To get creative, get prolific.

The trick, for me, when I needed to produce creative work in my advertising days was to be prolific.

The answer was nearly always to come up with half a dozen ideas rather than just one.

Sometimes, but not often, the first concept was the best.

More often, however, it was the sixth, or the second or the fourth.


It’s not always easy to come up with ideas on demand, but I think that once you accept you’re going to need several on the table, it stops you fretting so much about the first.

It’s probably not going to be right, so let’s just get it down on paper so we can move on to the better stuff.

What did I do, however, if I needed to kick-start the process when exhausted or, perhaps, a bit down in the dumps?

I often found it helpful to head for a bookshop or library and browse a non-fiction section or subject which generally had absolutely no connection with the brief.

It seemed to me that opening my mind to sometimes really quite random knowledge was a good way to persuade my grey matter to begin assembling new thoughts of its own.

I often refer to the principle that keeping learning new things can be good for your mental wellbeing, but it might be the case that you’d assume this suggests that only ‘relevant’ learning is of value.

I’m sure that’s not the case, however.

Picking up new knowledge about anything that attracts your interest is good for you, in part because it can act as a catalyst to trigger other thoughts and ideas.

Read a new recipe for a tasty dessert, and you may well end up seeing how to resolve a relationship issue.

Watch a documentary about prehistoric cave art, and you could easily suddenly work out what you could do about a money problem.

These (very) random ideas simply serve to show that getting your mind to work in one direction, may be helpful in other ways, too.

Need some ideas today? Get curious.

4 thoughts on “To get creative, get prolific.

  1. I like it. Sound advice , Jon.
    As a creative person, I realise how true this is, too. I paint, and often repeat the subject to get a better end product, or different angle , better colours and so on. It usually works, (except if I get too tired, then the quality decreases).
    I love that light bulb photo, indeed your choice of photos on these blogs overall. They often add significantly to the text, I find. Thanks yet again, Jon .

  2. Hi Jon, I don’t consider myself creative but do appreciate your nudges about the keep on learning which has helped me, so thank you. Plus I agree with Sally, the photos you choose to go with your nudge are always a thought provoking bonus.

  3. So many light bulbs – none of them need changing!
    Thank you for sharing more of your understanding of how illogical the brain is!

  4. Ah, lightbulb moments!
    Jon, this reminded me that when you desperately try to think of a name of someone or something and you persist – but it just won’t come….then you go off, do something entirely different, when suddenly, the right name pops into your head! Ding! A bell rings or it’s the lightbulb moment!

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