So, you’ve been tasked with writing the next post for your company blog, how do you feel about it?
Hopefully, you’ve got plenty of ideas you can’t wait to crack on with and you can get your piece written in no time at all. Job done until the next time.
However, it’s not always plain sailing, is it? There are times when writer’s block, brain freeze, whatever you want to call it, kicks in, and you’re sat there staring at your screen for what feels like days.
It can be really annoying, particularly if you’re really busy and just need to get the copy task off your ‘to do’ list, so that you can focus on your other work, or if it needs to be written urgently.
Writer’s block happens to the best of us, at any time, professional content writers, like me, included. Here are some of the things I do to avoid and overcome it when it does strike:
There’s no real formula to avoiding writer’s block, but there are certain things you can do, like these:
- Don’t think about your copy too much before you start writing it. I often find that thinking about something in the back of my mind before I start typing, results in me overthinking it, which then stifles my creativity.
- Avoid looking at what other people have written. It’s ok to research the topic or subject matter you’re writing about, but steer clear of similar pieces of content, it can lead to you subconsciously writing elements of other people’s work or something that’s very similar. When this happens, it can be really difficult to think about anything else other than the phrases and words you’ve just read.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you’re working to a deadline, then it can’t be avoided. But if you can, give yourself plenty of time to think about and write your content, rushing things can instantly bring on brain freeze because you’re putting yourself under so much pressure.
- If writing’s not one of your strengths and you suffer from brain freeze the moment you start typing, then one way in which you could eliminate the issue altogether, is by outsourcing. Drafting in a freelance content writer, who’s trained to produce quality professional copy, will mean you never have to worry about the on-set of writer’s block ever again.
Yes, you will need to provide them with a brief, but any decent content writer will be able to provide you with clear guidance on what they need and know what to ask in order to provide you with copy that’s written in the right tone of voice, carries your key messages and meets your objectives. (For tips on briefing copywriters, check out this blog, ‘Best practice advice for briefing a copywriter.’)
When writer’s block kicks in, there’s no saying how long it’s going to stick around for. You can try to alleviate it by making sure you:
- Take a screen break. Sometimes, it feels as though this is the worst thing you can do, especially if you’ve got to get your content task done and dusted ASAP. How are you going to get it completed in time if you take a break from it? Seriously, even just leaving your screen for five minutes and going to make yourself a drink, will help enormously, trust me, it works, I do it all of the time!
- Don’t beat yourself up about it. You’ve got brain freeze now, but it’s not going to last. If your timescales allow it, park the task until you can return to it with a ‘fresher’ brain. The worst thing you can do is force yourself to write when you’re not feeling it, you’ll only wind up rewriting everything the next day anyway.
- Talk it through. Writing involves creativity and lots of it. Sometimes, I get brain freeze because I’ve got a nugget of an idea that I’m struggling to develop. If you’ve hit a brick wall with your idea and you’ve got people you can talk to about it, then talk to them. Fresh perspectives are a great way of getting out of a content rut, even if you don’t necessarily go with them.
- Get somebody else to do your writing for you. As well as helping avoid writer’s block, using a professional content writer will obviously help you totally avoid it too!
There are all sorts of things you can do to beat writer’s block, I’ve shared just some of the tactics I use with you. Which of these pointers will you be putting to the test? To find out more or to discuss your content writing requirements with me, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the contact form.