February 02, 2023

8 Easy Ways To Beat Writer’s Block

Tips to beat writer's block

We all need to have a way with words. No matter what you’re trying to achieve – stronger copywriting, more clicks, higher sales, happier clients you can’t do it without words

But what happens when your magical word stream dries up? What then? 

Do you stop launching products, sending emails, or creating sales pages? Um . . . nope. That’s not an option. 

We must “write them so they will come.” But don’t worry. We’re not going to leave you stranded in this Field of Dreams metaphor. Professional copywriters know a thing or three about writer’s block because we’ve faced it down repeatedly. 

Trust us — we feel your pain. So we’ll show you how to bust the block and keep ridin’ that wonderful wave of words. 

Make Daily Deposits into Your Idea Bank 

Prolific best-selling author, blogger, and speaker Jon Acuff says there’s no such thing as writer’s block – only “idea bankruptcy.” We think Jon is onto something. Because once you have ideas, the words follow. A great idea has a way of making you want to write about it. 

But when your Idea Bank goes belly up, writer’s block bullies its way into your brain. Kick that bully’s butt by making regular deposits into your Idea Bank. There are so many ways to do it:

  • Keep an ever-growing list of ideas on your smartphone’s notes app (so it’s always with you).
  • Tuck a small notebook into your bag and scribble notes down old-school style. 
  • Use your smartphone’s audio notes app so you can spew out ideas anytime – even at stoplights!
  • Place a notepad by your bed (great ideas can keep us up at night!). 

Ideas are a little like Pokemon. They hide everywhere so you’ve got to keep watch to “catch ‘em all.” Set up your own (uncomplicated) system for capturing those jokers so they won’t evaporate before you get a chance to use them. Please don’t make the mistake of saying “Oh, I’ll remember it.” Far too many great ideas have died a tragic,  premature death at the hands of that reckless phrase.

Pro tip: Challenge yourself to come up with one idea on a regular basis. No idea is too small or too weird for the Idea Bank. Look for even the tiniest idea seedling. Once it’s banked, time and attention will help it grow into something that just might spark your best writing yet. 

Create a Content Calendar

Armed with your healthy Idea Bank that’s constantly accruing creative interest, draft a content calendar. Plan your next 30 days of content – blog posts, emails, social media updates, sales pages, or whatever you need. 

This content calendar doesn’t have to be complex. It could be as simple as a calendar date and a topic idea. Once you get used to doing it, your content calendar will be the safety blanket you never knew you needed. Because you won’t have to wonder what you should write about. Your content calendar already knows! 

“But what if I’m just not feeling it when it’s time to write about the topic I’ve scheduled?” We get it. Sometimes a certain idea doesn’t work. That’s when you go back to your Idea Bank and swap that topic out for a different one. (Aren’t you glad you’ve got a balance in the bank?)

Pro tip: Another HUGE benefit of leaning on a content calendar is that it’ll inspire you to work ahead. If you already know what needs to be written next week or three weeks from now, get those items written (or delegated) long before you have to. And don’t even get us started on how good it feels to be ahead of a deadline with room to spare. (It’s heaven. Seriously.)

Listen To What You’re Saying (and Reading)

If you’re thinking, “Wait! Where am I supposed to get all these great ideas to deposit in the Idea Bank and content calendar?” I’ve got answers. Here are a few of our favorite ways to collect ideas:

Conversations -- Some of the best ideas fly right out of your own mouth. No, really! Pay attention to your conversations with co-workers, clients, and colleagues. The things you’re already discussing can become your next post, email, or product launch page. (You’re smart! You should really listen to yourself sometimes.)

Reading -- Readers make the best writers. The more you read, the better your writing will get. It’s the closest thing to learning by osmosis you’ll ever find. When you read, your brain not only takes in new information, but also makes new connections between the things you’re thinking about. Read often and write down ideas (in that trusty Idea Bank) when something gets your attention. 

People-watching -- You don’t even have to go to the airport or mall to get fascinating ideas from people-watching. Peek at what your own clients are up to by way of their copy or questions over consultations. Check-in with what they want, what problems they face, or what mistakes they make over and over. Jot down those observations in your Idea Bank. 

Pro tip: When you’re talking, listen for feedback like “Really? I didn’t know that,” or “That’s incredible,” or even “That’s so funny!” When people respond enthusiastically to what you’re saying, put it in the Idea Bank as a possible topic. 

Bust the Block With a Break

Sometimes your writing needs a time-out. Not the bad kind of time-out when you stand in the corner and think about what you’ve done (or not done). This is a good time-out – the kind where your brain takes a break so you can boost performance and increase concentration. (That’s not our opinion. It’s science.)

