On my team, every good campaign begins with a fruitful brainstorm. Believe it or not, some of our most creative work all started with a couple of unpolished lines in a Google Doc.
But if you’ve ever participated in a brainstorm, you know that ideas flow much more freely on some days than others. After all, most of us aren’t endless founts of creativity, so it’s only natural that our creative juices need replenishing every now and then. And if you work in a field that requires you to wear your creativity cap to work, you might find these blocks particularly frustrating.
However, with the right frame of mind, you can overcome even the most discouraging of creative ruts. Read on to learn three foolproof tips I use to overcome brainstorming blocks.
Bad Ideas Are Good
Bad ideas are good in the sense that they’re a necessary part of the creative process. Or put more concretely, without bad ideas, we would never find our way to good ones. So, even if you’re not sold on an idea at first, I urge you to write it down and allow it to marinate in your mind for a while. Who knows? Maybe that idea will lead to a second one, and then a third that ultimately becomes the central topic of your next content campaign.
The Best Ideas Come When You Least Expect Them
One of the trickiest parts of brainstorming is that the creative side of our brain is not always in sync with our timelines. Or, as Bruce Garrabrandt more eloquently puts it: “Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.”
I encourage you to be open, attentive, and above all else, ready to think of new ideas both in and out of the office. Interestingly enough, some of my best ideas have stemmed from eavesdropping at coffee shops, listening to niche podcasts, perusing Twitter and Instagram in my free time, and perhaps most notably, paying attention to what those in my social circle are talking about, listening to, watching, reading, and doing.
So the next time you’re in a creative rut, try taking a walk, going out for a coffee, or meeting up with a friend – you’d be surprised how many ideas can flow from your simple, everyday rhythms.
The Question of Feasibility Has No Place in Your Brainstorm
Admiral Grace Hopper once said, “The most dangerous phrase in the English language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”
This quote is one of my favorites because it serves as a much-needed reminder of one of the most harmful lies that we’ve all been fed at one point or another: we can only do things the way they’ve been done before. And even if we disagree with this way of thinking on a surface-level, eliminating it from our thoughts and our brainstorms can prove to be far more difficult.
But some of our most successful campaigns were thought up by team members who decided to set feasibility aside in their brainstorms. From the ahead-of-the-curve, Disney-themed campaign we produced last year to the innovative new quiz campaign format we launched around the finale of one of this decade’s most popular tv shows, our team has learned that innovation happens when we simply refuse to put limits on ourselves.
At Go Fish Digital, some of our best ideas have been prefaced with team member comments like “I’m not sure how we would do this, but…” or “I don’t know if this is possible, but…” and we figure out the logistics of the idea post-brainstorm. So, I challenge you to do the same. Once all your ideas, both conventional and the unconventional, are out on the table, then, and only then, should you determine whether they’re possible.
At the end of the day, we all have our own techniques for overcoming brainstorming blocks – these are just three that I’ve found to be particularly effective. Whether I’m brainstorming for a personal project, a link-building campaign, or anything in between these, they never fail to kickstart the process.
What do you do to get over brainstorming blocks? How do you get your creative juices flowing again? Feel free to share. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!