I’ve just completed my second week at Manchester inbound marketing agency Six & Flow, and it’s been great. I’m around a hard-working team using top spec equipment and software, working on some interesting projects. I’ve learnt the ropes in HubSpot (amongst other tools), and am really happy to be here - but who wants to read about how great things are?
When you’re one of those ‘creative’ types, colleagues come to you for ideas and solutions to their visual problems. In fact, your entire livelihood depends on you being able to churn out magical visualisations although no-one quite understands how you’ve produced them. But what if you have a deadline and can’t seem to pull anything out of the fog today?
I get days like these more often than I’d like. I’ve already had a couple at Six & Flow and I’ve only been here two weeks. So how do you grease those cogs and get the creative wheels turning again? Here are some things I’ve picked up along the way and put into practice more than once...
1. Know when to play
Perfectionism and design go hand in hand, but perfectionism can be damaging when it comes to actually getting off the starting block. Let your standards drop for a couple of hours and just get something sketched or even written out, no matter how bad it is.
You don’t even need to use these ideas in your client campaigns, just get SOMETHING done. If you’re lucky, this will snowball into something that’s usable, but the important thing is to give yourself a short break from the little design critic in the back of your head and get started.
2. Be curious.
Try and adopt a ‘beginner’s mindset’. Starting at Six & Flow, I’ve felt the pressure because I’m working with a bunch of marketing, design and development specialists who know what they’re talking about.
However, although they’re experts, everyone here knows that new ideas don’t come from a vacuum, so it’s important to keep learning things that aren’t related to your field. Read new books, watch old films, visit different places and this will all feed back into the way you come up with unique ideas.
3. Ignore the problem for a bit
Though it sounds a bit counter-intuitive to ignore your work when there’s a deadline approaching, sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to let yourself mull it over for a while.
Working at an inbound marketing agency, there’s no shortage of different projects to work on. I’ll usually switch up to a task that’s less mentally taxing or creative if I’m struggling, and most of the time I’ll come back to the original problem with a better plan of action.
4. Ask for help
It’s rare that you’ll be able to get your head around a difficult piece of work immediately. At this point, it’s best to speak to the people around you.
Everyone thinks slightly differently, and you can save yourself a headache just by asking if anyone has any better ideas. You’ll have something fresh to go off, and your team will feel good for being able to help.
5. Go to the pub
A study by the University of Graz in Austria found that alcohol consumption boosted subject test scores across a range of creative tasks. In one word association test, alcohol increased scores by around 40 per cent!
So if you’re suffering from writer’s block, why not get a pint, treat yourself.
Hopefully these tips will help you overcome any creative blocks that come your way. Alternatively, if you think you can benefit from the helping hand of a Manchester inbound marketing agency, get in touch.