Your rut may be comfortable but it’s time to break free

publication date: Jun 28, 2012
Maybe you've used that great letter or brochure for years. It seems to work "just fine," and you don't think you need to say it any other way. Or maybe you know you need some new ideas but you just can't find them. Either way, copywriter Karen Zapp has some tips to fire up your creativity.

Don't be scared of ambiguity

You don't need to know exactly how your new piece is going to flow. You don't need to begin at the beginning. You don't need to judge whether or not a word or idea fits with everything else that might be in the same piece.

You just need to get started. Capture your ideas in words, allow yourself not to make sense, and just let it flow. The time for judgement and organization will come - but later.

Take a break

It's surprising how an unrelated, playful activity such as going for a walk, visiting the gym or enjoying a hobby can stimulate the creativity you need for work. You might have a brainstorm, or you might return to your desk refreshed and able to view your work differently. Either way, you'll be more creative.

Separate the tasks of writing and editing

Break the habit of evaluating and correcting your first draft as you write it. That's the reason it's called a "draft." Aiming right away for copy that's ready to be published is a sure way to paralyze your creativity. Just get the words down, on the screen or on paper. And if you normally compose at the computer, try writing the first draft by hand for a change.

After you have edited your first draft, set it aside and return to it a day or two later. That means, of course, that you can't start writing something just hours before you need the final product. "A relaxed mind and body nurture creativity," Zapp advises. "Stress and speed stifle it."

Read Karen Zapp's full post.

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