I have spent considerable time developing a strategy for creating new poetry ideas for my clients to ensure that the business and their customer needs are met, and all stakeholders are satisfied.
While I cannot share all of my creative processes in one blog post, here are a few things I do to ensure that my ideas are fresh, innovative, poignant, and timely.
1. I never stop learning
The root of creativity is cultivated by how I feed my mind and what I allow to enter my environment and space. I like to read the news, current culture, novels, fiction and nonfiction, self-help, historical reads, and poetry books to ensure that I have a vast knowledge covering various topics.
A couple of days ago, I finished reading The Great Divorce by C S Lewis, and today, I am starting two new books, 'Does God Believe in Atheists' by John Blanchard and '7 Habits of Highly Effective People.'
I quickly come up with two to three new ideas a week for poems based on what I read. Some ideas are only sometimes brilliant and are not worth producing. However, my passion for learning constantly brings new ideas and concepts that I document in a notes space on my phone called 'New Ideas.'
When a client comes along, I've already considered poetry ideas that may fit their guidelines and desired outcomes. I am not reaching for ideas from the invisible idea machine because my mind is predisposed to be inspired by life already!
Finding ideas for clients is not about generating ideas on the spot but about having your dream clients in mind as you are inspired daily. I am passionate about many topics: politics, technology, innovation, health and beauty, the environment, faith, and justice. The client I will attract will likely be in one of those areas, and I intentionally keep up with these areas to ensure that I am up to date with all material. Therefore, when the client queries my poetry services, I have them in mind before they send me an email or a DM on Instagram!
2. Use Apps and Tools to gain new inspiration.
Some of my best ideas have come from scanning Pinterest, Behance, Adobe Cloud Stock Footage, or other online tools. As a visual learner, I like to picture what I see in my head; Apps like Pinterest allow me to find references that support those ideas and further develop them. I like to create Pinboards, save visual masterpieces on Behance, and create folders on my Google Drive.
Technology is such a beautiful tool if used correctly. After briefing a client, I like to create mood boards, pace up and down my room and daydream, journal, and eventually organise the chaos in my mind into a mood board, short essay, production sheet, audio, or draft video.
3. I study my client intensely.
I spend a lot of time on Linked In. I am interested in what my clients and future clients are doing. I engage with their content, study comments, websites, and social platforms, to become familiar with the copywriting, stylistic choices, and words they choose.
This is important because you need to know your client well to produce outcomes that suit them and their customer.
Not too long ago, I opened an awards show. The poem was only a minute long, but it perfectly suited the audience, their worries, and their needs. Like other projects I've worked on, this collaboration was with a choir. My role was to start the poem when the choir director gave me the signal. The creative director was aware of this. However, he asked me to turn around at the beginning of the performance; this would not have been possible as I needed to see my cue, and there was no option to have in-ears for this performance. In sharing this story, I only have one intention: highlight that for every job, project, and production, there are ideas (and it is good to have ideas). However, ideas and creativity are still governed by laws, just like companies and my future clients.
Each company has a set of creative laws that they comply with that fit their branding, image, identity, and goals. I can only notice those laws if I am already familiar with their content.
If a company contacts me and I need to become more familiar with their work, customs, culture, or creative laws, that's also okay. I use their arrival in my inbox as an opportunity to look into their goals, social media, and mission to serve them in the best way possible.
4. I look at, ponder, reflect, and appreciate art.
I spend a lot of time meditating on art. I'm particularly interested in how movies, live shows, museums, and theatre use various art mediums to create memorable experiences for their audiences. To date, one of my favourite theatre performances is The Lion King. The costuming, the colourful vibrancy, and the musical composition were nothing short of spectacular.
I am reminded that one person's creative gift supports another; art is a collaborative endeavour. Therefore, when I think about new ideas for clients, I always start with the most radical and dangerous ideas, break forth from the standard, and drive to challenge the norm.
The function of poetry (in and of itself) is to provoke a response - sometimes, the intention is for a positive reaction, and sometimes, it may bring up uncomfortable feelings. Occasionally, it will change a perspective or encourage someone to keep going. My role as an artist is to be inspired by art and the world around me and filter those inputs through the client's intended aims.
Yayoi Kusama is a brilliant example of what 'not being afraid to push the boundaries' looks like. She has a unique style and approach to her paintings. While our art expressions cover different mediums, she confidently demonstrates what it means to challenge social norms and boundaries healthily through her art.
5. I Imagine what I will be wearing.
I picture the lights, the haze. What kind of microphone will I use, the demographic of people in the room? I imagine my thoughts before walking on stage and the visuals behind me. I think about the kind of people I work with and the need to open the event powerfully. I think about the feelings that will sit in the room long after I am finished and the follow-up conversations.
Imagining myself in the room, even in the early stages of conception, helps me to consider how and what things will look like, as well as the recipients of the poem.
This is a necessary step to prepare me for the on-stage performance and for what will present itself when I come off-stage.
I want to add that creating brilliant concepts and ideas begins with creating a life full of wonder. I am thankful for my life, the significant elements, and the more challenging seasons. Instead of trying to force creativity, I create an environment that promotes holistic creativity by being a lifelong learning, stretching the creative boundaries, and working on my mind, relationships, and external activities - so that when my clients come along, it's a natural transaction of ideas rather than a strained and overbearing endeavour.