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Still No Eye Deer (or things to do when your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you)

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Do you struggle to come up with ideas? Almost everyone experiences the feeling of being "stuck" from time to time, but how do you get yourself unstuck?

Hannah explores various types of creative sticking points, and share tips on how to overcome them.

Published in: Marketing
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Still No Eye Deer (or things to do when your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you)

  1. 1. still no eye deer (things to do when your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you) Hannah Smith Worderist.com
  2. 2. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com hello there!
  3. 3. I’ve previously worked at both Distilled & Verve Search, on teams that collectively secured over 22,000 pieces of linked coverage
  4. 4. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com creating things like this:
  5. 5. A photo series in collaboration with people from 27 countries “A fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people behind the camera, and how ways of life vary around the world.” ~Ana Swanson, Washington Post
  6. 6. A series of illustrations of the Modernist architecture we’ve lost “A lovely tribute to lost mid-century gems” ~Christopher Zara, Fast Company
  7. 7. What some of today’s most successful people would tell their younger selves “An inspirational project” ~ Anna Papachristos, APLUS
  8. 8. now I’m a creative content consultant :) you can find out more about me at worderist.com
  9. 9. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com since going out on my own last year, creative block is something I’ve been asked about a lot
  10. 10. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com hence my talk today...
  11. 11. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com first up, what is creative block?
  12. 12. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com when you have no ideas AND no idea what to do next
  13. 13. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but what’s the opposite of creative block?
  14. 14. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com when you’re in “flow”
  15. 15. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com what’s “flow”?
  16. 16. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you know what to do AND you know how to do it AND you know you’re doing it well
  17. 17. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you’re fully-immersed AND you’re enjoying what you’re doing
  18. 18. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com when work feels like play AND ideas come easily to you (being in “flow”doesn’t feel like work, but you’re working really hard)
  19. 19. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com creative block when you have no ideas AND no idea what to do next “flow” when work feels like play AND ideas come easily to you how do you get from creative block to “flow”?
  20. 20. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com so, here’s the thing...
  21. 21. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com we often talk about creative block as if it’s a specific, singular concrete problem
  22. 22. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but, I think that the truth is...
  23. 23. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com creative block is a catch-all term for a whole bunch of very different problems
  24. 24. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com the net result of all those problems is the same
  25. 25. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you feel hopelessly stuck
  26. 26. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but if you want to unstick yourself & get in “flow”
  27. 27. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you need to figure out what sort of creative block you’re suffering from
  28. 28. you don’t know what to do AND/OR you don’t know how to do it AND/OR you think you’re “bad” at this AND/OR you’re constantly interrupted AND/OR you’re not enjoying what you’re doing is one (or more) of these things the problem?
  29. 29. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com let’s deal with them each in turn
  30. 30. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #1 do you know what to do?
  31. 31. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com without a clear goal it can be tough to figure out where to begin
  32. 32. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I often hear stuff like this:
  33. 33. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “constraints FUEL creativity!”
  34. 34. this is sort of true… but it’s not quite the full story...
  35. 35. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com what fuels creativity is striking a balance between freedom & constraint
  36. 36. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com too many constraints limit possibilities - there’s no space to play
  37. 37. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com too much freedom makes it hard to figure out where to start
  38. 38. we need to strike a balance
  39. 39. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com i) in some instances the creative brief is the problem
  40. 40. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com a brief with too many constraints can cause problems
  41. 41. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas about motorised window blinds”
  42. 42. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com that *might* be possible - but it’s an incredibly restrictive brief
  43. 43. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com conversely, the absence of a brief, or an overly open brief can cause creative blocks
  44. 44. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “this client is open to anything, you have complete creative freedom, WOOP!”
  45. 45. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com *something inside me dies*
  46. 46. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it’s actually very difficult to come up with workable ideas about “anything”
  47. 47. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com because where on earth do you start?
  48. 48. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com what should a creative brief contain?
  49. 49. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com as a minimum, I think you need: - 5-10 sites where the client or company want coverage - a list of topics they absolutely won’t entertain
  50. 50. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com stuff that’s nice to have: - topics they are keen to explore* - a bit about who they’re seeking to attract** - some examples of content they wish they’d made *this often goes awry - instead of topics, I frequently see product or service offerings listed here **this can also be problematic; lots of companies target very broad audiences - sometimes this is helpful, but often it’s not
  51. 51. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com so, creative briefs can cause blocks
  52. 52. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but sometimes the block is actually in your head...
