After more than two decades of technological evolution, creativity isn’t what it used to be.
I don’t mean that the pool of creative advertising talent is shrinking. I mean the way creative people go about creating is different. It’s more than exchanging typewriters for computers or art tables for graphic design programs; it’s a complete shift in the creative process.
It started when IBM introduced the first affordable desktop personal computer. With a monochrome screen, no hard drive, and an unbelievably slow microprocessor, it proved that a computer could be a practical office accessory.
As desktop units became more accepted in the workplace, other computer manufacturers began churning out armies of clones, with prices always falling and quality always rising.
After years of fearing new technology (remember all those “technology gone wrong” and “evil computers take over the world” movies?), at last it was okay to have a computer.
Trouble was, most people didn’t understand them or feel comfortable with them, since they were built by technophiles for left-brained people. Creative types just couldn’t relate to this and stuck to typewriters and X-ACTO knives.
Then in 1984, everything changed.
Are you a slacker? There are times when you should be.
If you make your living as a copywriter, or if you do any other type of creative work, you probably have moments when you feel burned out and creative ideas elude you.
You may compensate by working even harder, stubbornly pushing your brain to create more and more ideas, but finding that every idea is crap. Your creativity seems to evaporate.
The problem may be that you’re working too hard to be creative and need a lesson in the art of productive slacking. To explain, let me tell you a little story.
Are you creative or not?
Okay, that’s a trick question. If you fell for it, you’ve bought into the myth that you either have creativity or you don’t, as if it’s all or nothing. You’re either a creative genius or you’re a dolt.
The fact is, you are creative. Everyone is creative to some degree. The only question is how creative are you? It’s a sliding scale from a little to a lot.
After all, creativity isn’t something you’re born with. It’s not what you are as much as what you do. It’s a learned behavior and therefore can be controlled and improved.
Think of creativity like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. To increase your creativity, you simply need to act in creative ways and do what other creative people do. Not surprisingly, people recognized as creative tend to share common traits.
So are you a creative genius? Let’s find out.
To succeed as a copywriter, you have to wield substantial creativity.
Yes, yes, I know. There are a zillion rules and formulas that copywriters follow to write effective copy. And yes, you can make a living just writing the same copy over and over for different clients. I even know one copywriter (no I won’t say who it is) who has admitted to literally cutting and pasting copy from one project to another to get work done.
But most copywriters find that creativity is an essential tool for writing well. This is especially true today, because there are so many different media and so much innovation in advertising and marketing.
I’ve written about ways to boost your creativity. But today we’re going to talk about some of the roadblocks to creativity.
You see, I believe creativity is something you’re born with. But along the way, we pick up bad habits that block this creativity. And if you want to energize your creative powers, you have to first consider what might be holding you back.
Ready? This might be a little painful. Or enlightening. Or both.
Whether you’re a freelancer or employee, being a successful copywriter has a lot to do with your creativity. Creative thinking helps you solve problems, overcome obstacles, and find new and better ways to use your skills in a productive and financially rewarding way.
You don’t think you have creative abilities? Nonsense. Everyone is creative to some degree. The only difference between those we call “creative” and everyone else is that creative people use and develop their creative skills. Often this is not a conscious effort, but a natural result of their personality and upbringing.
So it’s not a matter of “becoming” creative. It’s simply a matter of “energizing” the creative powers you already have. To a great extent, this means replacing the bad habits that are holding you back with good habits that make you a more creative and productive thinker. Here are some suggestions: