We’ve all been there. Our brain’s on empty, and the words just won’t flow. We asked fellow copywriters to share how they move beyond the dreaded writer’s block. Read on to learn more and check out the The RMBC Method, a proven framework for writing better copy, faster.
Table of Contents
Meditation, Reading, and Mindful Exercise
Creative blocks can be debilitating. Oftentimes, creative blocks stem from a mental block or an internal struggle. A fun and easy way to combat that is to free your mind through meditation and mindfulness practices. Especially while spending more time in solitude, you should invest personal time into elevating your energy, spirit, and mind.
Meditation, reading, and mindful exercise are great ways to better yourself while the distractions of outside life are somewhat distanced from your everyday life. You must remove yourself from screens and detox from social media so you can better align with yourself, your wellness, and your creative energy.
Stimulate your creative flow by freewriting about something you have a personal connection to. This will inspire your creative juices because it is usually easy to reflect on something you intrinsically care about. When you are reflecting on a topic you hold close to your heart, you will begin to generate the best phrases and words to encompass the emotion and esteem you have behind it. This will help you hone your writing skills for other topics.
Adopt Focus Techniques
As a writer and an editor, writer's block is no stranger to me. My main way of overcoming it is by taking regular breaks. You need to give yourself time and space to be creative and inspired. If you're on a deadline and you can't afford real breaks, doing something like the Pomodoro technique could also help you. These focus techniques can provide you with the right amount of productivity and peace of mind, as they allot set time slots for hard work and for breaks.
When your writer's block is caused by a lack of inspiration, then you will really need some time to get inspired again. What makes you inspired? For me, for example, being by the sea, reading books, listening to music, or enjoying silence are major inspiration boosters. Find a couple of things that make you feel creative and inspired.
It's also important to take a break from social media. We live in a world with an excessive amount of information, so you sometimes need to take a step back and cut down all the noise. Stay away from news feeds, Instagram, Twitter, and similar apps for a time.
Sometimes, writer's block is not related to tiredness or lack of inspiration. It's just that you're concerned or stressed about something else. From family issues to work-related problems, sometimes it's worth taking some time to solve your problem, recover your balance and go back to writing once you find your peace of mind again. You won't be wasting time. When you face your problems, you're actually investing in your ability to think and concentrate on one thing at a time. In other words, you're also working towards improving your professional life.
Take A Break for A Day
Whenever I hit a wall when it comes to my writing, I take a break. Based on my experience, it is counterproductive to keep on pushing when you’re exhausted and your creative juices are no longer flowing.
By resting, even just for a short while (e.g., one hour or a day), I am able to put my thoughts at ease and let my mind recuperate from all the stress and demands of copywriting. Most of the time, writer’s block is caused by tiredness, particularly not getting enough sleep. If you’re sensing that you’re not able to write, cut yourself some slack and take a much-needed rest.
Listen To a Humorous Podcast
I've been a professional copywriter for a decade, and my go-to for unfogging my uninspired brain is listening to a podcast hosted by a comedian.
My current favorite is “The Dollop,” but any quick-witted, improvisational show tends to do the trick. The banter gets my creative juices flowing again, and I'm typically able to knock out whatever I started with a little more zest.
Watch A Movie
Taking a break is usually the trick to overcome writer’s block. While taking a break, I do things that excite me and my imagination such as watching a movie of a genre I enjoy. I also try to engage in intellectual talks with my friends. After some time, I feel like all the inspiration comes rushing back to me, and I go ahead and continue what I was working on.
Build in Downtime
I overcome writer's block by giving myself enough time to work on a project so that I can get up in the middle of it when I need a break. I always find that when I return to the computer after taking a walk or having a bite to eat, my brain is restimulated and able to look at a sentence or a headline differently, with the creative juices flowing once again.
Write a Target Word Count Everyday
Approach writing like a regular job to overcome writer’s block. For me, it’s an everyday endeavor complete with a targeted minimum number of words to write per day. I write when inspired and as a matter of duty to keep the creative juices flowing.
Reading extensively is another sure way of beating writer’s block. You get to broaden your vocabulary, get exposed to different writing styles, and develop critical thinking skills to help overcome the problem.
