At some point along the way, most writer’s will run into the wonderful creative dead end of writer’s block.
It hits hard and can take a bit of time to shake.
Ideas just don’t flow like they should and you end up in a battle of wits with a laptop screen for an indefinite time frame.
Of course it bloody does.
And what if you’re not a writer?
What if you’re a business owner who wants to write their own website, flyers, or emails?
The longer you spend on the next sentence, the less time you’re working on your actual business.
It’s time down the toilet that you might not get back.
I’ve put together 5 simple ways to beat writer’s block and get back to what you do best – running your business.
“No matter how blocked you may be, you still have the capacity to imagine something new—no matter how small and silly it may seem”
Read a bunch and take notes
It’s the yin and yang of literacy.
Reading and writing.
Reading a wide and varied amount of different sources means you’ll have more to draw on when attempting to craft new ideas and messaging in your copy.
With more input, there is more output.
Sounds like exactly what we could all do with.
And when I say reading, it doesn’t have to be Atwood or Hemingway (I mean, that doesn’t hurt).
It can be your favourite blog, news column or even your competitors website copy. The more you take in, the more you’ll have to get out.
And it’s simply not enough to just read.
I mean, that’s great.
But just like back in school, the only way to reinforce and strengthen your own understanding of the concepts on the page in front of you, is to make sure you’re jotting down key points.
This solidifies the fundamentals of what you’re reading.
What’s the writer saying?
Who are they saying it to?
Without the notes, it’s too easy for that information to just slide on into that already stressed out mind of yours, and then straight back out.
One of the great parts about reading to help your writer’s block is that the further removed you are from your own writing, the more left-field your ideas will get.
Yeah it’s great to stay on point and on message, writing copy compels you to do that.
But if you can find some new language, or concepts that may seem foreign to whatever business you’re writing for, you stand a great chance at finding a truly unique sticking point that others just won’t.
And that’s something all writers strive for.
Do a little free writing
If you’re struggling to get a single word on the page, a little warm up might help.
Just like most activities, the more you practice, the more fluent the action that follows.
It works for sports, it works for musicians. It works for writers too.
One of the most often touted techniques to spark a flurry of new ideas is to simply free write regularly.
But what is it?
Free writing is the concept of shutting up that inner editor that’s always talking you down from one idea to the next.
It’s the fluid escape of ideas from your mind while you do one thing: write.
Just get those damn ideas on the page, screen, parchment or even the cave wall
Get. It. On. The. Page.
It’s brilliant for finding any ideas that may be relevant to your current task, or maybe not — it doesn’t matter
As long as the words are there.
Once you have all of these ideas in front of you, it becomes easier to see everything as a collective whole. Drawing connections between concepts that may have seemed alien to each other prior.
And if it’s crap? Good.
Kind of like a golfer on the driving range. Get those average shots out of you before you hit the actual course.
You’ll be prolific, in the zone, and ready to focus on the content and messaging that your business copy needs.
Ultimately, this exercise frees up your imagination and allows different perspectives that get a little clouded when you have too much to think about them.
It’s a short and sweet task that will make your writing way more engaging and fun to read.
Get yourself moving – go for a walk
This is one I need to do a lot more of.
Walking or exercise can be a great way to inspire creativity when your writing’s in a bit of a slump.
It could be regular exercise, or it could be when you’re stuck at your desk with absolutely no clue on how the next sentence is ever going to get written.
All you need to know — movement is key.
Let’s be honest, we’re not supposed to be sitting down all day, and writing just can’t be done while standing around moving.
But, the inspiration for plenty of great writing can come from a little bit of fresh air and a change of location.
Going for a walk breaks up your writing session.
It encourages some time away from that pesky text that just isn’t working
And I’m sure a lot of you out there already do this.
You can get a little crazy sitting in front of the glow of a computer monitor all day.
We know walking relaxes us and that it’s good for our health. But it’s even better for igniting our memory and sharpening our attention.
Compared to sitting, walking means we’re exerting physical energy. And if your muscles are moving, so is your mind.
And hey, if you really want to push it, take an extended break and get on down to your pool for a few laps. Or if you’re lucky enough, hit up the beach or lake or creek or…
You get it.
Just go for a swim.
Because as you’ve probably guessed, if walking sparks up our energy and creative thoughts, how bloody well would some aerobic exercise do it?
Very well actually
So if the words have got you down, close the laptop, step away from the desk, and get outside.
Try some other creative activities
Now as creative as we can all get when writing, it can feel laborious and little tiring at times.
Sometimes it’s not the creative task that you should be doing.
You’re creative itch needs to be scratched some other way.
This is where you put the pen down and pick up the paint brush.
Or the gardening gloves.
Or anything else that you enjoy and allows you to get creative.
It might be getting stuck back into your business if that’s what drives you the most.
It doesn’t need to be anything you feel competent in. It just needs to be stimulating and hopefully rewarding.
Having any hobby that you do for your own enjoyment is exactly the kind of activity that removes you from the writing process and gets the creative juices flowing.
Getting into the garden to do some weeding, baking some delicious food, writing a song that only you’ll ever hear.
It’s all good.
Why not do some problem solving?
If you’re a video gamer, just get stuck into whatever level it was the last time you piffed the controller out the window.
Do something you enjoy and forget about writing.
But remember, if you end up getting too distracted by whatever you decide to do, that means you’ve crossed over into procrastination purgatory.
Now nothing gets done.
So keep a timer on it, have a bit of fun. And then get back to the blank page.
“Getting involved in something else we enjoy helps us remember that writing is an important part of us, yes, but it’s not everything.”
Set a timer and just go!
Ok, we’ve given everything else a crack, and it just isn’t working.
Read a bunch of stuff? Check
Written some ridiculous thoughts down? Done.
Gone for a walk? Just got back.
Still nothing. nada . zilch.
Here’s the final tip.
Set the timer, and just write about your topic.
This isn’t the same as free writing. If you’re working from a brief, then write down any ideas that come directly from it.
Stay on topic.
This is going to give you a pile of writing to pick something from.
This allows you to throw a bunch of stuff about your subject at a wall and try and make it stick.
Even if it’s just paraphrasing the brief.
Or going onto Google and jotting down some notes of stuff you didn’t know.
Something is definitely better than nothing.
And with your timer hitting zero, you’ll find you’ve actually achieved something.
Even if it’s just a little research
That’s a win.
It’s these little arbitrary constraints that allow you to break up whatever monumental task you have before you and turn into smaller chunks — a great way to make your writing goals instantly more attainable.
Personally, I love to use the Pomodoro timer online. Every time I’ve got it on, I feel like the time just flies by.
And yeah, at the end, I’ve got a mountain of crap writing. But there’s always something useful.
Something that kicks off the next big idea or lead.
Not bad, I reckon.
Find what works for you
Writer’s block can be a struggle for even the most gifted writers.
Having some simple exercises gives you the power and motivation to get your brand’s message and benefits onto the screen.
If you’re lacking ideas, take a break, get up and do something else and always come back fresh.
Yeah it can be a little time consuming, but it’s essential to finding something that wasn’t there before.
And hey, if all else fails. And you’re this close to throwing your computer in the bin, why not get in touch with a professional business copywriter.
Let me scream at my screen and you get back to your business.