When I was at university I was lucky enough to have a tutor called Martin Buzzacott. He was a lot of fun and quite unconventional, and at that stage he was in the middle of writing his second novel.
I remember asking him what his novel was about and he looked at me rather strangely and said, "I don’t know yet, I haven’t finished it".
This struck me at the time because I was particularly fascinated by the process of writing and creativity (not much has changed), and there was a lot of focus on writing by numbers … define your characters, build a plot outline etc. Martin’s approach was a breath of fresh air.
The reason I bring this up is to do with the importance of writing in the development of strategy. We can all get carried away in running workshops and meeting people and digging into the ribs of business, but the hard work of strategy, and the most creative elements are in the writing of your plans.
It is only when you sit down, focus and start writing that all the elements begin to wrestle with each other in your subconscious mind. And as you continue to write and develop your ideas, you mind will make staggering connections and then throw them up for you to write down. It is almost like magic.
But like any form of writing, it often does not come easily — and you can also fall victim to "writers block". For marketers and planners, at least there is always a looming deadline to kick you into gear!
The challenge is to make sure that as you write up your strategy that you also allow yourself some freedom so that a compliant idea can work its way in.
I think in many respects, blogs are a great way of producing short form strategy. They keep you writing, keep your brain active, and when you are loving the hypertext, you start to behave online in the same way that our brains do. Hmmm … now that has got me thinking!
S.