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Keeping the Spark of Creativity Alive

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By Alexis Puebla
Brand Strategist

Though I majored in Communication Studies in college and have worked as a writer, marketing manager, and most recently—a Brand Strategist, I’ve always considered myself first and foremost: a creative. When I define that, my idea of what I do changes constantly. As most storytellers and creative people may understand, I’m often energized by the simplest of things such as reading a novel in my freetime, looking at an Instagram photo of a friend, or serving up a really great cup of coffee. I consider myself to be very easily inspired, but there are undoubtedly times when my fingers hit the keyboard and no words can come out. Whether it’s a blog post I’m working on or a social media campaign that I’m building, being in a marketing role and lacking creative inspiration can pose a pretty serious speedbump.

If you’re anything like me and find yourself racking your brain when your creative juices are feeling a drought, don’t stress. Step one in sparking a creative sprint is to relax, and step two is to follow the steps below:

Be observant

Like I said, I am very easily inspired. It doesn’t take much for me to get a new idea for a project, and sometimes I’ll find myself driving in the car trying to organize my thoughts in a way that keeps them at the tip of my mind so I can jot it down when I get home. However if you’re a normal person and aren’t thinking about taglines and blog post ideas while doing normal basic tasks, then don’t sweat it. Instead, keep your eyes wide open.

Let’s face it: being in a creative rut can be mentally exhausting. I’ve found that instead of turning inward to stress and worry, I’ve started looking outward by putting a strong emphasis on really noticing the things happening around me. Soak in your favorite podcast and grab onto the things that capture your attention. Pay attention to the signage in the grocery store and pick up on any catchy phrases that make you feel a certain way. Find the mood-altering, attention capturing things that you’re consuming and draw from them. Find words, colors, emotions, or ideas that bring you something valuable and then take that and run with it in a way that aligns with your own line of work.

You never know what grocery store advertisement could spark a brand new marketing campaign or custom mobile app, right?

Believe in yourself

Taking chances is something that makes a profession in a creative field so exciting. You’re able to assess risk and take a leap of faith with various projects, and I think that’s what drew me to want to work in digital marketing and branding. It can sometimes be uncomfortable to trust your gut feeling when it comes to original ideas, but that’s usually when the greatest outcomes are produced.

I am in the early stages of my career and so I often find myself stuck between two places: standing firm with my ideas feeling excited to share my suggestions and dissolving into the background, afraid to overstep. That being said, I’m learning how to be confident in my delivery of new ideas or exciting revelations as well as how to own my not-so-great ideas as well. At the end of the day, we're all just a work in progress.

Listen to yourself and trust your gut instinct. It’s important to let your mind explore in order to  create something truly wonderful, so believe in your ability to have an imagination as well as how to articulate it.

Enjoy the fun of failure

The first draft of anything very rarely makes it past the beginning development phases, so trust in the process. Sometimes it takes 10 awful ideas to stumble upon the 1 fabulous one that you end up running with so don’t rush the creative process. Consider failure as step one in the multi-faceted operation that is creating a new brand, story, product, or campaign.

Gretchen Rubin, psychologist and author of the #1 New York Times best selling book, The Happiness Project, commented on this idea of finding the beauty in failure. She said that often times we’re taught to re-cast our way of interpreting failure as something different, perhaps something intentional that will lead us to the figuring out how we got there and how we might arrive at the next step. She then challenged this idea though by stating, “I don’t want to pretend that I’m not failing. I want to embrace failure.”

Embracing your shortcomings can be a difficult thing to do, but it can also be transformational to your mind and your psyche. Trust in the process of figuring out new ways of doing things, learning new skills, and getting uncomfortable. Approach each new project with a fresh mindset and don’t be afraid to make a wrong turn or get a little frustrated. That’s all just a small part of having a creative mind and figuring out how to tailor it for truly amazing work.

So here’s to the creatives who can relate to the inconvenience of unoriginal ideas and the satisfying relief when you realize that it’s all just a part of the process.