  53. 53. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com ii) mindset problems
  54. 54. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes we see limits that aren’t really there…
  55. 55. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com in the past I’ve been asked to:
  56. 56. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas for a company that sells contact lenses”
  57. 57. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas for a vpn provider”
  58. 58. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas for a mattress review company”
  59. 59. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com on dark days, when I see only limits, this is what I hear:
  60. 60. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas about contact lenses”
  61. 61. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas about vpns”
  62. 62. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas about mattress reviews”
  63. 63. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but that’s not actually what I’ve been asked to do
  64. 64. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & thinking like that limits me unnecessarily
  65. 65. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas for a company that sells contact lenses”
  66. 66. contact lenses sight vision optical illusions spot the ‘x’ puzzles seeing jesus on a slice of toast change blindness colour blindness how do people see the world? optics think ‘bigger’
  67. 67. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas for a vpn provider”
  68. 68. privacy / data security to bypass censorship to access content (TV / music / gaming) to get the best deals (money saving) what do people use VPNs for? rather than thinking about the product or service, think about why people use it
  69. 69. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “come up with creative ideas for a mattress review company”
  70. 70. mattress bed sex sleep conditions sleep problems what happens if you don’t get enough sleep? dreams / nightmares babies / children / parents relationships sleep snoring pets hygiene bed bugs allergies what’s connected to the product or service?
  71. 71. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com conversely...
  72. 72. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes the problem for me, is not that I’m seeing only limits
  73. 73. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com the problem is I have too much freedom
  74. 74. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com some of my clients have been open to creating content around a huge array of topics:
  75. 75. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I’ve had travel clients which are cool with creating content around: history, culture, language, sport, food, drink, books, movies, TV & more
  76. 76. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes I find myself flitting from one topic to another, to another, to another, to another, to another...
  77. 77. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but not actually getting any concrete ideas down
  78. 78. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com the range of possibilities cause me to lack focus
  79. 79. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com so I set my own constraints & focus on just one topic area (I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes - if I find myself thinking about another topic I’ll jot down a quick note, but I won’t allow myself to disappear down an unrelated rabbit hole during that time period)
  80. 80. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com constraints do NOT fuel creativity
  81. 81. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but neither does unlimited freedom
  82. 82. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com what fuels creativity is striking a balance between freedom & constraint
  83. 83. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “You have to set up the narrow parameters that you work in, and then within those, give yourself just enough room to be free and play.” ~ Trey Speegle, mixed-media artist
  84. 84. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com some of this stuff can be solved for with a balanced brief
  85. 85. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but some of this stuff you have to solve yourself by altering either your mindset, or your approach
  86. 86. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #2 do you know how to do it?
  87. 87. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com there are a bunch of myths about creativity
  88. 88. many people believe that ideas just come to you
  89. 89. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com creativity is not the ability to conjure ideas out of thin air
  90. 90. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it’s part process & part practice
  91. 91. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I think it’s really important to figure out a creative process that works for you
  92. 92. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & then continually practice, and refine that process
  93. 93. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I can’t tell you what will work for you
  94. 94. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but I can share what works for me right now (through practice my process has evolved over time, and I fully expect it to further evolve in the future)
  95. 95. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com for me, it’s a 3 stage process
  96. 96. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com inspiration, generation, & validation
  97. 97. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com inspiration what’s out there? what excites me? what sparks my curiosity?
  98. 98. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com Specific to the client or company sector… - What are journalists are writing about? - Why are they writing that stuff? - What seems to be shared a lot? - Why is that being shared? - What’s resonating? - What are competitors doing? - What seems to be working? - Why is that working? - Data sources - What’s publicly available?
  99. 99. buzzsumo, ahrefs, pinterest, google
  100. 100. I’ll also look at my own swipe file...
  101. 101. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com generation (or making connections)
  102. 102. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com Specific to the client or company sector… - What can we do which will feed into what journalists are writing about? - What could we do around the most resonant topics? - Is there something a competitor has done which we could do better? - Or do differently? - Is there anything we could do with a public data source? - Is there a way we could get data that isn’t readily available right now?
