You should always be learning, not just about what's happening in the ad world -- the current big thing, the next big thing and the failed big thing.
Not only will this give you things to talk about in conversations with other ad folk, but sometimes just looking at other ads (ads about anything and everything) inspires and motivates you.
Go to sites like Ads of the World to see what people are putting out. Read industry blogs and publications like Adfreak and Creativity to get a broader grasp on the work being done, the agencies doing it and the industry on a whole.
And most importantly, collect things that inspire you.
Pinterest actually has a whole category called Illustrations & Posters where they have everything anyone else has posted under that topic.
Create your own collection, whether it's on Pinterest* or using the Pocket Chrome extension or a folder on your desktop - start holding on to anything that sparks something in you or makes you think "I want to do something like that." Or stuff you just think looks/sounds amazing.
*I'm using Pinterest as an example because it's sooo easy to pin from any website and repin from other boards on Pinterest. You can search for specific things like fonts, typography, headlines, ads, banners, resume layouts... just about anything. Ok yes, I'm a sheep.
That day will come where you feel like your brain is empty and you have nothing new to offer.
And there's also that day when you have an idea, but aren't sure how exactly to bring it to life.
Oh, and that day when you want to do something in a specific style but don't have hours to spend going through Google's 569,988,987 results.
So start your collection right now. Call it your Inspiration Box or Idea Well or whatever the hell you want. You should always be on a hunt for inspiration and staying thirsty for new ideas.
|Someone's Idea Well: Concepts & Ads I Love|
And with a take off the famous Glengarry Glen Ross line "Always Be Closing" -- Here's two bits of the best advice I've ever gotten:
"Always Be Curious." - Nancy Hill
"Always Be Concepting." - Desmond Hall. (Said with the same passion Alec Baldwin had in the movie clip above.)