I’m living proof this can be done, because TA DA, I’ve been trying to write a blog for months now and have kept pushing it to the back of my to-do list in favour of client work (grateful to be super busy!), socialising (cause, wine), travelling (blame wedding season), playing with my new kitten (Pai is the definition of loveable) and basically any other task that would feed the procrastination monster within.
But here we are. And you know what? It feels good. Plus, it wasn’t that hard to get started, which brings me to today’s topic of choice – helping you beat writer’s block and start writing that thing you’ve been meaning to write for days, weeks or months (hell, it might’ve even been years, and if so - no judgement here!).
Most of us have experienced writer’s block at some point in our lives. Coming up with fresh, engaging, on-brand copy can be challenging (sometimes the creative juices just aren’t flowing like they should be, you know?), and the more you stare at that blank page on your notebook or screen, the more intimidated you feel. The good news? There are some simple strategies out there to help you get started. But first, we’ve gotta hit you with a couple of truth bombs:
Truth bomb #1: Perhaps you don’t have writer’s block at all. Perhaps you’re simply unprepared.
Truth bomb #2: Being productive is a choice.
Truth bomb #3: Even professional writers have no idea where to start sometimes, but with deadlines to meet and clients to wow, we start anyway. And so should you!
OK, now we’re all on the same page, here are some tips for being more prepared, more productive, and last but not least, getting started:
Make a plan! Decide what your goals are for the piece of content you need to write, who the audience is, what information it needs to include (then go get it!), what tone of voice it needs to reflect (read our blog about nailing your tone of voice here) and what your deadlines are.
Do your research. Take time to explore what your competitors and global industry leaders have done with their e-book/newsletter/brochure/website/Instagram/whatever and get inspired. If you can, talk to people in the target audience directly and immerse yourself in the topic you’re writing about.
Don’t give yourself excuses – give yourself a goal. Commit to just 30 minutes of hard mahi by switching off your phone, clicking out of your emails and popping in headphones (or making the room completely silent, if that’s your jam). I guarantee you’ll be on so much of a roll that you’ll want to keep going for at least a full hour.
Don’t worry about writing formulas or getting everything in the right order, just start with a brain dump of all the content you’ve got to work with. Referring to your plan with your goals, audience and other key pieces of info will help keep you on track.
Once you’ve got your base content, you can start to finesse one section at a time. And you don’t necessarily need to start in chronological order. Trying to think of a headline for an article for media release, for example, can be hard when you don’t even know what angle you’re going to take – so do the headline at the end instead. Once you’ve got a rough draft, you can start to work through it to ensure it’s conversational, concise and convincing (more tips on how to do this here!).
My favourite tip? Set yourself a false deadline (ideally a day or two before it’s due). Allowing yourself ample time to work on a project ensures you’re able to review it with fresh eyes. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep, or even just a walk around the block, can do for your brain and therefore your ability to write great copy. Oh, and when channeling your inner copywriter, remember - coffee is your pal.
If you’ve given the above tips a red-hot crack and you’re still really struggling, I hate to say it folks, but the biggest truth bomb of all is that you might just straight up suck at writing.
And that’s OK! It’s more than OK actually - it’s great - because that means you’re bound to be fantastic at other things! How boring would the world be if we were all equally talented with numbers? Or badminton? Or making cheese? Actually, scratch the last one – the world would be wonderful if we all made cheese…
If the thought of handing your copywriting tasks over a professional who LOVES writing and LOVES making your life easier sounds like a good time, give us a call. We’ll take those writing projects off your hands (and nail them), while you go back to doing the things you’re great at, and most importantly, enjoy doing.