Just when you thought I had run out of quotes, I found some more. I tend to come across these every week from a variety of different sources, some of which are quite surprising as are the quotes. In any case, enjoy, and don’t be surprised when you’re surprised.
There are two kinds of men who don’t amount to much: those who can’t do what they are told and those who can do nothing else. Cyrus H. K. Curtis, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.Bruce Barton, Advertising Hall of Fame
Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it at the bud. Alex Osborn, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions, it rarely moves anyone.Fairfax M. Cone, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message.William Bernbach, Advertising Hall of Fame
Greetings and good day to ‘ya! Here’s your respite into the world of famous and sometimes infamous quotes from a variety of personalities. Any one of these could prove motivation for that ad you’re working on, tweak your imagination, inspire you or just plain bring a smile to your face.
Feel free to share!
Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image. – David Ogilvy, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one. – Alex Osborne, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
People are very sophisticated about advertising now. You have to entertain them. You have to present a product honestly and with a tremendous amount of pizzazz and flair, the way it’s done in a James Bond movie. But you can’t run the same ad over and over again. You have to change your approach constantly to keep on getting their attention. – Mary Wells Lawrence, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all. – Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine. – David Ogilvy, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. – Albert Einstein
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. – Pablo Picasso
After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well. − Albert Einstein
Some of the biggest advertising mistakes are people who imagine they know what the problem is, or they’re not even thinking about; they’re just coming up with that brilliant idea and trying to force the problem to fit it. – Mary Wells Lawrence, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
How would a “productive day” compare to a “creative day”? What would, if anything, they have in common? Chances are not much. One might think a productive day would be closely aligned with scratching off items on a to-do list. On the other hand, someone’s idea of a creative day might not even have a to-do list.
Our current work world is obsessed with productivity. We are inundated with books, articles, white papers, to time block this and time block that; all just to do more work. But our relentless quest to be productive is undermining one of the most important abilities in today’s workplace: creativity. What of the future, though? Will machine learning and artificial intelligence perform the routine aspects of our work at the expense of our ingenuity and creativity?
So how do we create the right conditions for creativity, particularly when we are trying to deal with a to-do list?
Consider this comment from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (the mastermind behind the television show West Wing and films like Moneyball and The Social Network). He told The Hollywood Reporter that he takes six showers a day. “I’m not a germaphobe,” he explains but when his writing isn’t going well, he’ll shower, change into new clothes, and start again. Sorkin’s trade relies on him minting something fresh on a regular basis. And it occurred to him that his best thoughts were not happening in moments of fevered concentration, but when he was in the shower. So he had a shower installed in the corner of his office and makes regular use of it. He has described the process as “a do-over” for triggering original ideas.
In 1939, James Webb Young, a Madison Avenue advertising executive, wrote a definitive guide to the process of creativity, A Technique for Producing Ideas. In this short book, Webb Young reminds us, “that an idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.” In his view, the skill of creativity is the ability to spot new connections between familiar thoughts, and the art is “the ability to see [new] relationships.”
Fifty years later, Steve Jobs observed something similar: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
Webb Young also lays out a remarkably simple technique for creative thought. It involves stimulation. Continue reading →
The American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI) sends me email frequently. When I read one about a virtual summit for copywriters, I was intrigued. It was free, so I signed up. Fortunately, in registering for this free webinar, I could listen to the four+ hours of its content both live and at my leisure.
Addressing those writers out there, I think this will be well worth your time. Some of the highlights are outlined below as to what you can expect to gain as well as the current version of pricing for various writing projects. So grab a comfy chair, sit back and take a listen. Don’t forget to download the pricing guide for later reference.
10 bits of what you’ll discover….
How to deliver the quicker “on demand” content customers want…
What Google really wants when it comes to content (and why you can’t fool it…)
How to make your blog stand out among over the more than 1 billion blogs on the Internet…
Why content curation is hot – and the first step to becoming an in-demand master curator and influencer…
The subtle distinctions between regular copywriting and UX copywriting and why it will set you apart as a copywriter…
The basic formula from writing successful “chatbot” copy that feels human and why every copywriter will need to learn it…
The three types of newsletters you should be pitching to virtually every client you have…
The future of long-form video and why tomorrow’s copywriters in some niches will need to learn “Hollywood” scriptwriting and storytelling techniques…
Why email is “cool” again — and how copywriters can use email to generate the most sales on a word-for-word basis…
COPYWRITERS AND COVID-19!
