Mad Men HalloweenI’m hooked on Mad Men (as you can see by the Halloween costume photo to the left). If you haven’t seen the television show, it’s about people who work in an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s. Don Draper, the head of the creative department, saves many client relationships by coming up with brilliant concepts at the last minute when his clients are about to walk. However, you don’t need to wait until you’re almost screwed to create great copy.

Simply read on to learn the top 5 ways that Don, Peggy and the crew overcome writer’s block.  

1. Take a Break In one episode of Mad Men, Don’s boss accuses him of looking like he’s never working. However, Don demonstrates that if you step away from your work, you’ll come back full of creative ideas that will impress even the most difficult client. Although Don’s favourite ways to clear his head involve drinking and womanizing, you may want to try exercising or going to a nearby coffee shop for some caffeine.  

2. Do Your Most Important Writing First Thing in the Morning At Sterling Cooper, the brightest stars arrive at the office early to focus on their most important projects before the rest of the staff is around to interrupt them. Tackling your biggest project first thing in the morning can give you a sense of accomplishment and save you lots of stress later in the day.  

3. Brainstorm At the beginning of a new project, you should ignore your inner critic and let your ideas flow. The creatives at Sterling Cooper know that brainstorming can jumpstart the creative process, whether you prefer jotting down notes or dictating ideas to your assistant. Plus, it’s always fun to watch the characters try to one-up each other with the best ideas.  

4. Take a Nap There’s nothing like a good nap to refresh you, and more than one employee at Sterling Cooper has been caught sleeping the job. However, if you decide to take a nap remember to …  

5. Keep a Notebook Nearby for Ideas Don’t be like copywriter Paul Kinsey. He had a brilliant idea during an office all-nighter, fell asleep without writing it down and forgot it. Although Peggy covered for him, you might not be so lucky!   Try some of these tips the next time you struggle with copywriter’s block. You might even finish your project early enough to enjoy a long lunch with your co-workers (just don’t eat the oysters).

5 Responses

  1. Absolutely true! “Mad Men” should be required watching for every marketer, writer, costume designer & history buff.

    I enjoy that most of these tips involve enjoying your profession as a writer. A fun reminder that we actually chose this path, & can continue to choose creative ways to execute it every day.

    Thanks for a giggly-yet-serious read!

    1. Hi Meredi,

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, Mad Men should be required viewing for anyone in marketing or advertising. It’s interesting to see the history of advertising and learn what’s still relevant today.

      Have a great day!

  2. Great list, however not everyone does their best, most focused work early in the morning. Either you’re an early riser or a nighthawk –I think we’re all programmed internally one way or the other.

    Late evenings can provide the same tranquil peace many of early morning-goers swear by as the most opportune window during which things get done.

    Draper works late all the time. I doubt I’ve ever seen him roll into the office earlier than 9 unless a client’s in the house.

    1. Hi Darryl,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, it’s also true that many people are more creative and productive at night. I’ve seen it go both ways on Mad Men – with the staff hard at work in the morning or pulling all-nighters. I guess that leaves the mid-afternoon for a nap.