by Sam Harrison
I once heard author Ian Fraser tell of being on a fishing trip with fellow writers Mark Singer and John McPhee.
“It was a cold, rainy day, and we weren’t catching anything,” said Fraser. “After a few hours, Singer said, ‘You know, this is masochism.’ And McPhee laughed and said, ‘No, this is optimism.’”
I love Fraser’s story because it applies to the creative process.
Sometimes our luck seems to be running out when it comes to snagging a few fresh ideas. Or maybe we have ideas, but clients keep tossing them overboard.
In those sad times, it’s easy to feel a bit sorry for ourselves. To feel the world is against us. To feel we’re stuck in a masochistic business.
But if we let ourselves go there, we get bitter. And if we get bitter, we don’t get better. Instead, we become victims. And victims, by definition, are powerless.
“You have to believe in what you’re doing and not get bitter,” says Jakob Trollback, founder and creative director of Trollback + Company. “If you let it harden you, you’re going to just get old and dull.”
So the next time you find yourself planning a pity party, seek out some optimism. Take a break. Go for a walk. Visit an upbeat blog. Talk to a positive friend. Launch a new project. Start your day over.
You’ve done it before and you can do it again. Ideas are swimming around in your mind and in the world around you. You can catch them. And you can sell them.
Sam Harrison is a speaker, workshop leader and writer on creativity-related topics. His latest book, IdeaSelling: Successfully pitch your creative ideas to bosses, clients and other decision makers, was released in May by HOW Books. He is also the author of IdeaSpotting: How to find your next great idea, and Zing!: Five steps and 101 tips for creativity on command.