As a copywriter, writer's block can strike you in many different ways. A project may be tough and complex and you feel intimidated. Or you might have a clear idea of what to write but are struggling to do so creatively. You might feel stuck on a particular headline, paragraph, or section and, try as you might, just can't seem to fix it. Or you might not feel like writing at all, preferring instead to do something else — like, say, cleaning your window blinds with a toothbrush.
What's the cure? Try these treatments the next time you get stuck.
Don't try to get it perfect the first time. Don't be afraid to write something that is so bad that you wouldn't show it to a six-year-old for fear of ridicule. The most important thing is to write something, anything, even if it is far from perfect.
If you can't fix it, go around it. Stuck on a headline, sentence, or paragraph that you just can't get right? Just skip a problem section and move onto the next. You don't have to write everything in order. You can always go back and work on difficult sections later.
Look for inspiration. Go back to the source. Review the creative brief, background materials, and other notes and information on the product or service you're writing about. Often this will be the catalyst for new ideas, or ideas that you thought about earlier but then forgot.
Take a break. Grab a coffee or take a walk around the block to clear your head. Try to think of anything but the project. Sometimes clearing your head also clears the block.
Try mind mapping. This is explained in more detail in Chapter 4. As you connect thoughts and ideas, often that elusive “aha” moment will arrive and, before you know it, your fingers are dancing on the keyboard once again.
Don't procrastinate. Often writer's block is simply a reluctance to get in front of the computer and do the work. Here's an idea. Find a stopwatch. Say, “I'm going to work on this project for one hour, without interruptions, diligently.” Then do so until the alarm goes off.
The worse thing about writer's block is that it tends to breed even more writer's block. So take action right away using one of the above techniques. Staring at a blank screen or notepad rarely works. Just start writing anything. Map out your ideas. Make notes. Write in bullet points. Whatever gets the words flowing. Once you start taking action, momentum will kick in and, before you know it, you're writing again.