Dear creatives, let’s all take a breath and smile, it’s all good and it’s all going to get better. I hope you know the nights you spend with a wine on your balcony thinking about that concept you have been working on for a client still counts as work. In fact it is sometimes some of the most valuable time spent. We’ve all had to accept that we can’t always be creative or in a state to create, and you can’t only be creative and ignore the other stuff. Execution details are important and can sink an otherwise sound project. I wish I could always be creative but I can’t and that’s how it is. Here are 4 things I have learned from working in marketing, creating for clients, developing projects with friends and in various roles over my career that I’ve noticed help me stay creative a deliver work and ideas with (at least some) consistency:

1. Pre Consider what needs to get done before the meeting: don’t show up to a creative meeting or work session without having thought about the piece of work and some potential angles or ideas that pertain to it. Even if you are working alone, before you sit down to tackle some work make some casual notes in your phone or on a pad while you wait for your lunch or on transit. It can make that first crack at new work that much more effective and spark something in your teammates. A good idea can act as a thought starter that expedites the journey to the idea that gets delivered.

2. Give a Sh*t about it: Chances are you do varied kinds of work and while you might not always get to work on projects that are super exciting for you, you have to stay positive and care. I don’t know where you get you inspiration from but I do know it is a limited resource, like attention or stamina. So with that in mind, find the things you care about on a given project and keep them in mind. Even if its because the clients team is a nice group and you like them. No one is saying you have to giggle like a child for every brand or project you work on, but it will help you produce better work if you stay positive and find ways to care even when a project drags or gets hard.

3. Work Scheduled and Unscheduled: You’ve made it this far and so you know it takes straight hours and hours to come up with and idea and develop that idea into deliverables. I make sure every project gets some unbridled creative time where I play with the ideas and concepts outside of the “serious” work time. Make fun of you ideas, poke holes joke around it could spark something. Doesn’t matter if you are designing a logo for a client who has already pretty much made up their mind about which design they want. You might inspire them with a good idea backed by good reasons and story that came out of stepping back and playing with the concepts and ideas. Even if they don’t go with the new idea they will know you’re switched on and switched on people are the best.

4. Focus on the work you like: Every job has elements of stuff you don’t like, clients are sometimes not the way they appear and things can drag on through revisions, you know this all,  it’s nothing new. But through it all, after every project, try to remember and even keep a list of what you liked best. Keep it in mind and you will naturally seek it out. Niched out creatives make some of the most impactful work and they do because they love it.  

Thanks for reading my list of stuff to keep in mind. There is propensity for people to feel undervalued or under skilled and this is particularly true in and around creative fields. Remember your work has huge value and even though you might not be designing the next Tesla yet, that’s the fun of creative work – you have lots of opportunity to make it powerful and impactful regardless of the product, usually….

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