It’s a new week at work, you grab your morning coffee – because caffeine and mornings go hand in hand. You sit down at your desk, plan out your heavy to-do list and begin writing for the day. But when you go to start, you find yourself staring at a blank page with no idea what to write?
Although a common issue, it’s still the most paralysing and frustrating thing for a writer to go through when you’re working to tight deadlines. You eagerly want to put pen to paper and for the words to flow but for some reason, you’ve got nothing to say.
Instead of berating yourself for not feeling motivated or inspired, though, what if we gave you a few techniques that could potentially help?
1. Get your head straight
If I’ve learned anything about writer’s block in my time of creating content: it’s that 99% of the time, the battle is in your head. When you’re not in the right frame of mind and feeling uninspired, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being incredibly hard on yourself.
So when I say get your head straight, I mean get to grips with what you’re feeling and thinking. Is it something deeper? Are you stressed about non-work-related problems? Is it fear based? If you’re not sure, take yourself off to a quiet room to really have a think. Sit with yourself and practise some much-needed mindfulness to figure out those inner feelings you might not have realised you had.
Why? Because if you’re silencing your thoughts you will continue to write from a place of fear and anxiety rather than a fun and inspired one.
2. Remember that you are in control and practise discipline
When you’re unable to write it’s a given that you will easily become distracted, procrastinate and make excuse to put off the task in hand. From sentences like, “It can be done another time” to constantly checking your phone or browsing Buzzfeed and partaking in quizzes like “Which Cheese Am I?”.
But every time you make an excuse not to do it, you’re giving your power away. Instead change your mind-set.
If you keep telling yourself, “This isn’t going to be fun” or “I can’t do this” then guess what? It won’t be fun and you won’t be able to do it. But if you concentrate on your mind and focus on pushing yourself, you will start to train your brain to break through that tricky barrier, making it easier in the future.
3. Break the task down bit by bit
When you’re struggling to write it can be overwhelming thinking about everything you have to do at once. Our brains only see the finished product, making it difficult to even start.
So rather than focusing on the daunting task as a whole, why not break it down?
Start with the goal of just one sentence. Then once you’ve ticked that box, move on to the goal of writing your second sentence. And then the third, and so on and so on. It’s not the most magical, ground-breaking process. But as you make that tiny start, your brain will slowly start to figure out where to go. So just make a start.
4. Value your own voice
When it comes to writing copy, it’s easy to get lost in the brief and fixate on what everybody else wants. My advice? Don’t write for everyone, write for you – that’s why you’ve got the job in the first place, your skills and talent are endless.
It might not be perfect to begin with, but there will always be edits and there are always imperfections when it comes to writing – it’s completely normal. People read to find content to help guide them, to feel, to engage and to share. People want to get to know the person behind the screen and know they’re human. And as we all know, to be human is knowing that none of us are perfect.
So dive right in and show purpose with what it is you want to say.
5. Just write anything!
I know this tip may sound annoyingly obvious but hear me out.
If you feel like you’re struggling to write, just write anything! It could be what you did at the weekend, what you had for breakfast or even how you feel not being able to write. Every time you write something, you’re strengthening your writing muscle. And the more you exercise and train your writing muscle, the stronger it will be, and you will be less likely to succumb to writer’s to block.
So get those brain cells moving and just write.
6. Read and consume other inspiration
When stuck for inspiration the age-old tale is to read a book. While absolutely true, personally I believe that the book you decide to pick up is equally as important.
Whether it’s fantasy literature or a contemporary thriller, a good book is guaranteed to have you light up with ideas and inspiration. Just remember to take notes!
Alternatively, if books don’t float your boat then I’d suggest turning to music. I’d suggest picking songs which give you all the positive and happy feels.
7. Get your environment right
When it comes to writing copy, a strong routine is crucial. It’s all about creating quiet and serene conditions for yourself to make writing as easy as possible.
Work out where you find it easiest to write and monitor the conditions of your setting. Soon enough, you’ll associate that setting more positively which can help to ignite creativity over and over.
8. Study your competitors’ copy
Remember that when writing you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Try analysing your competition’s copy and see what you can learn from it. What would you do differently?
9. Think about the consumer
When brainstorming articles and writing copy for websites, I try to focus on the users. What are they searching for online? What questions are they asking? What are they interested in? What would they want to know?
Start with researching your target audience to see what they’re engaging with and how you could help them.
10. Draw on your own experiences
All creatives need input just as much (if not more) as output.
Instead of sitting at your desk worrying and stressing about how much you haven’t written, move around and absorb what’s going on around you or take inspiration from some of your own recent experiences – you never know, it could end up making up great content.
Case in point: that’s exactly how I came to write this article.
Writer’s block happens to all of us. And unfortunately, it’s something that will always happen to us. But that’s not to say we should continue to feel guilty and shame ourselves when we find it tough. So when you feel like you’re struggling, approach writing from a different place. A place of fun, empowerment and excitement. Because once you do that, the rest will flow.