Seeking Inspiration

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Duncan Gray
Duncan Gray

“Don't forget you promised to write something for the Direct by design blog”, Kevin at DMNews reminded me in full ‘editor with a deadline approaching' tone of voice. So, here I am, faced with a blank white page of a word document with a cursor flashing, in search of inspiration.

 Of course, that's the way every creative brief starts –usually with a blank sheet of paper and its inspiration that leads to great ideas. I only have a day until he'll be hassling me again about it, so my search begins for what to write.

First, I try the 4 tried and tested inspirational places of the bed, bath, bar and bus. Laying ones head on the pillow with a great proposition has worked in the past, but the jetlag from recent travels mean I'm out faster than an anethesist's countdown.

The morning soak in the bath doesn't happen, due to teenage daughter's priorities, so the belief that the hotter the water, the greater the inspiration can't be tested in the alternative shower.

The bus is replaced by the London underground, but this thinking space doesn't work this time due to the overcrowding and close proximity of my fellow passengers listening to music at anti social levels.

Will the inevitable visit to the bar later in the day prove fruitful and will my new theory that I'm keen to test, that the more beer, the better the inspiration, be proven right? Unfortunately no, as drinking is a social pastime and no one else is interested is this brief, but it does work for another that couldn't be cracked in the un - inspiring office environment. It does seem that Guinness is not only inspiring through the advertising they produce, but drinking lots of it is also a possible route to a  Caples or Cannes Lion award.

The possibility of organising a brainstorm crosses my mind, but the lack of a job number and the thought of walls covered in a planners captured thoughts, put me off the idea.

I think of emailing Kevin to pick his massive, (probably) Harvard educated brain for what he thinks would be a good angle, but a feeling of intimidation and inferiority overwhelms me.

I remember that inspiration is all around us and that and that apparently, you can find inspiration in everything, and if you can't, you should look again. So, I decide to walk to a meeting, searching for inspiration in the streets of London; though its sights and sounds. There is much to inspire, but the continuous distraction of a Blackberry's buzz and a mobiles ring complete the journey with no thought of this pieces content.

Desperation, leads to thoughts to plagiarism in the writings and wise word of others. I've recently read Steve Harrison's book ‘How to be more creative' and he says that inspiration comes from the understanding of the problem. Well, I know what the problem is – I have a blank page to fill!

Back at home, the internet offers billions of pages of facts, images, films, blogs, tweets etc, the bookshelves are groaning with the inspiratational work and words of others in award annuals, advertising theory books and teenagers are in their bedrooms formatting the future. It is all too overwhelming and besides, the dinner bell has rung and there is great TV that has been saved to avoid the ads, to be watched.

 My wife is unsympathetic to my predicament, but breaks from an conversation about a girlfriends problems to remind me that the previous week had been spend judging great ( and not so great) work. The creative community of fellow judges was truly inspiring and I reflect on the missed opportunity of asking them what to write.

A full 24 hours in search of inspiration leads me back to bed and the realisation that there is no one source of inspiration – it is anywhere and everywhere. Creative solutions to marketing problems come from passion to do great work, so just keep your eyes and ears open.

Here's a few favourite of my inspirational places  that I visit regularly.          

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