As we enter the first week of February, now is a great time to reflect and check-in on those New Year’s resolutions we were so eager to share with family over the holidays. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already started to question paying $75/month for a gym membership or $200 on groceries at Whole Foods each week. These are what I like to call, “Reach Resolutions”, as each year it’s completely unrealistic that I am going to get anywhere close to meeting them.
This year, however, I did write down a few resolutions that pertained specifically to having a career as a creative. While walking a mile to the gym in 10 degree weather seemed unattainable, I wanted something that I could hold myself accountable for each week.
1. Rip out/print off an Ad you deem successful each week.
As a student of the industry, it’s crucial that we examine what is currently out there making money for clients (or in some cases, just the opposite). After you’ve found an advertisement you connect with, think to yourself what it’s concept might have been. Were they successful in their execution? How would you have gone about the headline and/or art direction? Keep these in a separate folder as inspiration in the future when your head has sustained multiple bruises from trying to pound out an idea.
2. Discover and research a new agency each week.
Whether you are a student or an award winning Creative Director, it is always wise to stay abreast* of what is going on in your industry. As you creep closer to graduating from Portfolio School, knowing which agencies created the ads that have inspired you may help in deciding where to apply for work. Like any business, knowing the history of those who have come before you and the players currently on the field is extremely advantageous. Learn prominent names. Discover where they are located. Remember what they have produced. Knowledge is powerful.
*made a secondary resolution to use new words
3. Each day, have a set-time for writing and/or refining a new skill.
Simply put, you can never stop perfecting your craft. The more you practice, the better you will become. To develop a routine is only going to get more ideas out there for you to choose from. Copywriters - pick up a notebook at Target and write for 30 mins each day. When you’re done, shut the book and come back to it after some time away from it. Art Directors - mock up an idea you’ve been sitting on or watch a tutorial at Lynda.com. Some days may produce crap, but getting yourself to sit-down and start is half the battle.
4. Continue to have a life.
We are in the business of advertising and marketing. We must know what is going on in the world around us and what is “in” these days. Additionally, every creative must make time for themselves to relax and give your brain a break. Nothing is more frustrating than a creative-block from exhaustion.
Happy New Year! If you have a hard time committing to something this year, you have over 340 days to think of something for 2017. It better be good.
Written by CPS Blogger and 2nd Quarter Copywriter: Sean Kunz