  103. 103. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com Broader stuff… - Is there a topic which resonates with me, which I could explore within this space? - Is there something that’s been created in a totally unrelated field which I could apply here?
  104. 104. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com validation is this possible? does this make sense? what’s new or different?
  105. 105. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com Specific to an idea I’ve generated… - Is this possible? - Has this been done before? - What’s new or different? - What evidence do I have that this will resonate? - Is this right for the client or company? - Is this on-brief?
  106. 106. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but that process isn’t always strictly linear
  107. 107. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes I jump quickly back and forth between inspiration & generation
  108. 108. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes I’ll jump from inspiration to generation to validation for a single idea
  109. 109. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com other times I’ll just seek inspiration & leave generation for another day
  110. 110. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes I’ll generate 20 ideas before validating anything
  111. 111. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes, the process of generation will lead me to seek further inspiration
  112. 112. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes when I’m validating one idea, it’ll spark a totally new one
  113. 113. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I need to let myself play in each of these spaces in whatever capacity seems to be working for me that day
  114. 114. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I can jump around however I want
  115. 115. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but I still need to be mindful of potential blocks
  116. 116. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com too much inspiration: I can get overwhelmed, unfocused & ultimately blocked
  117. 117. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com generation without inspiration often leads to a block (because there’s not enough there for me to make connections)
  118. 118. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com validation when I’m in the wrong mindset can lead to blocks (I reject all of my ideas)
  119. 119. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com having a process won’t solve all your problems
  120. 120. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but it helps
  121. 121. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & in my experience following a process yields more reliable results than sitting around trying to conjure ideas out of thin air
  122. 122. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #3 do you think you’re “bad” at this?
  123. 123. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com in this industry, we share our most successful content pieces
  124. 124. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com the trouble is, because we only share our successes we are inadvertently presenting a skewed version of reality
  125. 125. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you only see other people’s ‘good’ ideas
  126. 126. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com their ‘bad’ ideas are invisible (partly because they’re not shared, but mainly because they don’t get coverage)
  127. 127. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com as a result, I hear stuff like this a lot:
  128. 128. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com people tell me that when they compare their own work to that of others, they feel like they’re coming up short... that other people are ‘better’ at this than they are
  129. 129. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it’s important to remember that you are not comparing yourself or your work to reality
  130. 130. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you are comparing your whole body of work (i.e. all the successes and failures) to only the most successful work of others
  131. 131. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com the pieces I’ve shared are outliers: they probably represent less than 10% of the work I’ve done
  132. 132. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com more on this here: https://worderist.com/2019/09/09/skewing-reality/
  133. 133. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com nevertheless, if you do find yourself in a place like this (you’re thinking you’re ‘bad’ at this)
  134. 134. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #1 build yourself up
  135. 135. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com remind yourself of successful work you’ve done before
  136. 136. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com we have a tendency to remember failure & forget success
  137. 137. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com then...
  138. 138. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #2 spend 5 minutes coming up with the worst ideas you possibly can
  139. 139. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com can you flip them into something good?
  140. 140. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com or
  141. 141. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #3 do a creative exercise
  142. 142. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #4 are you being constantly interrupted?
  143. 143. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com constant interruptions break your “flow”
  144. 144. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com [when you’re interrupted] “...it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back to the task” ~Gloria Mark, Professor at the University of California
  145. 145. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com don’t allow yourself to be interrupted
  146. 146. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & don’t interrupt yourself
  147. 147. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com close your email
  148. 148. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com close your social media accounts
  149. 149. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com close slack (or whatever poisonous communication / project management tool you use)
  150. 150. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com disable all notifications
  151. 151. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com put your phone on flight mode
  152. 152. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com if you work somewhere where you’re constantly interrupted leave that space (I’m not suggesting you quit your job, but go work in a cafe, a library, from home - anywhere where you can limit those interruptions)
  153. 153. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #5 you’re not enjoying what you’re doing
  154. 154. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com this is a really tough one to unpick
  155. 155. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com here are some things I’ve struggled with:
  156. 156. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #1 are you working in a way that doesn’t work for you?
  157. 157. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com time
  158. 158. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com do you know how long it takes you to come up with a set of ideas?
