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Larry Alton

In a Marketing Rut? Switch Things Up

Larry Alton
In a Marketing Rut? Switch Things Up

Few things are more frustrating than being paralyzed by a lack of creativity. While you often hear about writer’s block, creative block is a very real thing for many marketers. It’s that debilitating period of time when you can’t do anything but stare at your computer screen and hope for the best. And while most spells are temporary, it’s not uncommon for a block to last for days, or even weeks.  In these moments, your career may depend on your ability to push through and reclaim creativity.

Identify the Source 

There are a variety of different forms and causes of creative block. And while the result is almost always the same – a total lack of productivity – it’s helpful to understand the source. Let’s quickly review some of the most common sources: 

  • Mental block. Sometimes a creative rut is the result of a substantial mental block. You make assumptions regarding a certain project and thereby eliminate the potential for creative thought. You’re essentially placing blinders over your eyes and only focusing on what’s comfortable.
  • Personal problems. It’s not uncommon for personal problems to affect professional performance. As creative coach Mark McGuinness writes, “Creativity demands focus – and it’s hard to concentrate if you’re getting divorced/dealing with toddlers/battling an addiction/falling out with your best friend/grieving someone special/moving house/locked in a dispute with a neighbor.” When problems like these pile up, it’s almost impossible to innovate.
  • Psychological issues. Sometimes the issue can be psychological in nature. You’re afraid of creativity because you don’t have enough confidence to try something new or possibly fail. This is one of the most troubling sources of creative block, because it takes a lot of boldness and courage to overcome.

Tips and Strategies for Overcoming Creative Blocks

While it’s helpful to understand the source of your creative block, it’s even more helpful to hone tips and strategies for overcoming these blocks. If you frequently find yourself unable to consistently develop creative marketing ideas and campaigns, you may find the following points helpful: 

  • Reboot your brain. Sometimes you have to treat your brain like the sophisticated machine it is. Pushing your brain too hard for too long results in emotional and mental fatigue. In order to prevent this overuse, you need to regularly reboot your brain. There are dozens of ways to reboot, but it’s important that you find one that works for you. Everyone has a different method of recharging, so don’t assume what works for someone else will also work for you. Your coworker may recharge by enjoying a night out with friends, whereas your form of reenergizing may come from spending a quiet night alone.
  • Change your work environment. One strategy that works for a lot of people involves changing up the work environment. If you do 100 percent of your work in the same room day in and day out, you can’t expect to be at your creative peak all of the time. Sometimes you need to switch things up. Try reorganizing your room, heading to a coffee shop for a change of pace or working from home a couple mornings per week. Switching up your environment changes the way you think by surrounding your brain with new things.
  • Switch up daily habits and routines. While habits and routines are great for time management and productivity, too much structure can actually hurt your creativity. Your brain becomes conditioned to doing the same things at the same times and relies on memory, rather than creativity. Switch up your routines on a regular basis to stay fresh. 

Take Control of Your Career

It may seem like a trivial ordeal to those on the outside, but you know just how constricting and costly creative blocks can be. In order to maximize your productivity, and ultimately your earnings, it’s critical that you take control of your career and learn to eliminate creative blocks in your life.

Have you ever overcome a lack of creativity in your life as a marketer? Let us know how you overcame it in the comments.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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