Last year, we produced a first time user conference for a high-tech company and it was great, actually it was beyond great, it was downright awesome. It most definitely didn’t feel nor look like a first time conference. This year we’re at it again and everyone keeps asking us – how are you going to top last years. Talk about pressure.
It got me thinking about my creative process and how I was going to “top” last years. To be honest, I’m not looking to “top” last years. This years conference is going to be completely different and we’re going to create a one-of-a-kind experience for the attendees.
So how do I start? I have a jumping off point – a word, a feeling, an image – something that inspires me. I don’t start at the beginning – I actually start in the middle. This might seem a bit strange, but the reason why is because I envision so many different elements and directions that we could take the event from the food to the decor to the design. I love creating scenarios and visions for the event. If I started on page one, chapter one I would be stuck in a direction that I guarantee you, I wouldn’t like.
I found this Ted Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love talking about creativity. She had a best seller with her book, so you can imagine the pressure to produce another chart topper.
I don’t know about you all, but my brain doesn’t shut down – it’s always going, always thinking of new ways to showcase something or and idea for an event and it can be really stressful. You never know when inspiration is going to strike. It normally strikes me in the car or just as I’m going to sleep or waking up – not the most convenient time.
I love the part of this video when she is talking about the Tom Wades, a musician who was driving when inspiration struck with a beautiful melody. Instead of getting frustrated that he was going to lose the inspiration, he stop the car and looked up to the sky and said “excuse me, can’t you see that I’m driving. Does it look like I can write down a song right now?” Instead of getting stressed out about not having a piece of paper to write it down or in his case, a piano – he just let it go. It sounds really freeing. He knew it would come back or something better would.
So back to the conference we’re producing, how are we going to top it? I’m going to follow my creative process, occasionally have a chat with the sky, especially when inspiration strikes at inopportune times and know that we will create one heck of an experience for the guests. They will think we topped it – but we will know that we created something unique and memorable.
Take 19 minutes to listen to this talk, especially if you are in a creative rut. We’ve all been there, especially when it’s our job to come up with all the wonderfully crazy, wacky, inspiring ideas. Maybe talking to a wall or to the sky might just take some of the pressure off.
Happy Monday and cheers to your creative genius.