How to stay inspired when what you really want is to take a nap

Blocked.

We’ve all been there. The point where we’re staring at a blank page and nothing comes to mind. Whether it’s burnout, lost mojo or someone put a hex on your skills; deadlines often don’t allow us the luxury of time to wait for inspiration to strike.

Fortunately, like most blocks, with a bit of work they’re possible to break through. I don’t have all the answers, but here a few tips I use to reignite my inspiration.

1. Work Through It

One of my favorite quotes is by the brilliant artist Pablo Picasso, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Admittedly, most times I find myself in a creative block, I procrastinate. I push whatever I’m working on, personal or professional, out of mind until I can spread the lie that ~I work best under pressure~. Then it transforms itself into general laziness.

The first thing that lands on the page may not be right, nor may the second. But getting something down is only the first step.

kate-pullen-design-quote-picasso

2. Take a Break

Conversely, sometimes we’re to close to a project that we can’t see the big picture being too focused on the minute details. Take a walk, blasts some music, have some lunch. Take an hour and just unfocus for a bit. Your project will still be present in the back of your mind and ready for any creative spark.

Fun fact, 80% of great ideas are birthed in the bathroom. Funner fact, I completely made that statistic up.

3. What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

I, like many other creatives, am a perfectionist (I also attribute my perfectionism to my ‘Yoncé-like Virgoness.) That can create a lot of internal pressure that can halt beginning or finishing a project. One thing I like to do is face that pressure head on and visualize the worst possible scenarios. Usually they aren’t that bad, and never life-threatening or altering. So forget perfection for a moment and go back to number 1.

4. Prioritize

Feeling overwhelmed can create a busy mind and cause a lack of focus. Being creative is hard and requires a good amount of attention. If you have to attend meetings, organize your emails or made too many commitments – find a way to block off times to work. Sometimes that means talking to your boss or project manager and sometimes that means no multitasking (catching up on Netflix while working is not focus.)

Hopefully, these help you next time you head dive into your desk. They have definitely saved me from a few creative meltdowns. What are some ways you help breakthrough creative blocks?

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah

You’ve worked hard this year, so I hope you have a great break whatever you’re celebrating this season. I know I will. Chill with family and friends, maybe a drink or two. And maybe sign out of your work email?

I’m taking a break out the country, so there’ll be no new posts until January. But never fear, here are some of my favorites to last you until 2017:

Moving Forward from the Most Racist Ad of All Time

What it Feels Like to be Laid Off (and how to bounce back)

What Makes a Good Partner and How to Find One

4 Personal Must Ask Questions for Novice Networkers

You Get What You Don’t Ask For

No more caffeine withdrawals

Happy Monday! (And happy belated Fourth of July, Halloween, Veteran’s Day and National Pizza Day.)

I took a break. A summer and a fall break. After moving from gig to gig, and a little work slump, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to offer advice, and honestly felt a bit uninspired. But with the current political climate, I couldn’t sit idly by anymore. I had to do something to show that people of color voices matter. Our images matter. Our art matters. Our creative matters.

We matter.

So let’s close out 2016 with a bang.

There’ll be lots of new posts covering pre-agency woes, office politics and many more book reviews—lots of reading has been done in my absence.

There’ll be some surprises and changes along the way, but all with the goal of giving you, my dear readers, the tools you need to start and maintain a kick-ass creative career.

Let’s do this.

Get your fill of Black Coffee on Facebook and Twitter.

13 Awesome Ad Blogs You Should be Reading

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite ad blogs. Though some haven’t been updated recently, their archives are full of great advice and insight. Stay inspired folks.

  1.  The Inspiration Room
  2. Adland
  3. Modern Copywriter
  4. Makin’ Ads
  5. Baby Food for Creatives

    Baby Food for Creatives

    Baby Food for Creatives

  6. Adfreak
  7. Hello You Creatives

    Hello Your Creatives

    Hello Your Creatives

  8.  Adverblog
  9. Typostrate
  10. No ad school

    No Ad School

    No Ad School

  11. Advertising Week Social Club
  12. Creativity Online
  13. This Advertising Life

Bonus

Don’t get me started

 

Let me know what blogs you’re checking out!

 

Creative Roll Call

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Chances are if you’ve found this blog you’re interested in being a creative. Not being creative, but being “a creative”. Small change, BIG difference.

There’s a few different creative roles that go into creating an ad. So just so we’re on the same page,  if you’re a student, junior or in accounting who realized numbers aren’t your thing;  let’s get into the different creative roles in an agency.

 

Art Director

Art directors are responsible for thinking up and creating visual concepts for campaigns. Masters of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, art Directors take the reins on the look, layout and feel of an ad. One-half of a creative team, art directors usually work with a copywriter in concepting the big idea.

 

Copywriter

The other half of a creative duo, copywriters are responsible for creating ideas and writing any words used in ads. From tv scripts to funny lines on the back of Chipotle bags, copywriters use words to express the story of the campaign. No special programs needed here, just pen, paper and a good idea.

Designer

Designers, or graphic designer if you want to get technical, are responsible for creating layouts, logos and other design detail. The designer will often work with the art director to execute visual ideas and pull together the campaign.

Creative Director

The person in charge! A creative director supervises the art director and copywriter, making sure the work is strong and on target. The creative team can seek the CD for direction and get creative feedback. But don’t think you can shoot from junior to CD, one usually has a long background in art or copy. Unless you’re a celebrity, then you maybe be able to skip  a couple of steps.

But until then, study up and work hard on your book!

 

What creative path are you taking?

 

 

A creative pick-me-up

coffee copy

 

When was the last time you had good coffee? Not the regular joe you drink every morning, but a really good knock-your-socks-off-WOAH-that’s-good coffee?

In a world of mochachocolottacrappuccino, we’re over the watered down and sugar-coated dark roast. We are not the decadent deceiver heralded by the masses. We are strong, raw, fresh and Black. A bit unrefined, but always motivated. We here for the ideas that keep you up at night. For the energy boost in that midday meeting. For the sit-down with that senior you really admire. We are here and rich in talent.

So tell me are you in the mood for Black Coffee?

 

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