You can't concept on a computer

You just got a big project or brief. Now what?

Close Word. Close Illustrator. Close Photoshop. Those are tools for executing.

Right now it's time to think.

All you need is your imagination, paper and a pen (or in my case, a pencil.)

You need to get off the computer to think. And probably away from your desk, too.

Creatives should always have a notebook with them. Always. You never know when and where inspiration is going to strike.

You can go online to research and look at ads, art and such to spark your creativity, but whatever you think needs to be scribbled into your notebook.

I recently read a great article about how physically writing things helps you be a better writer -- and remember better, too.

I totally agree. Working with pencil and paper gives me a freedom I could never get within the four walls of a computer screen.

Suddenly I can write sentences and phrases without Word pointing out my spelling and grammar mistakes. Suddenly I can doodle and sketch. Write the product's name really really big. And the right next to it write it really really small. I can twist and turn. Erase and underline. Circle and scratch out.

Suddenly there's no limit to what I have to create and the way I must create it. I'm free to just throw my thoughts on the page in whatever random rhythm they leave my mind. Something that may have been a mistake 5 minutes ago is now the start of a new strategy. A misspelling pushes me to probe the convention of language, anguish, anger, danger, stranger, fiction, friction, fragments.

Things don't need to make sense on the page. I can come back later and sift and sort and gently pluck the ideas and inklings of ideas off the paper and take them elsewhere to germinate and turn into something great.

There's this weird joy whenever I turn to a new page in my notebook.

It's when I feel the most free to truly create.