“We all have a muse,” said Monique Farmer, APR. “But as PR and communications people, we often find ourselves putting out fires and working on the challenges du jour.” Just as we did when children, as professionals, “we have to give ourselves permission to be creative and to hear that muse.”
Farmer, a frequent contributor to Strategies & Tactics, spoke to PRSA Editor-in-Chief John Elsasser on March 24 for the latest episode of “Strategies & Tactics Live.” The monthly livestream on the PRSA LinkedIn page features discussions with the publication’s contributors and delves deeper into the topics of their articles.
Farmer is CEO and founder of Anvil Ready, a PR and communications firm in Omaha, Neb., that provides online software to help create, implement and evaluate communications plans. She also teaches PR management at the University of Nebraska and is president-elect of PRSA’s Nebraska Chapter.
In her article for the March issue of Strategies & Tactics, titled “Channeling Childhood Creativity to Achieve Professional Success,” Farmer recalled her creativity as a child, when she used to write her own songs.
Organizational structures can stifle creativity but “for me, now, it’s so important in the morning to find that quiet place, so I can find that muse,” she said. After a good night’s rest, she likes to take long walks around the lake near her house, to see the trees and sing a song. That relaxing, introspective routine “gives me time to think and to come up with creative ideas that I can put into use professionally,” she said.
Farmer advocates that PR people use songwriting techniques when writing press releases or other communications material: find a hook, a chorus, a good beat and the right length. This approach helps “inject some creativity into our pieces that will grab the reader’s attention,” she said. To make your writing more melodious, print it out and read it aloud to hear any awkward passages or sour notes.
Just as she urges communicators to rediscover their childlike creativity, Farmer recommends reviewing the basics of writing: Use an active voice, brush up on AP Style and its changes, and stick to a central theme.