It’s 9:53PM. You’re 300 words away from finishing that blog post on the ‘Top 5 ways to serve the perfect Sunday roast’. But then writer’s block kicks in and words have ceased to exist. It feels as if that last paragraph about cauliflower cheese has flipped your entire understanding of the world upside down!
We’ve all been there
As a copywriter, no matter where you are or what you’re producing, hitting that wall of frustration that stops you firmly in your tracks can be an all-too-common occurrence. Whether you’re ten pages deep, or two lines from the top, it can seriously ruin your day.
It’s not just your day that’s at the risk of ruin from writer’s block either. Thinking about the knock-on effects of feeling completely stuck in the mud when writing can result in some serious stress, and that causes even more issues in itself.
We’re here to help. With this article, we’ll guide you through the process of beating the block so that you won’t feel like pulling your hair out when searching for that next elusive word (and all without missing those deadlines).
What is writer’s block?
It’s more than just a term given to that all-too-familiar feeling of literary despair. With any form of writing task, and particularly for content and copywriting, writer’s block is an experience that can create a sense of confusion capable of detracting from the quality of your work.
It can also leave you feeling demotivated, dissatisfied, and feeling as if you’re not cut out for writing at all. And that’s the last thing you need…
On a personal level, writer’s block is the bane of my existence. But this natural phenomenon can be experienced by any individual at any time, even when simply typing out a text message to your best friend.
However, you can get on top of it, which is great news for both you and your writing.
How do we beat it?
When that dreaded block strikes, keep your cool. The worst thing you can do at that moment in time is panic. The deadline may be close, and you might be getting ready to transform your keyboard into a pile of plastic confetti, but you’re going to get past it one way or another:
Get comfortable and find your focus
A comfortable sitting position is crucial no matter what you’re writing, or how long you’re going to be writing it for. If you’re comfortable and relaxed, you’ll find it easier to keep your mind clear and focused.
Take a 10-minute break
Whether you’re on a roll, or trying to roll uphill. A short break will benefit you enormously. One of the best ways to write better copy and content is to keep things fresh. Whether you have writer’s block or not, simply relax and clear your mind for just ten minutes and you’ll feel more energised when getting back down to business. You could even try meditation!
Even if it’s “just for a few minutes”. It’s too easy to get lost in other activities, and it’s one of the most effective ways to start eating away at your motivation to carry on with your writing. Instead, save the TV and other distractions for later and try to keep yourself focused on writing as much as possible.
Think about what exactly it is you’re writing about
It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to let your mind wander. When you’re back in your prime writing position, bring your mind back to the task at hand. Not necessarily just the writing portion, but the subject matter itself. Your subconscious will start to throw words around, and no matter how small or irrelevant they seem, they’re important…
Write down those words that you’re associating with the subject
It doesn’t matter if they precisely relate to what you were writing before the block hit or not. Doing this serves two purposes. Firstly, you’re going to have a good list of keywords to inspire you and give you assistance whether you’re writing a product listing or a blog post. Secondly, physically writing something will get you back into the swing of things, and just writing a single one of those words could be all you need to fix your writer’s block!
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What about the long-term prevention of writer’s block?
As a copywriter, it’s highly likely that you write on a pretty regular basis, or you intend to do so for the foreseeable future.
Whilst the above suggestions are great for helping you glide out of a typically stressful bout of writer’s block, it’s always better to reduce the chances of it happening again in the future:
Don’t pressure yourself into finishing a section before taking a break or stopping
It might sound counter-intuitive, but even if you’re mid-sentence, just stop and take the break you need. Not only will this help the quality of your overall writing, but it’ll give you a rolling start when you’re back at your keyboard. You’ll already have a sentence or paragraph that you’re part-way through, so you won’t have that horrendous battle of trying to get things started again.
Create a happy, healthy work environment
This goes hand-in-hand with the point about comfort. Whether you work remotely or in an office, make sure you’re happy with your workspace. This can be anything from a tidy desk with décor that reflects your own personality, to giving yourself the perfect writing soundtrack. Just make sure you’re as happy, comfortable and focused as you can be when you write.
Don’t let fear hold you back
When you write, it’s easy to get bogged down with the thought that people are going to read your work and potentially have something to say about it. That’s a natural feeling, and one that happens to every single creative in existence at one point in time. Whether it’s your first piece or your fiftieth, that fear will always be there. Instead of listening to those thoughts and fearing others, put them to the back of your mind. That desire for perfection will never disappear, and the only way to get close to that goal is to let people read your work…
Get your peers and colleagues to review your work
This is a great way to fight those previously-mentioned fears. Getting others to read your writing will not only combat that sense of dread when someone reads it, but it will also give you all of the feedback you could wish for to help improve your work in the long run. You’ll probably find yourself wanting to show more and more people your work as you go on, and this is one of the best ways to improve dramatically (as well as fighting writer’s block).
Get yourself into a routine and set specific times for writing
If you have a set time allocated to writing, it puts you in the mindset of “this time is for writing and nothing else”. A solid routine will help to keep you focused and motivated, so you’ll feel more able to push through the block when it creeps up on you.
Do your research on any subject you’re writing about
It’s important not only for making sure you have the resources you need, but also to keep your mind awash with ideas and information that you can rely on when things start to get tough. Reading gives you access to plenty of information regardless of whether it’s a blog post, a book, or a magazine article. If you want to improve your chances of keeping all of that information on board, write notes whilst you research, putting particular focus on key ideas.
Just keep writing
It’s probably not what you want to hear. But simply pushing through and writing something is going to be your most effective solution for beating the block. It doesn’t have to be good, or even entirely relevant. Just re-engage your writing muscles and put something down on the page. It will work wonders.
Some people have found writing roughly half a page of “stuff” before you start your work dramatically improves their ability to write. It can be anything. Just write from your own mind and get into the flow of getting things down. You’ll feel way more motivated, and it might even give you the inspiration you need to craft the perfect opening (which is often the hardest part).
So there you have it…
Beating writer’s block isn’t easy, but it is a lot more achievable than you’d think. Just remember that you’re in control, and you’ll find the right routine or combination of solutions that lets you get back to business.
If you’re struggling for inspiration for your next content strategy, or if you want to take your content to the next level, talk to us and find out how we can help. We specialise in all aspects of digital marketing, and we can work with you to achieve your goals.