Prolific Search Marketing Blogger Reveals The Quick Method To Beat Creative Block


We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
Kurt Vonnegut

There are plenty of blog posts out there that give out tips on how to get past creative block.

But not that many of them are actually that actionable.

Take this post that appeared on lifehacker a year and a half ago. In it they suggest that you break creative block by embracing your bad ideas. Its not a new concept nor is it one that is particularly exciting. Anyone that has ever sat in on a brainstorming session will tell you that you just have to keep going and all bad ideas should be readily accepted and then challenged.

There are other posts like this one that appeared on FastCoDesign just over a year ago. There are some interesting points raised in the posts and some ideas that may indeed keep the internal cogs ticking over nicely. There are also some tips in there that aren't really going to help you that much: "realise that great work can result from intense struggle" - anyone who does anything creative for a living could tell you that one.

Some other posts on the topic are more enlightening - like this one from Gregory Ciotti. In it Gregory looks at real life studies and actually offers up solid advice that anyone can follow.

As someone who studied creatively at college and university (art and sculpture) and then followed a zigzagging path before ending up in SEO I find creativity (and where it comes from) fascinating. There are always posts on the buffer blog that cover this very thoroughly.

For a few years now SEO has been slowly moving towards the more creative end of marketing and it has not been easy for some in the industry to make that jump, or indeed those that are marketing their own sites.

The Tool That Really Helps

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams

Although I often use tools to help me get through the creative roadblocks that I have ( jumps to mind) I have recently started to use a quick technique invented by a musician to keep my mind fresh and the cogs-a-whirring.

Back in 1975 the musician Brain Eno and Peter Schmidt combined two similar projects they were working on to create and publish a deck of cards that they called Oblique Strategies.

Although they have not really seen too much light in public (they have been in and out of production since they were first released) you can find them and use them on this site:

Click the little button in the bottom left to get another random prompt!

Essentially they are a collection of phrases that are meant to encourage your brain to think more laterally.


Is it a bit pretentious? Probably, but I have found them to be quite helpful when I am heading nowhere fast.


Because they were designed with art and music in mind you will sometimes find that they don't always make complete sense, but for me that is half the fun.

Some of the best oblique strategies you may come across:

  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • Turn it upside down
  • Don't be frightened of cliches
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
  • Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
  • Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do

Get a full list here:

If they appear for sale again, it is likely to be here:

Get the full history of Oblique Strategies here:

What do you do to beat creative block?

About the Author: Wayne Barker

I work for Boom Online - an Online Marketing and SEO company based in Nottingham, England.

Boom Online

Additional Posts

Mobile SEO for Ecommerce: Bridging The Gap Between Google & Customers’ Fingertips

5 Ways to Add Brand Experience to Your Marketing

Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl Media explains 3 Clever Ways To Use Facebook Groups For Business for Search Engine People

3 Clever Ways To Use Facebook Groups For Business

In compliance with Ontario’s non-essential business closure our physical offices are closed until further notice. Fortunately our willingness to adopt work from home and the required technology over the past two years has allowed us to continue our operations without impact. For our valued clients and partners you can expect the same great level of service and execution you have become accustomed to.

Many clients/prospects have reached out to us in an effort to introduce new campaigns as quickly as possible. In an effort to help our clients pivot we have increased our campaign build capacity. We are now able to turn new campaigns over in 2-3 business days opposed to the typical 5-7 business day turnaround time. Please note that campaign launch approvals from the vendor side (Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram etc.) may be delayed as those companies migrate to work from home.

For existing clients please reach out to your account manager with any questions you may have.

For non-clients looking for assistance with new campaigns please Contact Us

Read previous post:
Mobile SEO for Ecommerce: Bridging The Gap Between Google & Customers’ Fingertips

The mobile web is growing leaps and bounds as we write. The whole world has gone mobile. Erick Schonfeld of...Read...