By Arjun Mukherjee. Arjun is a Creative Director with Bates 141, Kolkata.
Probably the most dreaded thing that gives any creative animal sleepless nights is the disease commonly described as a ‘creative block’. It’s like someone has placed your tender neck on the chopping block where many executioners appointed by the agency stand with gleaming, sharp axes in their hands. Other oddballs in the creative department look at you with sympathy dripping from their eyes or stand with daggers drawn, busy bees in the account management smirk at you inside the loo and even the chicken tandoori that the helping hand lovingly packed in silver foil seems bland and boring.
Until that idea pops up and goes ‘trinnng’ over your head the feeling doesn’t go. It’s gnaws away into your ego and even forbids you to facebook, twitter or blog away to glory on boring everyday issues. By then you have been through the brief about 102 times, have summoned the pale junior executive to your table and bullied him on irrelevant points that wouldn’t have made a difference whatsoever. You have changed pens, drawn massive doodles on your pad and even wished you joined that accounting job which your mamaji kindly offered when you were fresh out of college. Still the idea doesn’t show any inclination of making even a guest appearance of some kind.
So what is next? You harass the planner for hours on end and casually peek into the screen of the other team trying to crack the same idea. Then stepping into the cold conference room you shut yourself from the world and stare with intent at the white board, which is choc-a-bloc with scribbles
from the previous day’s brain -storming. When that doesn’t help, you shift to the half-lit library and scan through piles of advertising annuals
looking for inspirations and any semblance of an idea. By this time you are really in an ugly mood and pick up a fight with the hapless system guy for not allowing useless downloads on your machine. Yes, you’ve pushed and pushed and pushed but still the idea doesn’t break water and take birth.
Some more cups of coffee later you feel ‘guard dog like’ awake but ‘domesticated cow like’ blank. You have tried each and every classical trick in the book when it comes to cracking an idea but to no avail. The spectacles seem heavy, the shirt claustrophobic, and your cushy chair seems
to have suddenly become the breeding ground of porcupines. Staring at the ceiling light you breathe out a gasp and wonder why the F*** this had to
happen you. Depressed and dejected you kiss the brief goodbye and step out for a long walk. The fresh air uplifts your mood a bit and this is followed by a trip to the local bookstore where you feverishly dig into the new collection of graphic novels. A big bite into a cheese brownie in the neighbourhood coffee shop and suddenly you see it…the idea. It comes from
nowhere particular and pops over your head shamelessly with a big, goofy smile on its face. Quickly you ask the waiter for a pencil and scribble it down the triangular long face of the napkin resting on your table.
Stepping into office with a big smile on your face you explain to your creative partner how and where the idea crash-landed on your head. He doesn’t seem surprised and replies that once he hit upon an award winning idea while lying flat inside a MRI scan machine. This gets you curious and you ask more people in the creative department about where their big idea
bumped into them. The results vary from the ordinary to the bizarre…dance bar, public toilet, maternity ward, sauna bath, elephant dhow, Ferris wheel and bungee ledge to name a few. However the most important revelation was the fact that the big idea moment happened for a quite a few outside the cold confines of their workplace.
Yes all you got to do sometimes is step outside your cubicle when you are stuck silly. Watch a movie, buy a book, eat a quiche, walk aimlessly, step into the video store, get a head massage, feed a dog some biscuits, go to the planetarium, check out cool electronics, have your feet scrubbed, dry your nail polish, talk to a mannequin, and do whatever you want to. In the process you not only unglue and open your mind but you may just stumble onto that killer idea that was previously eluding you like a red crab on the beach. It’s not a regular prescription for overcoming a ‘creative block’ but more on the realms of new-age alternative healing that may work miracles from time to time. Here’s what, if you have finished reading this article, why not take a break and test the theory by GETTING THE HELL OUT OF OFFICE.
See other articles by Arjun here