Beginning with a 10,000-foot view of the copywriting industry as it stands today, AWAI’s 2020 State of the Industry Report and Copywriting Pricing Guide offers a deep dive into the immediate “state” of direct response and the copywriting needs of the market.
It starts with the must-read overview “7 Marketing Trends and Predictions for Staying Connected to Your Customers” – where today it’s all about audience focused engagement through video, content, mobile, personalization, search engine “micro moments” and more.
What’s working best today when it comes to copywriting messaging…
The most effective platforms B2B buyers use when making a purchase decision…
The most effective copywriting platforms for attracting new customers
Marketing channels businesses perceive as most effective…
“Going rates” for over 75 copywriting projects – everything from sales letters to PPC campaigns to press releases to e-letters and more.
How todays royalties and retainer deals are structured…
How to find and recognize a skilled copywriter (if you’re a marketer) and how to know what marketers are looking for (if you’re a copywriter…)
How to plan and organize a copywriting project – from what to ask for as a writer, to what to be willing to supply as a marketer…
How to provide extraordinary value to your client as a copywriter – and earn more and higher fees in the process…
Your comments and feedback would be welcome as I’m interested to learn what you think or thought of this program and how it’s presented. Don’t be bashful, now!
In this second of three part series by Ellyn Kail, they speak of various tools to utilize for staying creative, especially when stressed. Letting your creative juices flow during times like these does reduce anxiety and can give you a sense of accomplishment. Creativity is a happy, constructive tool that, when applied, can take you to a place normally abandoned during a crisis.
I speak from personal experience. Take my two blogs, for instance. I’m still trying to write them every week and during this Coronavirus outbreak, it’s like a medicine for me. It’s also important to me to provide my take and share with others that information pertinent to this crisis. Speaking of which, here’s part 2.
Creativity doesn’t just improve our wellbeing; it can also reduce our stress levels. Recent studies tell us that creative tasks can unlock our imaginations, distract us from our feelings of stress and anxiety, and even prompt our brains to secrete feel-good chemicals.
That’s something we could all use right now. Still, it can be challenging to find that creative spark when we’re experiencing anxiety and stress. Amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, finding space for creative exploration and experimentation can feel overwhelming.
In the first part of our interview with the photographer and professional development coach Danny Ghitis, we asked him to share some tools for coping during this difficult period. This time, we wanted to pick his brain and get some of his best tips staying creative and motivated.
You might be stuck indoors, but there are still ways to engage your brain and get the ideas flowing. Read on for his advice.
Habits and routines can be especially important when we’re facing uncertainty and upheaval. What are your favorite creative habits?
“I don’t believe in a prescribed habit routine, and there are so many people out there modeling specific approaches. The important thing is to figure out what works for you through trial and error.
“People have a lot of ‘shoulds,’ like ‘I should get up at 6:00 AM and meditate’ or ‘I should chunk my day into rigid blocks.’ Hey, if that works for you then, totally go for it. But there’s a ton of anxiety around being someone other than yourself, and habits are much less likely to stick if they’re not intrinsically motivated.
“Give yourself a break! Take the time to reflect on what does make sense for you, given the circumstances. Ask yourself more proactive questions. What habits will support your goals at this point? What trusted person can help you be accountable for building that habit?”
Do you think stress can ever be channeled creatively?
“It depends on how you define creativity and stress. There’s a broad range of experience there. There’s a difference between the inspired creativity of discovering a new project idea and the focused creativity of cranking out five pitch emails on deadline.
“If creativity is about innovative ideas and broad perspectives, then anxiety and stress are not the best. When your body is in a stressed state, your thinking narrows and focuses on the perceived threat. So, if your goal is to think expansively, you should focus on calming your stress response and getting into a broader state of mind. It’s why people have epiphanies in the shower.
“On the other hand, if you define creativity as, say, a detail-oriented craft, then you can leverage stress in your favor by color-correcting images in Photoshop or keywording your image archive, etc.”
Do you have any skills for calming that “stress response” and getting back to thinking expansively?
“Your body’s ‘rest and digest’ mode takes much longer to activate than your ‘fight-flight-freeze’ mode. Stress is meant to keep you safe, but chronic stress defeats the purpose and can seriously hurt your immune system.
“To regulate this, get into the habit of conscious breathing as often as possible. Your breath gives you a direct line to your autonomic nervous system, which is the otherwise unconscious way your body knows how to regulate itself.
“There’s a common misconception that taking a ‘deep breath’ will calm you down. In fact, it’s the out-breath that triggers a calming response. Try this: breathe in slowly for four counts, hold for two counts, breathe out slowly for six counts, hold for two counts. Repeat.
