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Borrowing Brilliance A "swipe file" helps you generate good ideas.

By Jerry Fisher

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When you sit down to create a piece of advertising, theproverbial blank sheet of paper has been replaced by the blankdocument screen. But what still remains is the angst of what towrite down that will resonate with prospects.

It's almost never easy. But don't make the job harder byjust staring at the ceiling, trying to divine greatness. Usesomething to kick-start the creative process.

For many, that something is a swipe file--a collection of ads,direct mail, e-mail marketing letters and so on--that you clip andfile because they grabbed your attention. They needn't berelated to your own project. My swipe file is jammed with materialon enterprise categories I've never worked on. I figure ifthey're catchy enough to stop me as I flip--or click--througheditorial matter, they might one day trigger an attention-grabbingidea I can use. Author Edward Werz, in 1987's Letters That Sell, concurs that when you"review the file while thinking about [your project] . . .ideas will begin to flow fast and furiously."

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