So recently in my job as General Manager at IMGR we’ve had the chance to work on a new creative opportunity. Because we’re always striving for new and exciting ways to approach our work we gave the idea of writing sessions a try…
Writing by yourself is the usual way to do most things. Hell, I’m writing this alone. I don’t have someone co-writing it with me and helping with input to help the creative direction of the post. But, a particular custom job we’ve got at IMGR right now required us to approach things a little differently than usual. Instead of making only banging Radio Imaging, we need to make something that’s both sonically amazing and creatively clever all at the same time.
The Usual Process?
Normally I’d have one of the IMGR team write some lines, then everyone would set to producing them. A division of labour concentrating on the main skills of each team member. Al is the more experienced creative writer would realise the initial creativity. Kenny and Scott have a core focus in excellent sonic skills so they would help to best realise each script. In essence, it would be like having one person sketch the picture and another (or two) colour it in. This would be our usual expected approach to a job.
Why Do Something Different?
But, with this particular custom job we’re working on we’re trying to do something unexpected. Bringing personality and creativity to something in a new and creative way that while having been done in the past, hasn’t been something we as a team have worked on before. In order to deliver something unexpected I figured we’d need to create in an unexpected way. Shaking up the usual approach to generate new ideas.
So, What To Do?
To shake things up, we staged a writing session.
Writing Sessions consist of a group of people just all writing together to create new creative ideas. Kind of like a brainstorm, but it’s more about everyone developing each idea as it’s said aloud and written down. One person scribes, the rest just start riffing and talking; the scribe makes sure everything keeps on point and the conversation from going off on tangents. Nothing is off limits as long as it’s on topic, whether offensive or lame, cliche or left-field, anything and everything was put to paper (or google doc).
After an hour of this session, we had four pages of material to work with.
After the writing session as the scribe, I went back over and re-shaped some ideas and tidied up everything to present to the client.
I can see two clear benefits from well-run Writing Sessions.
- More creative ideas based on the input of many people.
- It took a lot less time to generate a substantial amount of content.
Point 2 is especially useful. Usually, a single writer might take half a day to a day to generate 4 pages of content. In one hour of a Writing Session, we managed to generate the same amount. That is extremely time efficient. Sometimes in a creative environment time is critical. The more you can save, the more you have to work on realising creative ideas.
Writing Sessions Rule
Moving forward we’ll continue to employ writing sessions as a creative tactic at IMGR. I’m extremely happy with the results and output and what’s more the client loved what we submitted in our initial drafts. That is a creative win and a time efficiency win.
Remember though, a writing session needs to be kept on target. Here are some suggestions to help run your own:
- Have a scribe who also keeps the writing session on the topic(s).
- Encourage everyone to shout out ideas, and write every single one down no matter what it is.
- Encourage on the spot development of someone’s idea. Re-word, rework and rewrite as a group together on the fly.
- Re-iterate the topic(s) every 10 minutes to help reboot thinking.
- Shut down any negative talk.
- Never run a session for longer than an hour.
- After the session, only the scribe should go through the ideas and formalise them.