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It’s pronounced “creativity”, but it’s spelled “effort”.

When we see a brilliant headline that just nails it and puts in words what we feel in just the right way, we tend to attribute it to a burst of creativity. Especially when we ourselves struggle with this kind of eloquence. It seems that some people are just naturally born to find these words.

Yet, we often overlook the fact that a brilliant wording is usually not the result of the first attempt. Creativity means effort. It means to just not settle with the first idea, but to keep digging deeper and deeper until we find a wording that truly nails it.

David Ogilvy, probably the world’s most famous headline writer, was said to tirelessly come up with alternatives, sometimes more than a hundred, before he would even start to evaluate and choose one.

It’s a technique that I regularly use in my own work and I call it the Ogilvy method: Don’t settle with the first idea but keep the variations coming and coming.

If you make that a habit, you will find yourself looking behind the corners and taking unusual routes much more often – leading to much more creative results.

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