It sounds simple, but a short walk outside will expand your cramped-up perspective. It’ll let your brain see things in a different way. (Even better? It burns calories!)

Pro tip: Professional word nerds often do chores that use built-in muscle memory when we’re busting a block with a break. (We call it “procrasti-cleaning.”) Show me a writer with fresh vacuum marks on their rug, and I’ll show you someone who’s wisely letting their brain take a break. 

Just because you’re not staring at the screen doesn’t mean you stopped working. Let it simmer. You’ll be amazed by what bubbles up to the surface once you come back with fresh eyes (and maybe fresh laundry). 

Start In The Middle (Or The End)

Rules, schmules! Who needs ‘em? Where is it written that you have to start with the opening line and finish with the last one? If you have an idea that belongs somewhere in the middle, start there! It’s okay, really. You’re the boss here. 

Got a killer idea for how to wrap up the whole thing? Awesome! Start there and work backward. Write down words or phrases even if you’re not yet sure where to put them. You’ll see the connections once they’re on the page. (That’s what cut and paste are for, right?) Rearrange your wordy furniture as many times as you like. 

Pro tip: Introductory sentences can be intimidating. Don’t let them keep you from diving into the project. Save them for after you’ve eased into the water and splashed around a bit. 

Make The Old New Again

Even the hottest television shows do reboots. There’s a good reason why. People are busy and sometimes they miss great stuff the first time around – or they long to see a new spin on their classic fave. That insightful blog post you wrote two years ago? Revamp it into your next email sequence. Or the topic for your next Facebook ad. Or streamline it into a new landing page. 

Don’t let the strong content you’ve already produced languish in the archives. Refresh, rework and repurpose! Great writing deserves an encore. 

Pro tip: Use your website analytics to see which blog posts are most popular. Update them and give them a second life with readers who haven’t discovered them – yet. 

Remember: Resistance Is Normal

Total honesty – sometimes writing feels like wrestling an alligator. Anyone who says it’s always a breeze is a dirty liar. 

Before you sit down to write (or tackle any important project), know that you WILL feel resistance to it. After being asked for advice from a newbie writer, author Steven Pressfield wrote notes about resistance. (He even talked to Oprah about it!) His guidance eventually became a bestseller called “The War of Art,” it’s one of the books professional writers treasure most and re-read often.

Sometimes there’s just a little resistance. Sometimes there’s SO MUCH that you’d sign up for an unnecessary root canal if it’d help you escape the blank page. 

Know that resistance is normal. Don’t interpret dread as proof you’re no good at this or can’t do it. You CAN. You WILL. It’s okay (and so normal) to feel this way. Just don’t let that temporary feeling dictate what you do

Pro tip: Remember it’s NOT necessary to “feel creative” to write. Accountants don’t have to be in the mood for numbers to do your taxes, right? Don’t wait for an elusive lightning bolt of inspiration to strike. Just start writing. 

Prime The Pump 

Speaking of getting started, the first few lines of a writing project are almost always the hardest. Stephen King once said, “You can, you should – and if you are brave enough to START – you will.” Priming the proverbial pump with freewriting will get you past the tipping point of a project. 

How do you prime the pump? Write ANYTHING. Write BADLY. Just WRITE. Start by typing your to-do list or the funny thing your dog did yesterday. The point is to loosen up and stop putting so much pressure on each word. A crappy first draft is a normal, necessary part of the writing process. Write sloppy copy. Let it SUCK. Remember, it’s just a draft, not the Bible.

Once you have the raw material, you’ll smooth the rough edges and polish the paragraphs. Your inner editor will know how to make it better.

Pro tip: Grab a kitchen timer (or a quieter timer like this one) and set it for 15 minutes. Make yourself write without stopping until the timer goes off. When it does, you’ll realize how much easier it is to keep going. 

Word of Warning: Using your smartphone’s timer is risky because you’ll pick up your phone when the timer goes off. And we all know a phone in hand is an excellent way to avoid a project. (You can easily scroll all your writing time away.)

No Time For Tips?

Are you swamped? Tips are great, but time is precious, right? We understand. Even people who love to write run out of time when they’re pulled in so many different directions. Sometimes what you need is the assurance that professional writers are going to nail this for you. And it’s time to call in the copywriting agency experts. 

If that’s where you are, the best way to stop suffering from writer’s block is to let us take care of copy for you. This is our thing. (Did we mention we’re certified word nerds?)

Don’t worry. You’ll still have full say-so in your final copy & content. As an experienced copywriting agency, we deliver what you need using your voice and style – and saving you time and hassle. Give us a try. We bet you’re going to love having your own team of copy pros.

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