? Do you remember the first time you gave those pebbles and toy cars and dolls names and personalities and you told a story with them – making a narrative from the rawest materials imaginable? That’s what you have to keep. Play. Make ridiculous things and serious thing – things for no reason and things for the most important reason of all – because you can. When you’ve got that, no brief can ever floor you.
All of these methods are subjective and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another but hey, you’re a creative, you’ll figure it out…