When people learn that I’m a copywriter, they often hit me up for tips on how to be creative. Some want to be more creative as writers. Some want to be more creative in their everyday lives. Other still want to learn more about being a creative copywriter.

Here are 3 of my favourite tips on creativity and being a copywriter:

1. Stop forcing it

I really believe that creativity is something we can all tune into, if only we stopped trying so hard.

If you’re a copywriter, this is difficult to achieve due to deadlines. But it’s a necessity if you want to succeed in this business.

You need to just step back and find a way to let the ideas come in their own time; give your creative mind some space to work its magic.

You have likely already had experience with this.

It happens when you are about to tell your spouse or friend about something really cool and then – poof! – the thought vanishes. You get up and wander off to another room to do something else. As you are folding the washing or looking for the book you misplaced, suddenly the thought returns. Eureka!

This is your creative (right brain, non-logical) mind working behind the scenes. It does its best work when you don’t force it. If you are trying to think ‘creatively’ you are usually being too logical.

For me, the magic happens when I’m in the shower. I get my best ideas about a minute after I step under the water because I have freed my mind to do its work and when I am least expecting it, the ideas pop into my head.

The trick is remembering them long enough to write them down! (I use the foggy mirror, much to my wife’s annoyance.)

2. Laugh more

Serious, logical energy snuffs out creativity before it begins. It’s supposed to be fun!

Try point #1 again, then go have a good laugh about things.

If you’re a copywriter and actively working on a creative problem, come up with the funniest, stupidest, wackiest ideas you can. Laugh about them with someone (your art director). Bounce ideas back and forth, and play out the hilarious ones to their end.

Ask questions that make you laugh: what if this product made people invisible? What if we posted cooked chicken to customers? What if demolition engineering was planned like Ikea assembly instructions?

“What if” is the seed of creative ideas.

3. Borrow and remix

Here’s a thought for you to meditate on: being original and being creative aren’t the same.

The great artists of our world borrowed and built upon the inspiring works of their predecessors. They tried techniques they saw others using and then adapted them to their own creative ends.

Every copywriter I know will tell you to study the greats.

Every author will tell you to read and write like the masters.

Creative sparks happens when you take an idea from one place and give it a new use in another.

In business, we can use creativity to come up with new products by borrowing ideas from other industries. For example, Apple asked ‘what if’ furniture design ideas could create computers that look nice, rather than like…computers!

What if you tried each of these 3 tips today? Let’s find out!


    • Thanks AJ. Hopefully she doesn’t nag you too much! Interesting that the water appears again. I had a meditation coach who used to get us to visualise a scene next to a babbling brook. There is something about water that frees the mind. ~Steve

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