So what do you do when you’ve got an “idea blockage”? Here’s one ritual that works for me…
1) Submerse yourself in information pertaining to what you need. Research, read, re-read, hi-lite, talk to people about it (a second or third opinion is always helpful).
2) Then…drop it completely. Put it out of your thoughts. Go do something fun. Observe life. Rest your brain. Do something physical, get your blood pumping. Read some fiction or a magazine.
3) Have a snack. Something nutritious and with protein. Protein is good for the brain.
4) Go back over all your research and hi-lites, then start writing. If it’s ad copy you need, just start writing. If it’s an idea you need, start making a list. Either way, write what comes naturally…uninhibited. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Write from your heart.
5) During the writing process, you’ll write something that just clicks. You’ll get a Eureka! moment. It might be THE headline you’ve been searching for…or the BIG IDEA that’s been escaping you. For example, if I’m writing a 60-second radio spot for a client, I’ll usually find a great headline about halfway through my writing. I’ll move it to the top of the ad and move a few words and paragraphs around to make it “fit” and flow better.
6) When you feel that you’re done with your idea search or writing project, drop everything again. And sleep. Put it aside until the next day. Your subconcious will go to work for you all through the night. Your brain is busy organizing and clearing everything up. It’s amazing the ideas that you might wake up with in the middle of the night or in the morning.
7) Over the next day or so, re-read your ad copy or whatever you were working on. You’ll most likely find something that can be improved. Fix it, touch it up, and finish it.
This process of course can be a short one or a long one depending upon the size of the project. If I have a large project, this process might take a few weeks. If I’m just looking for the right headline for an ad…I might skip a few steps and be done in an hour or two. But if I’m working on something hard for about an hour, I can tell when my “mojo” begins to deplete. At that point, taking a rest or a break from the project is a good thing. Then, I can pick it back up refreshed and motivated.
You might like using a system similar to this when you need it. Or you might create your own that will also work. But whether you’re writing or brainstorming…PRACTICE makes you better. It won’t be easy for you immediately. I’ve been writing almost every day for 7 years, and I’m still learning and improving.