The thrill is in the "not knowing." (At least for me)
I love “not knowing.”
I love writing songs because generally I have no idea what that song is going to sound like when I’m done. I love taking little photo journeys, wondering what kind of shots I’m going to get. And in my job in advertising, I love the next creative opportunity and wondering how I, along with the team, are going to solve it. The “not knowing” is part of the thrill of the chase.
But if you’re creative, like me, you run into brick walls periodically. For me the brick wall is usually fortified with some kind of impenetrable force that stifles my enthusiasm, desire, and willingness to try harder.
As you grow as a creative person, the brick wall is perceived as a number of different things: the reason to quit your job, the reason you suck, the reason advertising may not be your calling, the reason to stop searching Some of these things may or may not be true. Generally, based on my experience, they’re not. (And really, we should never stop searching.)
But I have figured out the reason the brick wall exists. It exists because, generally speaking I “know too much.”
Let me explain.
As creative people, over time, we take on baggage. When you first start a creative endeavor, the only baggage you have is your own tendencies as a creative person, your past experience, and the things going on in your life. Your baggage, as far as your work is concerned, is relatively light. When a new client or opportunity comes along all things seem bright — you have a new challenge and you’re excited to see what your creative output is going to be.
Then, over time, baggage starts to build up. Client meetings. Rounds of work. More meetings. Dead concepts. Corporate machinations. A victory here and there. You begin to know the client, their taste, and their goals very well. You begin to see what the limits of your creativity can be within a certain context. It’s like going to the same location to shoot photography over and over again. Or writing songs with the same band for years — there is a good reason songwriters make solo albums.
When the definition of insanity starts to creep in — you know, the whole “doing the same thing over and over again” thing — you’re in real trouble. The wall begins to build.
This baggage corners your creative psyche inside your brain armed with a knife, threatening to stab and kill it.
So what do you do? Because knowing too much can kill the creative desire to discover, you need change. A new account. A new lens. A new photo location. A new musical instrument. Heck, move around your office to get a new perspective. Agencies can shift creative teams to new accounts. Change keeps things fresh and change brings new things to discover. It can also bring you back to where you were blocked with a whole new perspective too.
It’s good for agencies to recognize those who have hit a wall and help bring about the change the staff needs. What do you think? Are you driven by not knowing?