Posted At: March 19, 2013 6:15 P.M.
by Caroline Murray
In the field of communications, constant creativity is a part of basic job duties. Whether it is coming up with a new slogan, designing a flier or writing the weekly blog post, one thing’s for certain – just showing up to work never cuts it. Something thoughtful and interesting must be brought to the table every day to a variety of media.
Recently, I’ve been suffering from creativity blocks. Stress has taken over my usually wandering mind. After doing some Web browsing (which mostly resulted from being stuck), I’ve realized I’m thinking too hard.
I need to act more like a kid.
The thing about kids is when they have an idea for something, they do it. If they have something to say, they say it. If they think they have a good story to tell, they tell it. They follow their instincts, and do things that make sense to them.
Take this 12-year-old who solved the issue of lions eating livestock in his Kenyan town. He had simple, logical ideas, and he tried them. When they didn’t work, he tried something else until he found the solution. As grown-ups, maybe we worry too much about making sure something is a “good” idea before we let it out of our brain. While our ideas probably shouldn’t be tested in the same way as the mechanisms used to scare away lions, running our ideas by our co-workers sooner might make everyone in the office a little more creative.
Remember the beauty of simplicity.
And then there is this awesome parable from 6-year-old Asa. Once again, simplicity is the name of the game. A simple story about a pair of friends going to the pool so eloquently teaches us about moving on and letting go, all without any fancy bells and whistles. When communicating the message of our brands, maybe sometimes we try too hard. We often worry so much about making something “different” and “engaging,” when sometimes all we need to tell is the truth. Sometimes the most beautiful stories are the most organic, like the ones kids tell.
Don’t give up.
Persistence is another trait we could learn from kids. Nine-year-old Caine had an idea to build an arcade out of cardboard boxes, so he did it. He created a business plan complete with marketing strategies. Even when customers were few and far between, he knew his idea was cool so he stuck with it. It is easy for us as communicators to shy away from something because it doesn’t seem like it will work, maybe because it is far-fetched or because the brand doesn’t have a huge following. Of course there are times when we must accept defeat, but there are times when we should take leaps of faith as well.
As public relations practitioners, we spend all our time considering the best things to say and the best ways to say them. And getting that right is why we get paid. In times of creative struggle, however, maybe the best thing to do is step back and ask ourselves what we would do if we were in the second grade. It is so easy to get bogged down by overflowing inboxes and endless to-do lists, but allowing ourselves to forget about it all lets our mind play.
Rediscovering the child who wrote a whole saga of short stories titled “Bill the Leprechaun” for fun helps me get back to the raw creativity that led me to this industry in the first place. How do you get back to your inner child?