It happens to the best of us. Whether you are a successful copywriter with years of experience or completely new to the game, sometimes you are stuck staring at a blank computer screen or notebook page while you rack your brains for something to write about.
Just like the hardest part of going running is putting your shoes on, sometimes the hardest part of copywriting is simply getting started. However, when you write for a living, writer’s block can be a big obstacle, so it’s important to have some strategies up your sleeve to overcome it when it hits.
1. Talk it Out
Some people literally “Think out Loud”, and if you are one of those people then turning ideas around in your own head silently will only frustrate you.
Instead, find a friend or fellow copywriter and talk it out! Explaining your topic out loud to another person can really help you organize your thoughts and just might give you an ‘AHA!’ moment where you will realize the best way to express yourself. The other benefit of talking about your writing project with someone else is the value that their input will have. They might have great ideas to suggest, or they might ask questions that you haven’t thought of.
2. Start in the Middle
Films often offer a very misleading portrayal of the writing process. They show the writer sitting down at the typewriter or notebook and typing or writing out the book all at once from start to finish. They begin with “Once when I was young…” etc. And as they type the last word the book closes and is perfectly complete.
This is absolute rubbish.
I can promise you that no books (with the exception of On the Road by Jack Kerouac) were written from start to finish sequentially with no revisions or rearrangements.
Writing doesn’t often go from point A to point B. This dangerous misconception leaves many beginning writers stuck because they can’t think of the first sentence.
Forget the first sentence! Instead, start anywhere in the middle, wherever is easiest. If your writing doesn’t flow in any order that is ok, simply get something down on the page. Once you have done this, then you are free to go back and place your assorted chunks of writing into a sequence that makes sense. To your readers who don’t know any better, your writing will flow nicely and sequentially!
Many great writers have stated that they get their best idea while walking, and there is even an entire school of Philosophers who believed in walking about for inspiration. If nothing else, stepping away from your writing and taking a hike for a while will relax you, and a calm mind is more open to ideas
4. Use Bullet Points or a Mind Map
Sometimes the cause of writer’s block is not lack of ideas. On the contrary, you might have a lot to say about the topic, but when it comes to getting to words down on paper you become overwhelmed and confused. If organising your thoughts into a coherent piece of copywriting is your problem, you might benefit from using bullet points, lists, or mind maps.
To start out, jot down everything you want to say about your topic in point form. Don’t worry about where it all fits in, just get it down. Or you might prefer the more visual strategy of a mind map. To learn how to make one, read this.
Once you have gotten your points out of your head and onto the page, it will be much easier to organize them into categories and form a structure. From there, all you need to do is flesh out the points as you write, following the structure you have made.
5. Limit Your Time
Parkinson’s Law states that ‘work expands to fill the time available for completion’. If you have ever done a semester-long essay the night before it was due, you will understand what this law means. However, you can use it to your advantage to beat writers block. If you give yourself all day to finish that piece of copywriting, you can be sure that the project will last all day. However, if you set yourself a deadline of finishing before lunch, you will mentally push yourself to work faster and more efficiently.
Use these five killer tips for beating writer’s block and you will never have to be intimidated by a blank page ever again!