How to Find Creative Inspiration

Posted July 21, 2021 by Alyssa Stahr

I’m going to let the faithful readers of our blog in on a little secret: We are a CREATIVE agency. I’m putting emphasis on the word “creative” for a reason. With that word, depending on the day, comes a bit of pressure and a lot of pride. I’ve been writing, brainstorming, dreaming and collaborating for more than 20 years (thankfully), and my job has evolved quite rapidly from my newswriting class in — ahem — I forget the year. 

What does the word “creative” really mean to me? It means I have to be witty, be serious, be what the client is looking for, be something that the client doesn’t yet know what it’s looking for but they’ll know it when they see it, be thoughtful of the audience, be completely original, be fresh and be authentic. Wow! What a tall order! Yet, we do it day in and day out. We pull ideas out of nowhere on a daily basis. And, given the amount of content and ideas I and the team (I hate the term “crank out,” it gives off a robotic air of carelessness) produce, there’s no time for stagnancy, writer’s block or uninventive moments. So, here are some moments and tips that help me be the creative professional that I am and still aspire to be. 

Through My Co-Workers

One of my favorite things to do is brainstorm. Get in a room together (or video chat) and solve the clients’ problem. No idea is too crazy in these sessions, because I’ve learned throughout the course of my career that the wild idea may lead to a more approachable one or one that branches off into what we create. 

Tip: If you’re leading the session, bring snacks and/or candy. Eyes immediately light up.

Through My Subconscious

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamed of an idea. Or been daydreaming at a stoplight and came up with the perfect headline or lede. Or even been in a movie or in a random spot and the lightbulb went off. Inspiration often comes when you’re not trying so hard, when you least expect it, and that’s when I’ve had some of my best ideas. 

Tip: Bring a notebook everywhere you go. Have it by your bed. If driving, pull over and write it down. If you’re like me and forget what you walked into the next room for, you won’t want to miss the inspirational moment when it strikes.

Through My Former Self

I’ve kept a lot of my writing, even from back in college when I had to — gasp — write things down on paper. Looking back, of course, the majority of it is terrible according to my superego (is a final draft ever really final in a writer’s eyes?) but I do have some good moments. Those provide inspiration for recreation and a nod back to who I was when I was younger, which sometimes can aid in a fresh perspective.

Tip: Keep your stuff. It can be difficult at some points, but it’s worth the time and effort to save your hard work. If nothing else, for a trip down memory lane.

Through The World’s Sensory Perception

We are a food and beverage agency, which honestly makes for a juxtaposition of creative pros and cons. The pros are that I always try to insert myself into the world of food. How does it taste, how does it feel, how does it smell? Usually when I go into that world, the writing becomes unique and fresh, yet familiar, because people can either love or hate a taste while at the same time bond over food. The con? Finding that fresh take on the same food or beverage similarly to how food and beverage manufacturers invent new spins on traditional favorites. 

Tip: Travel the world. Try new restaurants. Live in different places beyond a vacation. Experience every facet of life possible. With that, inspiration will come.

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