Do you sometimes find yourself stuck for ideas? I know I do. Whether it’s coming up with a headline for a piece of marketing material, finding a topic to write about on this blog or looking for engaging ways to deliver a training session I sometimes find myself in a creative blind spot.
Take some time out
Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to walk away and wait for the creative juices to flow. Space allows the subconscious to develop potential solutions. Tackling another task can be a catalyst for ideas, I’ve written many a blog prompted by something I’ve experienced in the supermarket or witnessed on the road. I always have a camera and a notebook in my bag so I can capture the idea before it’s lost (though one has to be careful about taking photographs without permission).
Try some brainstormng
I find bouncing ideas around with other people can be really inspiring and will often generate ideas I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. ‘But I work by myself’ I hear you say! Yes, so do I for much of the time, but that’s where our networks can assist. Reaching out via Twitter or Facebook can produce a quick response. Meeting an associate for a coffee or ringing a friend can also help.
The benefits of a Swipe File
However we don’t always have the luxury of time. When a deadline is imminent we need to find an idea fast and that’s where a swipe file or ideas book really comes into its own. A swipe file is a collection of ideas that work and a source of inspiration. Although, as a trainer I also have a collection of mistakes to avoid!
Most people in the copywriting and advertising industries have swipe files but they are not exclusive to those professions. Marketers keep copies of advertisements that work; headlines that capture the imagination; lists of bullet points that persuade; clever slogans and lots more.
You probably have a swipe file of some sort even if you don’t call it that. If you have a Pinterest account you will have some inspirational pictures. If you’ve kept some magazine cuttings to inspire your next interior design project you have a swipe file. If you stuff things into a drawer because they might be useful you have a kind of swipe file.
Where do you keep yours?
It really doesn’t matter where you keep your files, I have some folders on my computer for blog ideas, training resources, headlines, slogans etc. I also have a Pinterest account, Evernote and Microsoft Notes files for different projects as well as folders bulging with print fliers, news releases etc. I probably should take some time to organise them more methodically but then I might miss the most useful idea.
Where do you get your creative ideas? Do you have some tips that you could share here? I’d love to hear.
I’ll be sharing some of the contents in my swipe files in future posts so why not check back here on Monday and Thursday mornings to see what further ideas I’ve had?