copywriting

6 cures for copywriter's block

Drawing a blank? Relax! It's all part of the creative process (best. excuse. ever). Take a break from your brainstorming and try these six tricks for finding inspiration. 

  Image by Leonid Pasternak via  Wikimedia Commons

Image by Leonid Pasternak via Wikimedia Commons

Ugh. Of all the days to run out of words, it had to be today. The day before the big deadline.

This isn’t good. The only thing emptier than your Google Doc is your brain. No ideas. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. Nada.

 

Tumbleweeds.

 

  

 

The cursor blinks—nay, it taunts. What was that brilliant idea you had the other day? The one you told yourself to remember? It was so good. Award-winning. What was it!? 

Time is speeding up. There's a bird squawking outside your window. You can't stop checking Facebook. Too much caffeine. Aaaaaaaahhhh!

 

OK, stop. Enough with the anxiety. You’re not some tortured artist, you’re a professional copywriter for Christ’s sake! Pull it together! YOU CAN DO THIS.

Walk to the sink, splash some cold water on your face and try the following:

 

1. Create an outline.

Make your fourth grade teacher proud and sketch out a bubble map of your key points and themes. Include any important information (facts, statistics, product details, etc.) that you think is important. Even if the fancy words aren’t coming to you, it’s easy enough to input subheadings, calls-to-action and notes like [INSERT JAZZY TAGLINE HERE].

 

2. Talk it out.

First, give yourself permission to be annoying. Once you’ve made peace with that, talk through the subject matter with anyone—your husband, your mailman, your mailman’s husband—who will listen. Chatting through the topic with an objective bystander is a great way to figure out how to break your message down into simple terms (particularly if you’re writing about something complex or highly technical).

 

3. Take a walk.

This is the classic cure for writer’s block because it really works. Studies have proven that walking inspires creativity. So get those legs moving! And while you’re at it, eat something. It’s impossible to concentrate on an empty stomach.

 

4. Visualize the copy.

One of the biggest struggles of web copywriting is that it’s often difficult to imagine how it will look on the site. Nice-guy web developers will send you wireframes ahead of time to give you an idea of how much copy is needed and where it will sit. But others may expect the copy to drive the design. If this is the case, use PowerPoint to throw together a rough mock-up of how you think the words should be arranged on each page. Adjust the font style and size to indicate headers, banner copy, body copy and calls-to-action.

Visualizing the layout like this—even though it's certainly subject to change—can help unearth all those glossy slogans and catchphrases that you have buried in your brain. 

 

5. Look at the competitors. 

Take a break to study the competition. Have a gander at how others in the industry have described similar products and services, and how they've framed their messaging. Whether it's good or bad, the work of other copywriters can be a brilliant source of inspiration. Excellent copy reminds you of what works. Terrible copy reminds you of what doesn't. 

 

6. Just write.

No matter how clunky, full of clichés and uninspiring it is, just get some bloody words down. If you truly can’t stomach the mediocrity, pretend you’re someone else—some terribly inexperienced, right-brained non-writer. Whip out a first draft, leave it for an hour or two, then take up the role of professional copyeditor. You may find that approaching the copy as an editor, not a writer, is easier. 

 

Feeling better? Good. 

You got this.


Better yet, leave the writing to us! Get in touch to find out more about our copywriting services.