“Ultimately, managing stress is a huge topic, and there’s no one-size-fits-all technique. It’s important to understand what triggers your stress and address it using what works for you.”
What are some of your favorite (productive and creative) things photographers can do with the time they spend stuck indoors? Do you have any books or resources you’d recommend?
“This is a hard question for me to answer because I tend to look at an individual’s specific needs before discussing a course of action. It’s easy to get caught in a social comparison trap, wanting to succeed the way others do because it looks sexy.
“It’s normal to be influenced by other artists, but you have to show up for yourself, especially when it feels hard. This is a great moment to explore, research, plan, and reassess.
“To get your creative juices flowing, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield are always solid staples. For more insight about how you best show up in the world, I suggest taking the VIA Institute’s free character strengths assessment and reading their materials.”
Some of us are using this time to recalibrate and refocus, whether that’s in business or the creative sphere. What are your insights on setting realistic goals, both in the long and short term?
“My favorite method of self-sabotage is perfectionism. I set the bar too high, making it impossible to succeed, and it’s a terrific excuse for getting nothing done. If you never get things done, you also avoid failure and create a false sense of comfort. You’re not failing, but you’re also not succeeding.
“This is super common in creative fields rife with rejection. Aim for scoring a B instead of an A with your projects. Set iteration goals without expecting a specific final outcome. You’ll actually increase your chances of achieving an outcome you’re happy with.”
Any more tips for photographers working from home right now?
“If you want to be shooting while you’re in quarantine, my suggestion is to be proactive about it. Keep your camera with you as often as possible and think of it like a sketchbook.
“Your thoughts and behaviors influence each other, so the more you take pictures, the more you’ll think about taking pictures and feel like someone who can take pictures in the moment.
“Because of cognitive bias, your brain filters what it thinks will be useful for you. If you keep ‘telling’ it to look for interesting compositions through repetition, the more you’ll automatically start finding them.
“This also applies to your mindset about business during these strange times. If you read panicky headlines all day, you’ll believe the sky is falling and hide under your bed, but if you look for opportunity, you will find it!”
This is part two of three of our interview with Danny Ghitis. Here’s Part one. For more in-depth and tailored coaching, Ghitis offers free 30-minute consultations.
During this time of uncertainty and distress, many factors are at odds with our coping mechanisms. Everyday stressors are one thing but having additional ones attack us during a health crisis is quite another.
I ran across a timely series of articles by Ellen Kail for Feature Shoot when they were publicized in Communication Arts. My immediate thought was that I really need to share these. So share, we will, with some input from yours truly.
The experts agree: amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, public anxiety is mounting. The World Health Organization recently released a list of mental health considerations to keep in mind during the outbreak. This is a challenging moment for people around the globe, whether we’re coping with the stress spurred by the latest news headlines or the boredom and uncertainty of self-quarantine.
For photographers, and other creatives as well, the COVID-19 outbreak can also mean canceled exhibitions, fewer clients, and financial uncertainty. If your assignments require traveling and commuting, it means you might face the possibility of radically changing the way you work, at least for the time being.
Those factors don’t help ease the anxiety we’re experiencing right now, but there are ways to cope and navigate through this difficult period. We asked the photographer and professional development coach Danny Ghitis to tell us about some of his best skills for staying balanced and productive during times of uncertainty.
During these uncertain times, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing creatives, and what is your number one piece of advice for photographers who are navigating this challenge?
“While these circumstances are new, the fundamental feeling of uncertainty is not. Creatives tend to be well-acquainted with that primal fear, given the nature of their work. This particular fear convinces you that there’s doom lurking around the corner and locks you into survival mode.
“Since we’re more exposed than ever to a constant stream of freak-outs, it’s easy to get stuck in this belief. Especially if you’re creative and envision apocalyptic dramas and spend hours ruminating on the world’s end.
“The key is to remember you have a choice about how to respond. That doesn’t mean you can choose/control everything–a lot of stress comes from resisting and trying to control the inevitable. The choice comes from examining your feelings and thoughts and understanding how they impact your behavior.
“Your beliefs create your experience of reality. Try this: recall an instance where you felt uncertain and navigated your circumstances successfully. What thoughts did you have at the time? How did they make you behave, and what results did you get from that behavior?”
What are some short-term coping strategies you’d recommend to photographers? Let’s say you read a terrifying headline or tweet, get overwhelmed, and have trouble coping. How do you not let the news consume your day?
