Breaking Out of a Creative Rut

When it comes to being creative, everyone seems to have his or her own process. The problem is that we often get stuck in a rut; we form this idea of what creativity is and how to attain it, and refuse to accept any other solutions. After a while, it’s no longer a creative process but a series of habits that lead to the same results over and over. Do you need to break free? Read on for some ideas that will get you thinking outside the box.

Let’s start with what many creative types have difficulty with: The pressure to come up with something original. Break away from the idea that you have to come up with something completely new and different from anything that has ever existed. With all of the media out there, you can drive yourself crazy searching for that one idea that no one else has thought of. Take a break from that ultimate search by finding an idea you really like and actually making it better.

Here’s another tough one: Don’t get emotionally attached to your ideas. Some ideas just won’t work, and you’ll have to either throw them out or shelve them indefinitely. Don’t be afraid to start over. Creative ideas are not actually babies; you aren’t a monster if you toss one in the trash.

When we work for big companies, we sometimes feel like we have to remove ourselves from the equation and show only the brand in our work. Don’t forget that you were hired for a reason, and don’t be afraid to let your personality reflect in your output. If your best friends see a commercial and can’t figure out if the idea came from you, then you’re selling yourself—and the brand—short. Go ahead and get personal with your work.

At the same time, you can’t always just stick to what has worked for you in the past. Sometimes, a new marketing campaign is going to be a bit of a gamble. Those, however, often have the greatest rewards when they succeed.