Running a business requires constant creativity. You’re always having to come up with ideas: sales campaigns, interesting events, and attention grabbing messaging don’t just spontaneously appear out of the ether. This takes time, energy and effort- and sometimes, all three are in short supply. A creative slump is characterized by the inability to generate any fresh new ideas over an extended period of time, which can range from a few days to many months.
One way to get over a creative slump is to declare what writer Anne LaMott calls a “gathering day.” For an entire day, don’t worry about producing any ideas or concepts. Instead, focus on filling your mind up with new sights, sounds and experiences, particularly those relevant to your business. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, from shopping your competition, doing an image search based on the keywords important to your industry, or even just reading consumer magazines aimed at your customers. Spend time on social media as well, paying particular attention to the most influential voices: what conversations are they having.
The purpose of this exercise is to let your brain soak up a variety of voices. Listening to what they have to say may not immediately result in new creative concepts. Sometimes those ideas have to bounce around inside your head for a bit before you can see how they line up in a way that is relevant to your business. Everyone’s creative process is different, so there’s no official timeline: with trial and error, you’ll discover what works for you. Regular gathering days are part of many creative professionals’ regular routine, to keep the stream of fresh ideas running strong. Give it a try – and let us know what you think!