Staring at a blank page, thinking ‘where do I even begin?’ can chase off that very last bit of motivation you had to start writing. Writer’s block happens to the best of us and when a large part of your job is content writing, it can make the hurdle seem even more of a monster. Our blog is full of musings and digital expertise from everyone here at Silverbean HQ but sometimes the ‘blank page monster’ raises its ugly head and tries to eat up content productivity, whole! We thought it might be handy to share a few of our top tips that get us writing again.
1. Set a direction for your writing
Staring at that blinking cursor, not knowing what to write, could be down to the fact that you have no research underpinning what you want to write or even know the direction you want to go in. Not only does this hinder the beginning of the writing, it can leave you questioning what it is that you have written once you get to the end. It’s important to do the ground work in relation to the topic you are covering but it is also key to know what constitutes as good content. Look at trends, predict your own, do some interviews or just read, read, read. A sure-fire way to increase your output is to curate your input and ensure you’re being inspired by the right things, relevant to your audience.
If you are writing branded content, it may be worth having a look at our 10 commandments for branded content to get the ball rolling.
2. Set a finish line
Sometimes the task can seem absolutely mammoth because you don’t know how much you have left to do, so creating a ‘finish line’ to reach, increases the chances of the task looking less daunting and therefore you can get writing again. The process of creating a goal allows for you to define what you want to achieve from this piece of writing and helps with the understanding of who you want to be reading the finished product. It is often also beneficial to implement a deadline to work towards, set yourself a time that it has to be complete by and introduce some deadline pressure. You could even get other’s involved to hassle you, if you feel like added pressure would spur you along.
3. Plan, plan, plan
Most of us live our lives at about nine hundred miles an hour and struggle with the concept of taking time out for planning. Sometimes when words won’t come to mind, it’s often the fact that you have absolutely no clue what direction to head in. Something as simple as planning out the major details could be the difference from sitting looking at a blank space for a few hours and getting some words down and realising that you are nearly finished.
eConsultancy have created this pretty cool looking handy planning tool which divides up the sections you need to tackle, making it seem so much more achievable than it did when you were looking at the piece as a whole.
The Periodic Table of Content Marketing, by Chris Lake.
When it comes to planning, if all else fails, go with the trusty old bullet points technique. Merely setting out what you have floating around in your head on to paper often gives you a loose structure and a push in the right direction to get writing.
4. The ‘Blank Page’ Hurdle
When you have a load of ideas in your head, getting them out in a coherent order can often be the hardest task. Start writing anything, write in the complete wrong order, worry about it making sense later but just starting writing something. You can always move things round later when you have some words to work with to get a natural order (who said you had to start at the very beginning anyway?, it’s not always the best place to start!)
5. Take the time
It seems like an obvious one, but taking some dedicated, undisturbed time to just sit and concentrate on one thing alone may make all the difference. Many of us live our lives, juggling far too many things at once, and our productivity is often the collateral damage. Taking the time to close down all other running applications that may threaten to pop up and distract you and moving your phone far out of reach, means that your content will be receiving your complete and undivided attention.
6. Playlist Productivity
Like many others, I find that music can move me along from that daunting blank page, to well on my way to complete. There’s something about certain tracks that can inspire me to start writing when all else has failed. Choosing that perfect playlist can cause a few problems though, however, turning to science may be the answer according to Hubspot’s ‘6 Psychology-Backed Playlists for Improving Your Productivity‘. Make sure that you create yourself a playlist or hunt down an inspirational listen on Spotify for future ‘Writer’s Block’ dilemmas so you’re always prepared.
7. Put yourself into the reader’s shoes
If you’re still staring at a blank page, try putting yourself into the reader’s shoes, keeping in mind your buyer personas and think about what the reader is wanting to gain from reading your content. I always find it handy to hunt down the blog savvy people that you know for some further insight into all the interesting reads and musings that they’ve come across lately. Draw upon their experiences and current struggles, you just may be able to produce some content that may help out others sat in the very same position.
Hopefully, you reading this post wasn’t merely procrastination at its best (although Silverbean blog reading is a top choice!), but if it was, we’re hoping that some of these tips will have inspired you to start writing again. Let us know some of the tricks that you have used in the past, when you find yourself sat staring at that blinking mocking cursor, that is yet to produce a word! As always we’d love to hear from you on Twitter @silverbean or in the comments box below. If you’re still stuck, you can also check out our guide to B2B user-generated content for some business-to-business content marketing focus.