“The thing about the news is that it’s not there to help you cope or feel good. It’s there to report the news. When people freak out, the news reports it, and then people read the news and freak out more, and so on. Don’t go to the news if you’re looking for relief. It’s like sticking your head in the oven to cool down.
“The challenge is making the effort to remove the temptations all around us. Know that you have a negativity bias and that your brain will jump at any opportunity to ‘protect’ you. Being informed is good, but most of us are well enough informed just by living in society that we don’t need to read new headlines multiple times per day.
“Unless you have a specific and clear reason to be on the news or social media, consider staying away from it, especially now. Spend time outside, call someone on Facetime, reset.”
What advice do you have for photographers who are experiencing a lot of anxiety right now? How do you keep fear and worry at bay?
“First of all, it’s okay. It’s normal. It’s expected. If your income sources have suddenly vanished, you have permission to be upset. Write yourself a permission slip. Don’t pretend that it doesn’t suck if you feel like it does. There’s no such thing as bottling up emotions–they will come out in one way or another, so it’s better to deal with them directly instead of letting them skew your results indirectly.
“Of course, there are the staples: exercise, meditate, eat healthy, sleep well. They sound like cliches, but if you prioritize them, you’ll feel a lot better. If you’re not, then get help from other people.
“And try this: write down all the potential ways this moment could be an opportunity. If you’re feeling guilty because you ‘shouldn’t’ see this as an opportunity, well, let that sh*t go. Consciously helping yourself doesn’t mean exploiting other people. It’s quite the opposite.”
How would you advise photographers and other creatives who suddenly have a lot of free, unstructured time on their hands?
“The busier you keep yourself, the more you’ll get done. This is a perfect opportunity to level up skills that you normally don’t have time to focus on. Create an exciting challenge for yourself, or do it with a group of people (online) for accountability.
“Immerse yourself in an indoor or nature-oriented project, practice lighting setups; take a marketing course; plan out a series of promo campaigns; challenge yourself to read five business books; research the hell out of your next project.
“When else will you have such an opportunity to deep dive? Take advantage and remove physical and mental distractions that will sap your energy. Focus on people who want to see you succeed, and brainstorm about how to help.”
This interview is part of a three-part series with Ghitis on coping, staying creative, and finding community during this time.
We’re still right in the thick of this mess, the Coronavirus pandemic, and with no signs of it letting up. In fact, it’s just the opposite; more cases are reported daily, around the globe. Just about a week ago a little less than 200,000 people globally had been infected while over 7,500 people have died.
In order to try and stop the spread of the virus, the globe’s inhabitants are retreating inward, at least most of them. “Stay home, stay healthy” seems to be the motto of the day. If ET were to re-visit Earth right now, he’s probably wonder, “Where did everybody go?”
Businesses are shutting down and boarding up, as if they’re dealing with some big storm surge. Eating places are delivery or take-out only, if they’re even open. Schools are closing until further notice and most modes of transportation have ground to a halt or have severely curtailed their routes. Grocery stores have become almost barren, especially the paper goods and beverage aisles.
Most everyone is self-quarantining. Very few people are on the roads unless they just have to be.
Writing from Johannesburg, South Africa, Rohan Reddy says, “Our hands have never been cleaner, human contact is being frowned upon, people are getting sick or dying. We don’t care much about advertising or design anymore; mortality is our reality, we care about surviving.
The executive creative director for the McCann Africa network continues, “When 2020 comes to an end, the world we live in will probably look very different from the one we said goodbye to in 2019. And it is impossible to predict what this new world will look like.”
I agree with him. The world is in uncharted waters with this virus. We’re doing good to react, let alone react in some timely manner. Forget about planning and acting on the plan. This stage is in its infancy, though it is forging ahead.
Some corners of the world are doing better than others; Italy seems to have their act together while the U.S. is falling behind and will be doing good to “fight a good fight.”
Reddy again, “Creativity will save the world. People will look to our poets, our artists, our musicians, our dancers, our inventors, our architects, our engineers, our writers and designers to redefine humanity’s purpose post-Covid-19. Businesses will look to their advertising agencies and design studios to redefine how we consume everything from food to fashion to travel.
“Because, at the end of 2020, it will not be business as usual. It will be something completely different. We will spend our money differently, we will save our money differently and we will probably make our money differently too.”
We won’t have to wait until the end of this year for business and living habits to become different. That is happening right now. Our lifestyles and business practices are changing, out of necessity, right before our eyes. We will be “ever-adapting” continuously through the rest of this year and into the near future.
