Brain Food

Wendy_BowlBeing in the industry almost 20 years means I’ve seen and been a part of many projects and campaigns – some successful, and others, well, let’s just say they’ve been chalked up to the learning experience bucket. There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to a marketing communications program and it takes an effort to stay energized and keep the creative ideas flowing and writing fresh.

For me, I’ve developed a list of ways to feed my brain that I keep in hard copy on my bulletin board. Here are a few to share:

Get outside. I was at the Denver Zoo a few weeks ago with friends when I noticed tents everywhere and people walking around with cameras. It was the Mike’s Camera semi-annual Photo Safari event. The event allowed zoo goers to test-drive new camera gear and lenses, including exotic telephoto lenses. Their crew was on-site at picture-point locations to help potential customers and print photos for free. I’d love to hear who came up with this promotion because it was brilliant.
Connect with other communicators. Take the time to connect with old colleagues, mentors, or professors. I’ve found we’re more honest with ourselves the older we get in our careers. Ask what they are doing now and why, where they see themselves in 5-10 years, how their career path has evolved, etc.
Read. Read. Read. Magazines, books, blogs, newspapers, etc. I am a fan of historical fiction (The Book Thief, House of Tyneford, Roses) and fantasy (The Night Circus, Hunger Games, The Bone Season), but my sister recently gave me Rob Lowe’s biography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. It changed my perspective on a Hollywood star. He’s smart, witty, and a survivor, and he reminded me to look beyond the surface. Every person, organization, product and service has a story to tell.
Be creative outside of work. Listen to live music, visit a museum, learn to paint. A colleague of mine, Wendy Artman, has become a potter. An AMAZING potter. Just take a look at the bowl above.
Never stop learning. I recently “discovered” Science Friday on NPR. It is a show that has “content covering everything from octopus camouflage to cooking on Mars. SciFri is brain fun, for curious people.” I am addicted. Last week featured segments on why science and the humanities are better together and how songs get stuck in your head.

So, how do you feed your creative brain? How do you keep fresh ideas flowing in a brainstorm, messaging sharp and writer’s block at bay? Let me know, as I’d love to hear them and possibly add them to my list on my bulletin board.

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