  159. 159. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you really need to know
  160. 160. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com if you don’t know, you can’t schedule your time effectively
  161. 161. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com use toggl (or similar) to track your time over several rounds of ideation
  162. 162. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com figure out how long it typically takes you
  163. 163. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com over time, I’ve figured out that it takes me around 17 hours for each round of ideation
  164. 164. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com in 17 hours I can come up with 4-6 workable ideas
  165. 165. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes I’m faster, sometimes I’m slower
  166. 166. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but if I give myself less than 17 hours my output isn’t as good (that might mean fewer ideas, or lower quality ideas)
  167. 167. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com the other thing I’ve noticed, is that when I do the work seems to be important
  168. 168. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I do my best work between 6am - 9:30am
  169. 169. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com so if I’m coming up with a set of ideas I try to schedule that work over 5 days between 6am - 9:30am
  170. 170. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com space
  171. 171. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com your brain is amazing
  172. 172. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it goes on working without you realising it
  173. 173. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you might have experienced this yourself
  174. 174. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com an idea that seemingly comes to you out of nowhere
  175. 175. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com when you’re in the shower
  176. 176. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com or when you’re out for a walk
  177. 177. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com or cooking dinner
  178. 178. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you weren’t trying to come up with an idea
  179. 179. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com or even consciously thinking about it
  180. 180. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it just “appeared”
  181. 181. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I think you can game the system a little
  182. 182. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com when I do creative work like ideation in small bursts over five days
  183. 183. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I have way more of these instances when ideas “appear”
  184. 184. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com if I concentrate those 17 hours of work over just 2 days
  185. 185. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com most of the time, none of those ideas just “appear”
  186. 186. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I suspect it’s because I’m not giving myself enough space
  187. 187. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com try changing up your routine a little
  188. 188. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com see if more ideas just “appear”
  189. 189. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com solo vs team working
  190. 190. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I don’t play nicely with others
  191. 191. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I am a solitary person
  192. 192. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I do my best work alone
  193. 193. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com that’s not true for everyone - some people work best in team
  194. 194. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com to come up with ideas they need other people to bounce off
  195. 195. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it’s important to figure out not just when you do your best work, but how
  196. 196. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com possibly you’ll work best with a combination e.g. inspiration - on your own generation - with others
  197. 197. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com or inspiration - on your own generation - on your own validation - with others
  198. 198. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com again, I think it’s important to figure this stuff out so you can schedule your work appropriately
  199. 199. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but, maybe this isn’t the problem...
  200. 200. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #2 is pressure the problem?
  201. 201. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com coming up with creative ideas in a commercial environment is high pressure
  202. 202. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com there are deadlines
  203. 203. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com people are relying on you to deliver
  204. 204. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com your job, or other people’s jobs might actually be on the line
  205. 205. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com that is a really heavy load to carry
  206. 206. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I’m increasingly of the belief that my best work happens when I’m playing
  207. 207. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com for me, “flow” is not so much about work feeling like play
  208. 208. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “flow” happens only when I’m able to play
  209. 209. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com when I’m relaxed, open, & curious
  210. 210. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but it’s very difficult for me to feel relaxed, open, or curious when I feel under pressure
  211. 211. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I frequently find deadlines paralysing
  212. 212. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com as I approach a deadline, this often happens:
  213. 213. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I have no ideas AND no idea what to do next AND no time to do anything
  214. 214. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com my mind is stuck in an interminable loop...
  215. 215. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time…”
  216. 216. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I’m not able to think clearly, & play is the furthest thing from my mind
  217. 217. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & if I remain stuck in this mindset it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll come up with anything workable
  218. 218. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com so I try to flip my mindset
  219. 219. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com here’s some things I do:
  220. 220. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #1 sit with the feeling
  221. 221. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com someone once told me that a feeling lasts for a maximum of one minute, unless you feed it
  222. 222. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com stuff like this:
  223. 223. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com “there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time, there’s no time…”
  224. 224. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com feeds negative feelings
  225. 225. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com take a minute to sit with the negative feeling, but don’t feed it - just accept it
  226. 226. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com you may find it will quickly pass
  227. 227. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #2 write it out
  228. 228. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com give yourself two minutes to write down all of the things that will happen if you don’t deliver those ideas
  229. 229. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com now read those things back
  230. 230. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com if you’ve gone hard on this exercise & imagined the apocalypse ask yourself: is that really what’s going to happen?
