I’ve worked at a handful of agencies over my career. I’ve been hired as a junior writer, senior writer, and ACD at big shops with holding companies and multiple offices worldwide, as well as small shops with no receptionists, producers, or insulation in the walls. All of these places interviewed me before I started and explained what would be expected of me. And oddly enough none of the agencies I’ve ever worked for mentioned “staying inspired” as one of the job requirements.But after a decade and a half in this industry, I’ve come to believe that not only is it part of my job, it’s the most important part. Because inspiration doesn’t just drive advertising, it drives our lives.
One of the phrases I repeat a lot is, “Everyone is creative.” I believe this. A lot of people don’t. They’ll tell you they aren’t the “creative type,” as if creativity is a personality trait. But that is a narrow, incomplete view. Creativity isn’t a talent. Being creative doesn’t mean being an artist or a songwriter. It means seeing the world as it is, but also as it could be. In ways both big and small. And creativity certainly isn’t something some of us have and some of us don’t. We’re all born with it. Just ask your parents about some of the excuses you gave them as a 4-year-old. They’ll tell you about your creativity.
The truth is, creativity is something some of us use, and some of us don’t. You know, like those muscles in your ass that you didn’t realize you had until you ran three blocks to catch your train. And just like a muscle, the more you use your creativity, the stronger it gets. Also, like a muscle, keeping creativity healthy depends in large part on how you fuel it. And that brings us back to inspiration.
Whether you realize it or not, think you’re “creative” or not, all of us spend every moment we aren’t flexing our creative muscles, looking for things to feed them. Don’t believe me? Have you clicked on anything interesting in your Facebook or Twitter feed lately? How about watching any films? Do you listen to music? Look at art? Read books? Go to seminars or lectures? Hang out in nature? Play with children? Ever have your mind wander in a meeting? Take a vacation someplace new? Try a new recipe? Hell, even when you fall asleep – have you ever had a dream? You think you’re doing these things on a whim? Just to kill time? Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not a choice. It’s an instinct – to be stimulated and motivated. To have thoughts you haven’t had before. It’s a thirst, coded into your DNA, that makes you a better, more creative person every time you quench it.
So embrace your creativity. Look forward to that thirst. Then go out and find a big ol’ glass of fresh inspiration, raise it high, and let’s toast to creative people – every last one of us.