As Eliza Doolittle sang in My Fair Lady, “Words. Words. Words! I’m so sick of words!”
It happens to the best writers. Inspiration tends to be quashed as we become deluged with projects or dig so far down in the details that we start to suffocate. Inspiration for content can come from anywhere, including technical research or a particularly good daydream, but it may help to consider a few simple thoughts when you find yourself stalled. Check out our top eight ways to stay inspired when writing.
They could also be work boots, flip flops, wingtips, or pointed toe pumps. Either way, the advice is the same. Well-written and researched content holds no value if it’s not speaking to the intended audience. It’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t writing content for your client. You’re writing content for your client’s prospects. There’s a big difference there.
Speak their language. Speak to their needs. Offer a solution. This is one of the reasons you got into this wonderful business — to try on different hats and play pretend. So, get excited! And while you do it, you just may be the one to discover the key that unlocks a response that leads to sales.
“Keep it simple, stupid.” Nobody wants to work at reading something persuasive. In fact, you know in your heart that very few people want to read at all. So, cut the clutter. Get to the strategic benefit first. The details and pixie dust can sit somewhere else to tell the complete story once you capture the audience.
If it sounds or reads like “advertising,” the audience tends to tune out. Think conversationally. No matter the subject, imagine how you would explain it to a friend, or better still, your mother. Perhaps you could just take a moment to calmly explain your message to yourself. Are you convincing? Are you honest? Give the reader credit for being a human being like you.
Sometimes it helps to get up, move around, and clear your head. Great ideas and headlines can come at the oddest moments. Personally (and this is very personal) my favorite campaign was inspired when, on the verge of tears, I walked into the restroom, slammed the door of the third stall, and had a good old-fashioned hissy fit.
Somewhere in that meltdown, and I couldn’t tell you where, the idea came to me. Call it divine inspiration. I ran back to my office with a completely changed attitude and a Clio-nominated campaign. Don’t have a door to slam? Take a word break and just look at the pictures in a shiny magazine. Give your brain a refresh.
Words are beautiful things and can command attention all on their own. So, keep an eye out for simplification and brevity, but don’t let a designer mess with your head. A picture can be worth a thousand words, but similarly, the right words can paint a picture (or even a masterpiece).
Make sure the strategic message commands the stage. Of course, character counts in paid social media are unavoidable. Turn that into a fun word game. Award yourself extra points for an exact fit, and keep in mind that the click through can lead to great content.
When you need concept inspiration, turn on music. When you need to get down to the nitty-gritty details, turn it off. There’s not much to this one. It just seems to work for me. Something about the melody of my favorite music draws the words out, but when it’s time to start editing and tailoring the specific language, it becomes a distraction. Try it for yourself to find the rhythm that works for you.
Tap it out. Scribble on a napkin. Record it. Share it. Ninety percent of your notes will be worthless, but somewhere in the never-ending pile of one-liners is a gem. When you’re stuck, dig through all those old ideas. If you don’t find the diamond in the rough, you might find the idea that sparks the true gem.
Don’t let your thoughts sail away without some sort of anchor. Don’t allow yourself to say, “Oh, that’s great. I’ll remember that.” You won’t. When inspiration strikes, find a way to record it. You might be surprised at yourself later down the road.
It’s no secret — words are hard. What we do as writers isn’t an easy thing. But remember, without content we’d all be looking and listening to a lot of wasted space and air. When you have the right tools to help you through those foggy moments, it can make life a lot easier. Hopefully this list is exactly what you needed to get back on the horse.
Now, take a breath. Adjust your focus. Believe in yourself. Type on to glory.