how to overcome writer's block

Trying to write your own content and marketing materials? You can find a whole host of articles to help improve your copywriting skills here. This blog tackles writer’s block and the strategies you can use to overcome it and­ ­­­­­get words flowing again.

Seven ways to beat writer's block

1. Give yourself a break

Yes, there’s a deadline and you’ve done your homework.

You know all there is to know about the product you are selling, the benefits and the triggers that get people interested in your product. But the words aren’t flowing. 

One of the best ways to unblock writer’s block is to give yourself a break. Let your brain reset. That will let you approach from a different angle.

A copywriter will look at those benefits and write in terms the consumer will understand. They make it relatable. Simple language and short sentences.

All too often you get copy that is way too technical, functionally correct but lacking any personality. Nobody reads user manuals.

2. Write like your consumer talks

Recognise that you are talking to a person who has a million other things to do, so keep it simple and relevant to them.

Give yourself a voice, picture a person and imagine you’re sitting down in the room for a chat.

Compelling copy will often come from inside the head of your target audience. Put yourself in their shoes.

Imagine how they would speak and write that conversation down.

man shouting Eureka while in the shower

3. Be a sponge and wash away writer's block.

Absorb as much information about the brand as you can and then give your mind a break. That will give it time to wander and allow ideas to pop into your head.

They say that your best ideas always come to you in the shower.

There is a medical reason for this.

It’s all to do with the dopamine levels in our brains apparently.

When we are in a relaxed state we have high levels of dopamine.

Your subconscious mind is given space to do its thing and lets the words fall into place.

4. It's not about you

If you are struggling to write a persuasive argument, consider the angle you are using. When you are writing about yourself and the goods or services you produce, your natural tendency to wax lyrical all about yourself.

But you know you’ve seen that guy at a party – a bore, tedious and dull.

A reader is consuming your content for their own selfish reasons. It is not about you, it is about them.

In this media selective world, it is all about your consumer.

What problem are you solving for them?

Frame it in those terms and you might find it much easier to write compelling copy that generates sales.

two people talking, one person is sending the other to sleep.

5. Are you writing too much?

If you have gotten this far, you are doing better than 50% of most people.

The stats show that only half the people who start an article get to the halfway point.

That’s why a journalist will upweight his article with all the most important parts at the top, above the fold as they say.

People just don’t have time to read anymore. Rather than writing more, say less, so go through what you have written and be brutal.

Slash and burn until you have only one message. Being single-minded will vastly improve your business writing.

6. Give yourself a roadmap

It is always useful to know where you are going with your copy before you put anything down on paper. This will stop you from waffling.

A structure will show you how to progress your copy from one paragraph to the next. It makes it much easier to write when you know where you are going first.

It can be simple bullet point list – introduce the consumer problem, show how your product or service solves that issue, validate the solution with the benefits or peer examples, then close with a call to action. Writing then becomes a process of joining the dots.

7. Get feedback (even if it is just your alter-ego.)

When you are stuck, it is often because you can’t see the way forward. A different perspective can help you move on.

Criticism is always hard to take but is a tool that will help stimulate your thinking. Find someone you trust to give you an honest opinion. You don’t have to take it but it will help you make decisions about where you’ve got to.

Even just reading it aloud to yourself will help pinpoint issues with the flow and how sentences connect.

A bit about me

As a writer I have never stopped learning. Absorbing new information and knowledge. People and products to study. With that came different skill sets. Writing in 15 second segments for TV and radio, the art of a four-word headline for billboards, twitter feeds, one-to-one conversations via direct mail and then long form copy on the web. At the end of the day you are always trying to persuade someone to do something, to buy, to like, to engage. The format it takes may change but the intent does not. I would like to help you on you journey to writing better materials for your business. You can follow me on Facebook.

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