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Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Kill a Creative Rut

 The other day I looked up from my iPhone to see my toddler riding the family dog. You would think that whatever I was reading was so captivating that I would fail to notice my son mounting our black lab. Sadly, I don’t remember what I was reading. In fact, every so often I find myself daydreaming WHILE reading - only to have to go back and reread. For me, this is called a ‘creative rut’. My brain is no longer absorbing; rather it’s on cruise control and no learning is taking place.

It’s all too easy to settle into a routine and become so comfortable that you don’t realize it could be negatively affecting your work. Scanning the same RSS feeds, scrolling through the usual social media suspects, and reading the same dailies can destroy inspiration and ingenuity. So, instead of feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, I closed my laptop, packed up my toddler, and went outside to do something outside of our comfy routine. We headed to the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park, San Diego. The garden displays almost 1,600 roses of more than 130 varieties on a three-acre site.

Throughout my stroll I stopped to literally “smell the roses”. I noticed the sights and sounds surrounding me. The sky was bright blue, the flowers were amazingly colorful, bees were buzzing, and the weather was hot! Experiencing the garden allowed me to take a break from my phone (except to snap a few pictures) and take notice of the environment around me.  Engaging in just one small gesture, like strolling through a garden, can reset your brain and perhaps produce your next extraordinary idea.  Here are three weapons that help to kill my creative ruts:

1.     Take a walk: Close your laptop and go outside. Even a little exercise helps to clear my mind and recharge the work battery.  

2.     Read a book or magazine that you wouldn’t typically read: Learning one new piece of information could trigger an idea that may help your business, client or friend.

3.     Go to a park and watch kids play: Watching my son smell the flowers, dig his fingernails into the dirt, and run around the garden made me think of how important it is to play with kids. He was using his imagination with no inhibitions. This is how we should approach our marketing efforts.
What do you do to kill or overcome your creative rut?

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