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Writer’s block: The menace of marketing. (Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is!)

Marketers need to take a break this Christmas in order to get the creative juices flowing

Marketers are the genies of the corporate world, expected to summon ideas out of a magic lamp at a moment’s notice. And, while the wicked villain is set to thrill and terrify children at pantomimes across the country this Christmas, the biggest fear lurking in the mind of marketers is almost always a blank piece of paper. 

Writer’s block is a very real problem for marketers, whose wares are often their creativity and ideas. This is not an imagined malady either – sometimes, the harder we knock on the door to our subconscious, the less likely we are to get in. 

In order to be truly creative, you must first have a good understanding of your topic. But information osmosis isn’t enough – recent studies have disproved the idea of subliminal learning, concluding that we really do have to put in the legwork when it comes to building knowledge. Though some people are physiologically more inclined to creativity, with higher levels of dynamic interactions between networks in their brains, the fact remains that we all need to do our homework in order to have really good ideas. 

But studying has its limitations too and can lead to convergent thinking, believing that there is such a thing as a ‘right answer’. Being an expert is not enough – the real trick to unleashing your creativity is being able to think divergently and imagine a universe of possibilities. And to do this, you need to switch off your brain. 

According to a study by The University of Western Ontario, people are far better at coming up with new ideas when they are relaxed and happy. Your rational brain can actually be the enemy of invention; in a recent experiment, scientists scanned the brains of freestyle rappers in full flow and found that the areas in charge of logical thought and decision-making were all but switched off. 

So take advantage of the festive spirit and allow yourself the freedom to think differently. Don’t worry about the blank piece of paper. Go and see some friends, take a long bath, walk the dog, switch off and let the ideas come to you. Creativity is often not where you think it is. In fact, quite often it’s behind you.