Creative Traffic Jams

Creative blocks are painful. Creative construction detours and creative traffic jams...
excruciating. Hashtag the worst

I've been pretty stressed at work lately about because everything is just not there yet. I'm working working working but I still haven't hit gold yet. Bronze. Maybe one silver. But nothing that makes me go "Yes! This is it!"

And that frustrates the shit out of me. (I then decide I suck as a copywriter and should go get a job working as a Dora in Times Square.)

A few years ago, an old boss who saw that I was driving myself to the brink of insanity took me
aside and said: "It will come. Stressing only takes it longer. Just keep going and you'll know when it gets there." 

It was great advice. Difficult to follow through with advice. But great nonetheless. 

Sometimes it takes a few minutes - I've gone on bathroom breaks or taken showers and just like that - came up with a killer headline. Other times it takes hours. Or days. Which can be painful. Especially if you have a deadline or an art director that's tired of typing lorem ipsun dolor. 

I had another creative director who saw me in a similar state of creative jamness and sent me straight home. He said I'm no good to anybody if I'm thinking about it too hard and that I needed to let it go. 

He was right.

Because I couldn't figure this thing out, I was tired and frustrated which colored the way I looked at other projects. Worse yet, I started questioning myself and it spilled over into everything else I was doing. 

I went home that day and watched old episodes of SVU and cooked myself something delicious.

The next morning I started over fresh. New sheet of paper. New mindset. And let go of everything that had happened before - everything that I've written, everything that I've been circling around but not being able to catch.

You know that saying "work smarter not harder" ? It's the truest truth for a creative. 

Input doesn't always equal output. And sometimes that amazing idea or killer line never comes. (In the story above I think I got close but nothing got produced) 

But you have to know when it's time to take your foot off the pedal and let your creative car coast a little. Or shoot sometimes you have to get out of the car and walk. Or sit your butt on the corner and chill.

And you have to know that it's not the end of the world. 

It will come. You're smart and you're talented and being stuck here doesn't mean that you're stuck everywhere. And it differently doesn't mean you suck. 

You'll get past this.