We all have those days, you know. Days when you don’t feel like writing, and every sentence looks crammed and soulless.
You blame it on the weather. You blame it on white page syndrome. Then, you think of something else to blame. As you fiddle about, the deadline approaches. And before you know it, writing becomes a time-sensitive race. Ranting is OK – for a bit. But when you write for a living, you can’t drown in whining for too long. Whether you’re a copywriter, an academic or an author, you need to keep writing to meet the freakin’ deadline. So: how to get your writing mojo back quickly?
Bad news: there’s no universal answer or magic formula for this. Good news: you can try a variety of techniques and strategies, and see what works best for you. In this post, you can find some of the things I do to keep writing when I’m stuck in a rut. Browse around and get inspired!
Foreword: Acknowledge your human side
Zero motivation days happen. But when you can’t write when you should, a sense of guilt often comes into play. However, feeling guilty triggers a downward spiral that only makes it more difficult for you to start writing again. So, acknowledge your human side. Negative sentiments don’t help.
Consider you audience’s feelings and reactions
Sounds crazy? Well, it kind of is. But it’s a good way to reinvigorate your writing when your content looks dull and flat. Consider: how you’d like your audience to feel after reading your blog post, chapter or essay? What you’d like them to do, know or think?
The answers will help you define the mood for the piece, and decide on the key information you need to share. It also provides insights on how you should write your piece to achieve your goal. Which is a pretty good start.
Embrace writing formulas
When you don’t feel like writing, the blank page is daunting. But you don’t need to bear it all alone. Need to write a blog post quickly? Develop your outline based on a popular copywriting formula, and spice it up with a personal touch. While strict adherence to proven formulas might backfire, there’s nothing wrong with dusting off a template when you need to keep writing to meet a deadline.
Spice up your writing space
I get it: you can’t always trade your studio for a stroll. It would be nice, but that’s not how life works for most of us. Still, you can reap the benefits of a change of scenery by tweaking your office or working space. Here are a few tips for inspiration:
- Dive in new sounds. When I’m stuck or bored, songs become an extra source of distractions. To mitigate this, I usually switch to instrumental (and somewhat hypnotic) music. Psydub and so-called alpha wave music work like a charm for me – but you can also try ambient music or natural sounds.
- Adjust the lighting. Changing the lighting settings of your workspace can have a positive impact on performance and concentration. Give it a try!
- Switch off electronic devices. When your motivation is low, your smartphone and tablet’s distraction factor multiplies. Turn everything off for 30 minutes (or more, if you can) and focus on writing alone.
- Cozy up. Creating a comfortable writing space helps relieving writing-induced anxiety. A couple comfort props will do.
Write something different
If you’re stuck on business writing, try something different. Tickle your brain with creative writing prompts and craft a short story or two. It might not be Pulitzer material – but you might come up with an idiom, a joke or else you can use to reinvigorate your “must do” pieces.
Chunk your writing
When your writing motivation is low, tackling large projects is bloody scary. Chunking that gargantuan piece in smaller tasks is a great way to keep writing when you need to.
For blog posts, you can easily apply this chunking scheme:
- Outline your main idea.
- Draft the bulk, including conclusions and CTAs.
- Revise the bulk, and draft the introduction.
- Revise the introduction, and craft headline options.
- Validate the headline, and run a final quality check.
You might still need to complete more tasks during the day. But creating sub-steps can help you get back on track quickly. Also, ticking them off your list is a natural motivation booster – which is always good.