Creative Block; not just for Creatives

You’re on a strict deadline. The clock is ticking. The document is open. You know what the right thing to do is but you don’t know how to go about it. So, you just sit there staring at the blinking cursor on the screen because you have hit a wall.

All my friends call it “The creative block”

A rather cliched beginning to an article that talks about creative block, isn’t it?

Since the initiation of the lockdown and WFH as the new norm, I’ve heard my creative partners complaining about how they were going through a creative block. They had no one to discuss & dis the ideas with. There was lack of inspiration.

I didn’t really understand this problem then, until one day when it took me 2 hours to make one PowerPoint slide.

I was trying hard to wrap my work as soon as possible so I could go back to my lame Ludo tournament with my cousins, but I just could not. I knew what I wanted from that slide; I knew all the details. But it just wouldn’t come out. When this exact same thing happened to me over the next two days, I knew it had hit me.

I was going through a creative block. And I am not even a creative writer!

Creative Block – Barriers to inspiration.

We always assume this problem only affects traditional artists or creatives. This is a problem that only story-tellers go through, whatever may be the medium of storytelling – A painting, a song, a novel, even an article. But never for traditional client servicing or account management folk.

Why?

As someone in the advertising industry, the one thing I have learned is – it is not only those with creative responsibilities who are expected to be creative. For someone on the strategic side of the business, as a brand custodian, the responsibility of bringing the idea to life lies on our shoulders as well.

As Mark Pollard Says; Account planning is art. Account planning is part-science and part-intuition. But it’s closer to art than it is to economics, closer to absurdism than logic, closer to comedy than business.

Be it finding an unusual or a common insight, to finding solutions to new operational problems every day – how am I to survive without being able to “think out of the box”?

As the one facing the client daily, the pressure of delivering on the go is real. Especially with the new Work from Home setting, lines have blurred, there are no definite work hours. You never know when to stop; can you even stop? Client requirements are never ending, so you have to amp up the output.

This can wear you down.

On a regular day, it would have been easier – you are around the team, working together helps. If not, you go grab a drink with your friends, take it easy one night and have a good conversation.

But, how do you do that when you are locked up at home? How do you go back from taking 2 hours to draft one slide to your normal self? How do you get back your A game?

I had to get creative and find a solution to this problem. [See what I did there? :p]

#1. The most effective trick – stop thinking about it. Take a break, play a game of PUBG, 2 hours later it will automatically flow

#2. Find Inspiration – Dedicate your day to research. Watch case studies, read blogs and articles. It will help you open up your mind. Give you perspective.

#3. Take on a smaller task, something you know you are good at. Every time I complete a task, the joy of striking it off from my to-do list gives me a sense of pleasure & accomplishment. When I strike 3-4 of them, it gives me confidence – makes me feel like I can rule the world. When you are feeling like a queen, thrashing one little ppt slide does not seem like a big problem

#4. Talk to people – a good conversation about the problem you’re trying to solve can make you feel lighter. The problem is only so big in your head.

Pro-tip: this trick also helps when you need to let off some steam, the logic remains the same.

#5. Cry – When nothing else helps, give your best friend a call & cry. It doesn’t help with the deck, but you’ve got yourself an excuse to catch up with them on an otherwise busy day. That’s good enough.

So, I guess I’m creative too. It just doesn’t reflect in my designation.

We all just need to figure ways around our own creative blocks to help open up our minds and give us a fresh perspective.