Do you ever sit down to write and feel as if you're plodding through mud to get even a few words down on paper? Do you wonder if you'll ever come up with a useful idea again? You may be suffering from writer's block. This topic is brought up often in my teleclass on how to write marketing materials and it happens to many of us including me.
One thing is sure: the more I stare hopefully at my computer screen, the less it works and the more frustated I get. For me, the first thing to do is to distract myself from the obsessive focus on "I need to write but I can't."
I'd like to share some of my favorite tricks for getting unstuck. I hope they'll give you some places to start thinking about what could work for you.
1. Usually what works best for me is to do something physical to shift the energy, like going for a walk. Not a grim "exercise at all costs" type of walk. That's too tense and intense. I make it a gentle, slow meandering walk around my neighborhood, stopping to notice the surroundings, listen to the birds, and stroke the local cats that cross my path.
2. Now and then I put on an exercise CD with really upbeat music and dance around the room to get my energy circulating.
3. Often I stay at my desk, put the writing aside and switch to some mundane, routine tasks for a while. Or I make some phone calls: talking to other people always inspires me.
4. Sometimes I write before I write. I write what's going through my head, uncensored and unadulterated. I write impulsively. I write until I feel emptied. This clears out the clutter and random thoughts from my mind, helps me break through to what's underneath and lets creative ideas surface. After a while, I'm back in the flow of the words and I can return to the project I was stuck on.
5. Reading good copy from copywriters I admire opens my mind again. It primes the pump and gets ideas percolating.
6. When all else fails, I give myself permission to write badly. It takes away the pressure of having to produce the greatest piece of sales persuasion first time around. (Yes, that happens to me too!) Often it's much better than I thought and just needs to be tweaked into shape.