How many times can you beat a dead horse?


Never too many.

Whenever I’m stuck on a brief (or worse, whenever I think I’ve already solved it!), it’s easy to spend the rest of the afternoon beating a dead horse.

This means: re-reading it over and over and over again. Tweaking individual words or sentences. Nodding at yourself in congratulation, mouthing “You’ve done it again, chap!” to the reflection in your laptop’s screen.

If I ever stopped there, which I sometimes do, the result is often a sub-par, crappy brief, that hasn’t covered all of the angles and hasn’t anticipated potential pushback from either client or creatives.

So, instead of stopping, I walk.

For a while.


I call it my walkabout.

This means: trekking to the Starbucks that’s blocks and blocks away, even when there’s one next door. Going to a park — hey, there are probably plenty around here! Going to the mall, and being “with the consumers.”

The point is, walkabouts help get the gears in your mind turning. It takes the brief or strategy that you’ve already signed and sealed, and pours over it a few more times, subconsciously. As you’re out and about, stimulated by different people, different things, and even fresh air (!), your brain stops beating that dead horse… and starts beating brand new ones.

The walkabout might give you an epiphany. It might help you see the problem or solution in a new way. It might even tell you that your initial instinct, your first crack at the plate, was wrong — or at least, not completely right.

Who would’ve thought that?

Read more from John at The Planning Notepad

About John Krissilas

John Krissilas has written 6 post in this blog.

Old dog. New tricks.