When I started to practice my career as a copywriter, I learned many techniques for sparking ideas from my mentors and from experienced creative colleagues. I still use some of those copywriter techniques today.

But, techniques for coming up with marketing ideas are also a great way to stimulate your creative writing, and your creativity in general. I believe that writing is a conduit to creative thinking unlike other practices. If you’ve ever done the morning pages in The Artists’ Way you will know what I mean.

What if…opens up possibilities

One of the most difficult aspects of creative writing is finding ideas and finding new ways of expressing them.

An exercise I use as a copywriter to open up the mind to possibilities is to ask: “What if…?”

“What if” gives your mind a break from logic and allows it the freedom to imagine. It’s the first step in being more creative in your day-to-day life.

You can use “what if” questions either as a brainstorming technique itself:

What if the narrator is Death; what would he say?
What if the Wizard lived in a city made of emeralds?

Or you can use it as a way to just relax and find your Muse:

What if there was no deadline?

Outlining organises thought

One technique I use daily, is outlining. Some writers say it’s too ‘restricting’ for them, but I find it incredibly useful because it gives focus to the ideas. Without focus, a lot of creative writing ends up in the bin.

By writing out the main points, first, before you commit to writing, you keep your mind free from constraints and self-editing. You just allow the ideas to flow onto the page and move them around or change them until the outline ‘feels’ right.

I outline everything: blogs, web pages, emails, articles, even ads. It keeps me productive when the ideas are needed for a certain time on a certain day.

What can be amplified?

A favourite among copywriters is to take a look at one mundane aspect of the subject and then make a big deal about it.

Find something totally ordinary and boring, and then blow it up into something massive so that it becomes the idea.

The little blue pill.
The one with the hole in the middle.
The slowest ketchup in the world.

Creativity is something we can all tap into. What takes practice (and patience) is figuring out how to tap into it regularly and consistently.

What creative techniques do you use to spark your imagination as a copywriter or a creative writer?

by Steve Kellas

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