Or, ways out of the creative rut
Regular readers will have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a while. I can’t even remember writing my last blog.
Yes, I’m a big believer in the BLOG LESS. BLOG BETTER mantra*, but seriously this is getting ridiculous.
So this morning I escaped the ToonCave to head to a café to write.
You know, like those writers you see in movies.
Looking all studious, probably wearing a scarf, with glasses perched adorably on their noses, pumping out prose to African pipe music and the waft of mocccahino fumes.
And I’ve sat here for the last 45 minutes – rationing out a solitary coffee – trying to start.
Just a crisp white page staring disapprovingly back at me.
I have a bad case of blogstipation.
My inspiration is claggy.
My creativity tubes need a colonic.
‘But what?’ You’re thinking.
How can you be writing a blog about how you can’t write a blog?
Is that a bit meta?
(I’m still not entirely sure what meta means but I’ve wanted to use it in a blog for ages, so this is my chance.)
Well yes. But bear with me.
In this blog I’m going to examine why we (well I) sometimes find it hard to write and share some tips on how to light a fire under your soggy writing wood.
Blog enema ready? Let’s get stuck in.
The reasons why we get blogstipated
1. Play becomes work
As a copywriter I’m required to squeeze out wordy goodness at the drop of cat.
Day in day out I have to create and sew words together into a beautiful rug of conversion, empathy and entertainment.
I can’t wait for inspiration to slap me in the face.
I have to slap my own face and get started. Because that’s how I earn my daily crust. No words. No money.
And that’s tough.
After hours of creating for others the last thing I want to do is write for myself.
It’s why plumbers have leaky loos.
Cobbler’s kids wear worn trainers.
And chefs starve to death in their own kitchens. (Sorry I got a bit carried away there).
What used to be my hobby is now how I make my hot sticky moolah.
And that sometimes sucks the joy out of it.
2. Limited juice
I’m a firm believer that we all only have so much creative juice in our systems.
And every mundane thing we do uses up that juice.
We dribble a little out with every email we send, every Facebook status we write, every phone call we have. So that by the time we sit down with our quill and parchment – the ink has run completely dry.
3.Timing is everything
Although I espouse a working day that begins with creativity rather than admin, I don’t follow my own rules.
Let’s face it – I have the will power of an inebriated slug.
The lure of the inbox is JUST. TOO. STRONG.
The sparkle of my Facebook motivations just too bright.
There are Xero transactions to reconcile.
I need to clean the crisps out of my keyboard and baby wipe my desk.
Before I know it’s midday, I need a wee and I have to pick up my kid in three hours. Far too late to get stuck into any serious writing.
4. The business of business
My business has morphed into a completely different beast.
It started off as a witty Jeff Goldbum kind of copywriting creature and now it’s a saliva covered, mutated monster business FLY!
I spend an awful lot of time running my business.
Yes, I’ve automated a hell of a lot of things but you ‘can’t automate authenticity’.
(I read that on the back of a packet of motivational cookies).
At any one time I have hundreds of students on my courses or my copywriting membership. I have three (maybe four) Facebook groups, I have customer service emails from four websites to reply to. Then there are the social media likes, comments and questions. The three podcasts to record.
It’s all a bit ridiculous – and I love it.
Sometimes I love running my business way more than actually writing.
It’s black and white, it’s checklists, it’s process – it’s left brain.
Copywriting is right brain and my right brain is lazy as crap.
My wonderful VA helps with a lot, but often I want the easiness of spending a relaxing half hour checking things in spreadsheets as I listen to Spotify.
Much more than I want to stare at a blank page and try to be funny and/or clever.
How to overcome blogstipation
Okay let me get the obvious ones out of the way first.
- Use Pomodoro: set the time writer for 25 mins then take a break (didn’t work).
- Carrot on a stick: promise yourself a reward at the end of the blog (didn’t work).
- Just write an outline: rather than facing writing the whole thing just decide to write some bullets (didn’t work).
- Dance around: Put on some toons and dance around to bring back your energy (erm, no I’m British).
- Go for a walk: Get some fresh air and some perspective (I walked here. Nothing.)
The truth is I sat down to write an amazingly useful, business focused 2000-word post with infographics, and tips and a video and a checklist.
I set my standards way too high.
Yes, with my Google beret on I bleat the message of researching customer topics, writing quality content, using the Skyscraper technique and only producing killer content.
But the truth is there’s nothing wrong with writing something just because you want to write it.
Write about your cat’s new collar.
Write about that piglet jumper you made.
Write about Tom Hardy eating fish fingers.
Not every blog post needs to be a magnum opus.
So, I decided to give myself a break. I wrote about the first thing that came into my head.
And that was blogstipation.
Now I’m done.
My tubes are cleansed.
My bum hole is unclenched and my shoulders a few inches lower.
It was good for me, was it good for you too?
Over to you
How to you remove the blog blockage?
* This is something I preach on my Recipe for SEO Success course. The theory that it’s better to create one good 2000-word blog post a month that’s useful, clever, and creative, than pump out 4 x 500 word shitty filler posts just to please the Google gods.
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