Try These 3 Tips
There are times when most of us experience writer's block and I think that every writer can attest to this. Whenever this happens to me, I simply do any of the following things:
First off, I relax. I know that it may be frustrating to encounter writer's block, but being mad or throwing tantrums won't do anyone any good. Whenever you are experiencing this, simply breathe, try to relax, and get back to it once you have cleared your mind and calmed your nerves down.
Go for a walk.
Another thing I do is go for a walk. It's one way of exercising my body while getting the creative juices flowing at the same time.
Take a break.
Last but not least, I take a break. I either read books, watch a movie, or simply drink a cup of coffee. Pausing for a while will help you more than you think. By doing this, you are not only giving your mind its much-needed rest but your body, too.
Map Your Mind
Mind mapping is useful for overcoming writer’s block because you can take general ideas and branch out into niche subjects, formulating an outline and generating more content. It’s ultimately an exercise in creativity. If I don’t mind map, I like playing word games on mobile.
Read a Book or Your Competitor’s Piece
Unlike any other writer, copywriters face an even bigger challenge when going through writer's block since the purpose of their writing is selling and persuading readers, which is practically impossible to achieve when ideas aren't flowing correctly through your head. Every copywriter goes through a block of this kind every once in a while, and it's completely normal; however, it's not normal if it becomes a recurrent thing and it starts to actually affect your career.
The most common way to counter writer's block is taking a break and getting some fresh air. What other copywriters advise the most is going to a quiet place outside and meditating, but really, you could do just about any activity that brings you joy and helps you clear your mind from everything work-related.
If you feel a break didn't help you enough or you simply want to complement it with something else, then I recommend that you read. Read a book, a blog, or even your competition's copy if you want inspiration to come back to you. In the majority of cases, reading encourages copywriters to create content of their own and helps them overcome any blockage preventing them from writing properly, so you may want to focus on reading when you’re struggling with getting your thoughts straight.
I believe that to overcome writer's block I need to take a break and refresh my mind to proceed. If the work isn't urgent, I usually just take a break, then complete it the next day. But if not, I play sports or exercise. Through my experience, I can tell that this is one of the best ways to refresh the mind and thoughts and a proven way to get new thoughts.
Try a Creative Alternative
Whenever I need to overcome writer’s block, my first step is to remove myself from the situation and dive into a different creative practice. This could be something that is still linked to the written word – like a journaling session or flash fiction – or it could be an entirely different practice.
These ‘alternative’ routes include dancing (in a VERY expressive way, usually to Whitney Houston), sketching, coloring, yoga flow movement or even singing in the shower. Anything to take me away from that blocked, restricted state of mind over to something where my creative intuition can flow freely.
Get Your Hormones Checked, Audio Write, and Other Tips
• Relocate to a new location or venue for a long weekend or week – solo.
I often take a week solo at the beach to find the energy or inspiration to write. I find that having no distractions and a new view can be all it takes to get me in the mood again.
• Take a spa day and disconnect from writing.
I have learned that if I walk away and do something relaxing it re-charges my batteries. This only works for me if I disconnect – so leave the phones and computers at home. Think of it as a well-earned day off.
• Consider audio writing.
I often find it easier to talk my thoughts (text to type). This way I can capture random thoughts as they come and then cobble them together with real context and good writing skills later.
• Scope out your competition.
If you have an ounce of competition in you – this will re-motivate you to write. It does me – it often forces me into the zone.
• Get your hormones checked.
I know this sounds silly but your hormone levels are a huge factor in how you feel overall. If you've had prolonged episodes of writer's block you may be suffering from a change to your body's hormones.
Take Time to Meditate
Part of my job has been to build creative content for the company [I work for] and writer’s block can become common. You’d be surprised to see that doing nothing is a great tool to overcome writer’s block.
And what I mean by “doing nothing” is trying some meditation time. In particular, the 4-7-8 technique is very helpful for me. This means to inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then release slowly for 8 seconds.
We get so many stimuli from everywhere: sounds from the street, the computer, the smartphone. Meditation helps your mind to disconnect from that.
It’s a funny phenomenon: when you try to force your mind to “go blank” you may be able to achieve that for 15 to 30 seconds, maybe more if you’re experienced with meditation. After that, your mind will start thinking about a hundred different things. This is where you may be able to overcome your writer’s block.
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