Creativity will play a vital role in how we think, solve problems and present solutions. Creativity won’t be the exclusive territory of advertising. Hopefully, creative thinking and development will be in hyper-drive so that society can be the benefactor.
I think most intelligent people will adopt a much more sincere form of togetherness, a true multi-partisanship. We, as a society, really have no choice. We have to create through togetherness since our survival depends on it.
Past actions of stupidity and greed will be looked upon incredulously. There will be no room for them in our future. Disease, like this COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate when it comes to these fallacies; it also doesn’t play politics.
No matter how long it takes to save ourselves from this pandemic, creativity will and must play a part. That’s creativity in all forms, not just in the creative arts.
Together we need to rebuild into a better, much more aware future. The creative minds among us have a responsibility to craft a sound and viable and livable future for our society.
I agree with Mr. Reddy. As a creative, I can’t do this on my own. I can, however, do it together in forming a creative front to help lead us in progressing forward. We owe it to ourselves, our children, their children, as well as the planet.
Greetings and good day to ‘ya! Here’s your respite into the world of famous and sometimes infamous quotes from a variety of personalities. Any one of these could prove motivation for that ad you’re working on, tweak your imagination, inspire you or just plain bring a smile to your face.
Feel free to share.
Nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else’s advertising.
David Ogilvy, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
In the advertising business, a good idea can inspire a great commercial. But a good insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand commercials.Phil Dusenberry, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message. William Bernbach, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou
The heart of creativity is discipline. William Bernbach, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
If you are writing about baloney, don’t try to make it Cornish hen because that is the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darned good baloney. Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Fun without sell gets nowhere, but sell without fun tends to become obnoxious. Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Yes, I sell people things they don’t need. I can’t, however, sell them something they don’t want. Even with advertising. Even if I were of a mind to. John E. O’Toole, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
Big ideas are so hard to recognize, so fragile, so easy to kill. Don’t forget that, all of you who don’t have them. John Elliott, Jr., member, Advertising Hall of Fame
There is no material with which human beings work which has so much potential energy as words. Ernest Elmo Calkins, member, Advertising Hall of Fame
4 Ways Combinatory Play Gets You Out of a Brain Rut, Plus Helps One Deal with a Crisis.
Now that you see how the human brain can get stuck in a rut thanks to neural pathways and a fondness for the familiar, how can you free your brain and lead it on a path to innovation? Based on research and real-life examples from great minds, here are four ways Combinatory Play can to get you out of a brain rut:
1. Cross Train Your Brain
Each cross-training activity works a different, but complementary, part of the body that will help get you stronger in the overall event, task or project. In other words, if you’re a novelist, try your hand at poetry. If you’re a painter, dabble in sculpting. If you’re a computer scientist, play around with web design.
For instance, how did playing violin help Einstein theorize about matter and energy? A study from UC Irvine and the University of Wisconsin found that giving piano lessons to preschoolers significantly improved their spatial-temporal reasoning— a key skill needed for math and science—much more than giving computer lessons, singing lessons, or no lessons at all.
So try a new activity within your field or related to it; you’ll expand your neural connections and strengthen your brain overall.
2. Take a Shower, Go for a Walk or Do Some Other Mundane Activity
First, creativity and relaxation could be linked. I’ve found that whenever I’m really tired, my creativity just hits a wall. Trying to go on is fruitless. Wrap it up and go to bed or walk away from whatever it is you’re working on and come back to it in several hours or the next day.
Depending on when you’re doing this, try something boring, like showering or taking a walk (though some folks would argue that this exercise is not boring) or go for a swim. These tasks don’t require substantial cognitive effort, so our brains are free to wander. And contrary to popular belief, a brain “at rest” isn’t really resting at all.
Second, distractions may boost creativity. Research by Harvard professor Shelley Carson found that high creative achievement was associated with low latent inhibition, or the capacity to screen out irrelevant information, especially if the participants had a high IQ.
For the creative mind, inspiration can be found everywhere. Sometimes, you just need to distract yourself long enough to notice it.
3. Sleep On It
Regarding the process of discovery, scientists have proposed that there is an incubation period during which “unconscious processes contribute to creative thinking.” In his memoir, A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway reveals how he safeguarded his creativity through such a process:
“I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything…”
And in a later chapter:
“I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing; but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”
In 2009, a study out of the University of California San Diego was published suggesting that sleep may assist combinatorial creativity. In particular, researchers found that study participants who were allowed to slip into Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM)—the stage during which we dream—showed an almost 40% improvement over their earlier creative problem-solving test performances, while those who had only non-REM sleep or quiet rest showed no improvement.
