• Jerry

when creative inspiration takes flight

It always comes back to the same necessity: go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard. (May Sarton)

Finding the right inspiration for projects can come from some unexpected places. The brochure project I just completed for a large computer company located in the Pacific Northwest had some unique challenges. How I found the creative solution was rather surprising.

The issue was a gaming device. I am not a gamer. Unless you consider old school Cribbage, or an occasional game of Mahjong on the computer. I grew up playing Asteroids and Pac-Man. I think about the “coolest” I ever got was playing games like Tetris and Galaga. None of this comes even remotely close to anything MMORPG that seems to be all the rage.

After a length of time writing and deleting a bunch of different approaches, I felt the need to step away from the computer. A quick trip into the kitchen to grab a fresh glass of water was the goal. What I got out of it was so much more.

Standing at the counter, I looked out the window when a flash caught my eye. Seems one of the neighborhood hummingbirds was taking a sip at the feeder outside our kitchen window.

Mesmerized, I watched as her wings flew in a blur, when suddenly she abruptly stopped and perched on the feeder. Guess this wasn’t a drive-by, but more like some leisurely sipping.


But that flash of inspiration sparked something. I had a thought that quickly translated into what I was looking for to capture the spirit of gaming (at least in my old-school brain). And within a matter of minutes, I had something down that I was quite proud of. The best part—the idea was approved for print with only some minor modifications. Which of course made me as giddy as I am every time a client “sees” my way of thinking. Or every time I see one of the dozens of hummingbirds that come to feed.

As an ad writer, I’ve had to dive in to a lot of different areas in order to learn to speak the language of the target demographic. From the off-roading/extreme sports mindset to knowing more about incontinence that I’d ever really care to admit, I feel it’s important to relate to the subject/issue I’m tasked to market. To know just know it, but to breathe it.

I’ll admit diving into some subject matters has been more fun to swim around in. Others, perhaps, not as easy.  More like swimming upstream in mud.

I guess the most important lesson for me, is to keep my eyes—and mind—open to what surrounds me. To jump in head first, and just be in the moment. Because I never know where the inspiration is going to come from.

What I do know, is that if I don’t capture it, sometimes, in a flash, it can be gone.

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