And it means you get less done while your writing problem takes up time and space in your brain.
It’s a common problem.
I’ve spoken with a number of clients this week and they each told me they struggle to know what to write.
I think the problem is that words are pretty personal.
Your customers will make judgements about you and your business based on what you publish and that puts you on the line.
In addition, a positive response to your sales message is really important because that’s how you generate interest and grow a healthy business.
So unless you work with a professional copywriter, you need to find strategies to help you overcome these setbacks.
Here are four that always work for me.
1. Plan the night before
I make it a habit to plan my work the day before.
Time is my most valuable asset. And that means anything that helps me get more done in less time is worth my while.
Let’s say you need to write a blog post in the morning. Schedule that task into your diary for the following day so it becomes a commitment.
But don’t leave it at that.
If you try to write the post “cold”, it will take you longer. Instead write down the working title along with a rough outline for the content. Let’s say you’re going to write a top 10 tips post, work out what those tips are the night before. The key is to get clear on the key points you need to make.
And here’s what happens…
In the morning, instead of looking at a blank computer screen, you’ll already have an idea of what you want to write. This allows you to get into the zone quicker. In addition, you will have allowed your subconscious mind to process your ideas the night before. As such you’ll find your words will flow significantly easier and more complex ideas will also emerge.
This works for any type of business writing whether it’s your web copy, a leaflet or a sales letter.
2. Don’t question what you write
When you first start writing, your message can be disjointed, awkward and very raw.
In addition, you have all that self-doubt running through your mind. “This is rubbish”. “I can’t write”. “I need to use better words that this”. “I don’t know what to say”.
The secret is to not let these thoughts stop you.
Instead, plough on through the clutter and just get anything down on the paper / computer screen.
Do that and you’ll allow the magic to happen.
You see, as to start to write, you’ll find your ideas start to crystallise. New thoughts will naturally evolve and your work will become stronger.
By just letting go and writing anything, you loosen the blockage.
Then you can go back and edit (that’s the bit I like best).
Read through what you’ve written and you’ll:
- Identify where different points need to be re-ordered
- Spot the waffle which can be cut completely
- Find places where your message is too complicated
- Spot typos and grammatical errors which you can correct
- Think of additional points you need to include to make your message stronger
- Re-work the headline so it attracts attention
- Find sections which can be presented as bullets and lists instead of a paragraph etc.
And here’s the thing. It’s far easier to edit something down than beef it up later. So let those words flow!
3. Mindmap, list and brainstorm
You don’t have to write a perfect piece at the first attempt.
It can happen, but it’s rare.
So ease up on your expectations!
You don’t even need to start writing full paragraphs.
Instead do what you can to get the ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Doodle. Write key words. Use a mind map to identify how different points link. Figure out what works for you. I like post-it’s, different coloured pens and quality paper. My mad notes then germinate into the seed of something special.
And the reason for that is I allow plenty of thinking space.
I know, 500 words doesn’t seem a lot. But the difference between a really strong message and a weak one is the amount of thought that goes into it.
In fact, a significant part of my job as a copywriter is taken up as thinking time.
It’s what allows the right ideas to evolve.
4. Just write
I saved the best tip til last
I promise you once you start you’ll find it easier to get going.
So write anything.
For sure you may not use a lot of what you write, BUT amongst all the clutter and confusion you will come across the little gems that can transform your marketing copy.
In fact, exploring and playing with words, ideas and concepts is one way of getting really good at solving your tough marketing problems.
What do you think?
Do you experience writer’s block? Do you get stopped advertising your business because you don’t know what to say? Do you find your critical mind prevents you from getting your words out? Tell me what happens for you in the comments below.
And if you want more tips to help you write better, join my mailing list – it’s free