Getting in the Mood

Writing great copy starts with creating the conditions required to optimize your mental and emotional state for creativity. The best creative thinking is engineered while the creator is in a state of high-performance, and feels on top of the world.

That might not always be your Monday morning, but eliminating anything that takes you away from your happy place is crucial when you’re smithing words and creating a memorable experience for your audience.

The Pre-Game

  1. Be rested. Creativity takes a lot more mental energy than you might think, and it’s nearly impossible if you’re tired or mentally distracted.
  2. Be nourished. Have a good breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, or whatever meal comes before the time block when you plan on being creative. The human brain functions at its best when healthy, saturated fats are readily accessible as a source of energy. Have these with a meal or snack before beginning your work (almonds, coconut oil, and fish are all naturally high in saturated fats – but skip the deep fried varieties). If you need a tasty snack that fits the bill, try out my recipe for The Cube.
  3. Be inaccessible. Being creative requires your complete attention. Wherever possible, block yourself out in the calendar for a few hours. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb,’ and turn off audible and visual email notifications on your workstation and mobile phone.
  4. Be undistractable. Yep, that’s a made-up word (I’m claiming creative license). Remove yourself from environments that are distracting whenever possible. If you’re located in an open concept workspace, go somewhere quiet where the movements and conversations of co-workers won’t blow your creative ‘mo.

Use Your Environment

Where you’re at can affect what you do, for better or for worse. We all take subconscious cues from our surroundings and the interactions that are going on around us. Understanding how our environment affects our individual emotional state is an important part of creating an environment that fosters creativity.

  1. Get comfy. Minimizing physical distractions is key. Get yourself in a chair, on a couch, or even a hammock if you need to. You want to be able to have a clear mind, free of the cricks and cracks associated with being still too long. Have water, tea, or whatever you like to sip on close at hand.
  2. Get a rhythm. Slip on some headphones and put on something with a predictable, pleasing rhythm. For some people, this means music. For others, it means a white noise generator (I’m a huge fan of Noisli). Whatever floats your boat – just make sure that the volume is low enough that it doesn’t become a distraction.
  3. Get clarity. At this point, your brain could benefit from a synaptic reset. Try this: close your eyes, and conjure up a mental image of something serene. An empty beach, forest with rustling leaves, or clouds drifting through the sky. Then, steeple your fingers and breathe in for four seconds (completely filling your lungs). Exhale at half the rate, so expelling the air from your lungs takes seven to eight seconds (focus on the sensation of the air entering and leaving your lungs). Repeat a few times as needed to clear your mind, then:
  4. Get at it.

This is part one of a three part series. See the rest:

Part II: Beginning With the End in Mind

Part III: Anatomy of a Great Ad

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