Many creative endeavors are throttled by mental blocks and distractions, but there is always a way to get past them. I may be an unpublished novelist and frustrated opera composer, but I have learned how to always stay creatively active.
In my beginning attempts to become an “artist”, I would hit that halfway point while writing an opera scene or short story and slam into an imaginary brick wall. I would sketch a musical piece or work on a writing outline just to throw the fifth or fiftieth attempt in the trash. After the garbage can started to look like a paper ball landfill, I would abandon the project for a little reality television, but I’d be left with a nagging, unsatisfying urge to get back to work.
After years of refining my process, however, I’ve discovered five essential techniques that helped me keep my wheels on the long and winding road of artistic creation. Use these tricks to help unlock that hanging idea and turn it into something worth a pat on the back.
I’ll tell you something I probably shouldn’t. I’ve worked as a professional writer in various capacities for eight years, and I am not perfect. I am guilty of sloppy writing. I commit grammar mistakes. I confuse usage. It happens.
Have you ever felt completely out of control? Like you’re clinging to the hood scoops of a 302 Mach 1 barreling down a highway to hell?
Hi, my name is John, and I have logorrhea.
It’s the late 90’s. The internet wasn’t cool yet. The tech boom and bust wasn’t even in full swing at that time. Stacy Sutton Williams was heading up interactive at a division of Kilgannon. They had started building websites in ’95 when web design was little more than text, bad imagery and tables. Stacy had taken a six-hour correspondence class in SEO to become an “expert.” There were no keyword tools. Meta tags ruled the day. Search engine submission was a thing. And she was rocking her clients' early digital minds.
She fell in love with it. She attended one of the first ever Search Engine Strategies conferences in 2000. She met other digital marketers. She met other entrepreneurs.
Confident. Determined. And with short, spiky red hair that screamed world watch out, she decided to start an SEO company named “Search Engine Goddess” and decided to use a cartoon version of herself as the logo. Not too long after she rethought the name (and logo) and decided upon Prominent Placement.
In the sister post to this, The Ever Elusive Pursuit of Greatness, we discussed why we are creating the Intelligence team. In this post, we want to explore what that really means.
I know I’m biased, but I’m in awe of our Creative and UX teams’ ability to understand users and create experiences that change behavior and delight clients. Their ability to combine qualitative research, client knowledge, and their core design and user experience skills to create amazing digital experiences is something I, frankly, can’t relate to. I can barely draw a circle or even write my name legibly.
I’m also equally impressed with the other Nebo teams. Our copywriters are brilliant and have a gift to communicate that I’ll never be able to replicate. As for Paid Media — I’m not even allowed to sign in to AdWords anymore. SEO — mad scientists doing mad scientist stuff. Developers — well, enough said. I used to be a developer and now I don’t even know how to FTP into our dev server. PR and Social — let’s just say I don’t have the temperament to have a live feed of things I might say or tweet, much less understand their craft.
What makes an agency great?
Not good. Not new and innovative. Not hip. But actually great. Think The Beatles, Hemingway, or Muhammad Ali great.
And once an agency is great, how does it sustain that greatness?
These aren’t easy questions to answer. Even more daunting, there are more than 20,000 agencies trying to answer this same exact question. Sure, there are legends in advertising who have a really good grasp on how they became great. But like most things, it’s easy to define what made you or your agency successful in retrospect.