The authors of that study hypothesized that when we’re in REM, our brains are better able to integrate unassociated information, which is essential to creative thinking (it explains why dreams are so bizarre).
As mentioned earlier, when you’re stuck on a problem or the creative juices stop flowing, try going to bed. You’ll have a refreshed and different perspective the next morning.
4. Feed Your (copy) Cat
Is anything truly original? Uh, doubtful. In fact, according to artist Austin Kleon, the answer is no. Kleon presented a TED Talk “Steal Like an Artist” and a book of the same name, in which he asserts that nothing is original and all artists build upon previous work.
With this in mind, don’t plagiarize someone, but get inspired by and improve upon someone else’s creations. In this Age of the Internet, one can’t help “borrow” from someone else’s idea. That’s in part why I’m both sharing this article from Amy Rigby and the Trello blog but also adding some of my own perspective.
If you’re suffering from writer’s block, buy a pack of those word magnets and rearrange them until you come up with creative phrases on your fridge;
As previously mentioned, break your concentration, especially when it’s hard for you to focus, and go for a walk or go to bed (depending on the time, of course);
If you’re not sure how to move forward on a project, bounce ideas off of your teammates and see if you find any hidden gems in their suggestions;
If you’re building a product and stuck in the design phase, search for competitors who have made similar products, find where their customers are unhappy, and design something new that solves the problems your competitors failed to address;
Step back from your computer or tablet or canvas or whatever tool you’re using and try and get a bigger or completely different picture of what you’re doing. Go wherever your mind wants to go. Although you may want to continue working on a particular piece of creative, your mind may not. Try doing what it wants. You’ll end up with a different perspective, and, maybe even a new project or topic.
During crisis times, our emotions seem to be at their peak. Don’t let them get the best of you, but learn from them. You’re already jacked so let your new-found motivation help guide you to your (new) goals; what was important yesterday may not be as important today.
We all get stuck in a rut at times, even the greatest minds in history like Einstein did. If you need a new way of thinking, use Combinatory Play to give your brain a boost:
Participate in creative cross-training to expand your brain’s neural connections;
Let your mind wander by doing something mundane or even boring;
Go to bed and let your subconscious mind connect the dots during REM sleep;
Use another person’s work as a springboard for inspiration and improvement;
Go where your mind wants to go and gain a different perspective.
Emotions tend to peak during crisis times; learn from them.
“Christmas is more than barging up and down department store aisles and pushing people out of the way. Christmas is another thing finer than that. Richer, finer, truer, and it should come with patience and love, charity, compassion.”
“Somewhere between apathy and anarchy lies the thinking human being.”
“Violence does not spring from a vacuum. It’s born out of other men’s violence. It gets nurtured and it grows in a soil of prejudice and of hate and of bigotry.”
“Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.”
“A basic ‘must’ for every writer. A simple solitude– physical and mental.” ~ AS I KNEW HIM: My Dad Rod Serling
“More than a man has died…More than a gallant young President has been put to death. What has been assassinated is a faith in ourselves. What has been murdered-a belief in our decency, our capacity to love, our sense of order and logic and civilized decorum.”
“Our greatest responsibility is not to be pencils of the past…”
“This is what I learned at Antioch-when something was wrong, I could get up on my own two feet and make comment on it… I think the idea of questioning is not only a right, it is a responsibility.”
“Remember that your salvation is in your capacity for human warmth–in that remarkable propensity for love.”
“I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say.”
My dad said in a final interview, “I’d like to write something that my peers, my colleagues, my fellow writers would find a source of respect. I’d rather win a Writer’s Guild award than almost anything…”
“No moral, no message, no prophetic tract, just a simple statement of fact: for civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. Tonight’s very small exercise in logic from the Twilight Zone.” – The Shelter
Rod left us way too soon. Not surprisingly, he is still today someone we look up to, someone we admire. From The Twilight Zone to the Night Gallery, he put his imagination on display for millions of fans.
As a writer myself, I’ve often wondered what kind of morbid, macabre mysteries would have come alive if Rod Serling and Edgar Allan Poe had lived in the same century. Deaths-Head Revisited, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, Annabel Lee, A Stop at Willoughby, The Fall of the House of Usher, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and, of course, The Raven.
All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream. Because this, you see, is the Twilight Zone. Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”