What do you do when you are stuck in your writing? You’ve got some words down, but you’re not sure they’re as good as they should be. Or maybe they just aren’t enough words. Now what?
Every writer gets stuck at some point. For me, it was yesterday staring at a customer project. This is why you build some extra time into projects! It’s completely normal and natural to get bogged down in your own words at times. Fortunately, none of us really stay there, and I know you won’t either.
When you just need to get things moving, here are five (well, six) tips to make space to get your words where you want them to be.
1. Take a break!
Sometimes your brain just needs a little rest. Go for a walk. Open a new project. Sleep on it. Create a calendar reminder to come back in two days. The length of the break you need can be different for every piece of writing, but stepping back and giving yourself some space can make an impossible task completely do-able!
2. Read it out loud.
You’ll probably want to do this in a quiet space. It may feel weird the first time (or the first 20 times), but it works. Reading your work out loud activates different parts of your brain and can give you a whole new perspective. It’s okay to pause and jot down notes when inspiration strikes, but you should try to make it through the entire piece or section at least once. This can also be a great way to edit for spelling mistakes and typos!
3. Have a friend or colleague review it.
When you really can’t look at it for one more second, it’s time to look for some objectivity from someone else. Asking for a quick, friendly review gives you some space from your work- you can’t try to change it while someone else has it!- and another viewpoint can see things that you weren’t considering. Or, a great review could give you the confidence you were looking for!
4. Tell yourself it’s for someone else.
This is a little mental gymnastics, but it can work. If you’ve ever written for someone else, go look for THAT perspective. It lets you distance yourself from the personal connection to each and every word and introduce a little objectivity. You may just find yourself thinking, “Why did I think THAT was so important?”
5. Just start re-writing.
If you’re quite confident that your writing needs a good solid re-do, then just start it. This is a little bit like brainstorming. No judgement at first. You might find some of the worst ways to re-write it before you get on the right track. That’s ok. Sometimes we need to find what doesn’t work to get to the brilliance you wanted. It can also be a way to find those persistent phrases that simply must be included.
6. Hire that professional after all!
This is definitely the last resort, since you do want to handle this on your own. For some projects, when all else fails, it is just time to throw in the towel and find an expert. You’ll know when. Hiring professional help doesn’t mean that you have to lose all of your efforts either. You may need a copy editor or proofreader instead of a copywriter.
If you have questions about your writing, or are looking for some professional writing, feel free to contact me for your website, sales page or email content projects!