Finding the Ideas
Competition is fierce. Shoppers are demanding experiences. Dollars must work harder. The “store” is now a destination. There has never been a more challenging – or more invigorating – time for retail marketers. A new level of fearless creativity is required. To get the thoughts flowing, we offer the first in a short series of posts about creativity.
There’s a knot in the pit of my stomach. I can’t completely catch my breath, and there’s an airlock where my heart usually is.
I don’t think this is the end. I’m fine. Because this is a beginning.
A client has asked for some ideas. We’ve had a brainstorm session, and there has been a lot of discussion about overall direction. I’ve now gone off on my own – to a place I believe all creative thinkers have to visit.
Where I stand now is simply here – on the edge. At that place where there is nothing but remembered experience and blind faith that the ideas, the magic, will come. I hate this part. And I love this part.
This is the waiting time; where the thoughts sit in the back of your head, quiet and small. It is a place where ideas cook; where concepts float about, morph, connect and reconnect. Now your job is to let the magic happen. This is where it gets frightening – and thrilling.
I don’t have the luxury of hours. The client wants her stuff now. But I know enough to give a little time to this foggy, subconscious space. I have fed my mind with the facts, the mandates, the must-haves, the what-ifs. I now have to be uncomfortable for a little while; to let the thoughts steep, to see what recedes and what takes front and center. This is where good ideas are created — in this place where the clock ticks, but the thoughts wander.
I leave the keyboard, the notes, and even the room; I move from my writing space. The physical distance is necessary. I wander a bit; onto the sidewalk, down the block, into the park. I let the words and ideas come forward when they’re ready; I encourage them (after all, I do have a deadline), welcome them, appreciate them, capture them with my pen and bent note cards.
You can’t force good ideas. You certainly can’t force magic. But you can create opportunities for them to be born. And you can make that happen on your timetable. Simply imagine your challenge, collect your thoughts and put them in the background. Then wait. Wait, and listen with a critical ear.
Have faith. Be open. Get out. And breathe. Because you’ve made this magic happen before.
I feel better now. I have an idea.