  231. 231. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com probably not, right?
  232. 232. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com if your list is less than apocalyptic... hopefully it’ll give you some perspective
  233. 233. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com just a gentle reminder:
  234. 234. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com we’re not working in a life or death environment (even though it might feel like it sometimes)
  235. 235. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #3 go outside
  236. 236. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com get away from your desk & go outside for 10 minutes
  237. 237. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com sometimes I find just getting up and moving is enough to shake off a negative mindset like this
  238. 238. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com once you’ve done one (or more) of those things
  239. 239. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com force yourself to play
  240. 240. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com often I find a completely unrelated creative exercise works better (than a creative exercise directly related to whatever I’m working on)
  241. 241. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I find that spending a few minutes doing something like that often puts me back in “flow”
  242. 242. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com #3 are you feeling a more general sense of discontent?
  243. 243. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com is this work just not satisfying you in the way you thought it would?
  244. 244. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I can definitely relate
  245. 245. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com solution: make things just for you
  246. 246. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it took me a long time to realise that I needed to make things for myself
  247. 247. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com that having a creative job was not enough
  248. 248. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com client-work is often fulfilling
  249. 249. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but there are frequently compromises that have to be made
  250. 250. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & rarely is it the case that I get to make whatever I want
  251. 251. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com so now I make stuff just for me
  252. 252. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com this stuff is deliberately not a side-hustle
  253. 253. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it’s stuff that I’m extremely unlikely to be able to monetise effectively
  254. 254. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & that’s the point
  255. 255. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it’s an outlet that exists only for me
  256. 256. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I’d strongly encourage you to consider whether or not this is something you need too
  257. 257. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com it’s almost time to wrap this thing up...
  258. 258. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com next time you’re feeling blocked
  259. 259. you don’t know what to do AND/OR you don’t know how to do it AND/OR you think you’re “bad” at this AND/OR you’re constantly interrupted AND/OR you’re not enjoying what you’re doing ask yourself if one (or more) of these things is the problem:
  260. 260. internal blocks self-inflicted constraints (seeing limits which aren’t there) OR too many possibilities; not enough focus external blocks brief is too constrained OR brief is too open do you know what to do? constraints don’t fuel creativity; but neither does unbounded freedom... we need balance
  261. 261. inspiration what’s out there? what excites me? what sparks my curiosity? do you know how to do it? creativity is not the ability to conjure ideas out of thin air… it’s process & practice generation making connections validation is this possible? does this make sense? what’s new or different?
  262. 262. other people’s ‘bad’ ideas are invisible you are not comparing yourself or your work to reality do you think you’re ‘bad’ at this? remember: you only see other people’s ‘good’ ideas
  263. 263. shut down *all* interruptions close email, slack, social media, etc put your phone on flight mode work somewhere else if you need to are you constantly interrupted (or interrupting yourself)? when you’re interrupted, it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on track
  264. 264. are you trying to work in a way that doesn’t work for you? time space solo vs team work are you not enjoying what you’re doing? to do good creative work, you need to be in a good place is pressure the problem? remember: we’re not working in a life or death environment is your work not satisfying you in the way you thought it would? make things just for you
  265. 265. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com final thoughts
  266. 266. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I am definitely not at the point where I’m consistently in “flow”
  267. 267. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I have days when work feels like play & ideas come easily
  268. 268. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but I also have days when creative work feels like pushing water up a hill
  269. 269. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com an endless soul-crushing grind
  270. 270. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com even though I know what I need to do to get in “flow”
  271. 271. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I can’t always get there
  272. 272. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com but I think that something “good” is happening
  273. 273. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com even on those “bad” days
  274. 274. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com because it’s often the case that the following day...
  275. 275. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com when I review what I’ve done
  276. 276. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com I can see tonnes of possibilities
  277. 277. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com & a “good” day (where work feels like play & ideas come easily) often follows a “bad” one
  278. 278. good luck out there x
  279. 279. @hannah_bo_bannaWorderist.com thoughts, feelings, questions? AMA :) Hannah Smith Creative Content Consultant wanna hire me? drop me an email - hannah@worderist.com

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