Creative Thinking 101

by Michelle Salater on January 7, 2013

A blank Word document glares at you and it’s already 2 in the morning. That blinking cursor has hounded you all day as you compose and delete sentence after sentence.

You think you’re starting to lose your touch as you try to will yourself one measly ounce of creative thought.

But still, the white screen defeats you.

Welcome to a day in the life of writer’s block, the unspeakable scourge among those brave copywriters who write for a living. Take comfort knowing writer’s block doesn’t have to stand in the way of good copy—you simply have to get yourself past the jamb.

Here are tried-and-true ways to overcome mental roadblocks and get your creativity flowing again:

Stop trying to find the “right” answer. When it comes to evoking a mood or a feeling, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. Powerful writing takes many different forms and evolves almost as soon the words hit the page. If you find yourself stuck, try reframing the issue in several different ways in order to prompt different answers. Ask questions and try to push yourself in new directions to see what emerges.

Logical thinking is for the birds. True,critical thinking skills based on logic are one of our main strengths in evaluating a creative idea, but it’s often the reason creative thoughts stall in the first place.Escape the constraints of your own logical mind by thinking metaphorically. This way of thinking lets you articulate thoughts that seems abstract or perpetually trapped in the ether of feeling.

Break the rules. As with logical thinking, creativity is stunted by our human instinct to fall in line.But when you start viewing creative thinking as a destructive force—one that tears through the everyday and reveals something fresh and compelling—it frees you up to obliterate “safe” thinking.

Play, play, play. Allowing your mind to be at play is perhaps the most effective way to stimulate creative thinking. Let your thoughts run amok without fretting over how this time is contributing to your work. You’ve heard the expression “work hard and play hard.” For a creative thinker, these are one in the same.

Remember the Internet makes you an expert in any field. Don’t let your lack of expertise get in the way of writing that incredible marketing content article or lifestyle piece. When in doubt, do a little research or hit the Web. You’ll be surprised how quickly the associations begin to form once you acquire more in-depth information about a topic.

If feels so good to be wrong. Failure is fodder for the writer’s soul. Sure, we hate being wrong, and yet mistakes often teach us the most.Don’t let fear of making a mistake keep you from making a leap or experimenting—you never know which thought will be the key to true innovation.

Be brazenly confident in your creativity. One of the qualities that makes humans such dynamic creatures is that every one of us has the capacity for limitless creativity. But it’s those people who hone their creativity and nurture their instincts for invention that find success. Take comfort in your own creative prowess and stop telling yourself you aren’t imaginative and insightful. The best thing you can do to defeat writer’s block is to take a moment to appreciate you have your complex, messy, beautiful mind to rely on. You’ll be surprised what a little boost of confidence can do for your word miles.

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