Copywriting 101: Out of Ideas? Just Start Writing

by JP Gorman Copywriting Tips, Writing Leave a Comment

Just Start Writing

Writing works a little differently for a business professional than it does an artist.

When expressing yourself artistically, you can wait on The Muse to provide the inspiration. When there’s a paycheck on the line, sometimes you have to start writing when you’re totally out of ideas.

It’s a bummer, but there’s only way to get through it:

Just start writing.

Whether it’s a piece of commentary to a pop culture webzine or you owe a blog post to the company website or you need to come up with something for a client’s B2B communications, it doesn’t matter: even the least interesting piece of content requires some inspiration, or at the very least an idea, prior to being written.

And sometimes, you’ll have to manufacture that. In which case, you have to learn to force yourself to pound out some drivel before you end up where you want to go.

Just Start WritingRemember, though, the stuff you write when powering through lagging inspiration, and before you find the thing itself, should never be shown to anyone else. It’s going to be bad, that’s the point! It also might not make a lot of sense, and without question it won’t be very professional.

What that means, on the other hand, is you can have some fun with it. Try the following three exercises:

  1. What’s the worst idea you can think of? Start there, let it run, and work your way back around to what you were assigned.
  2. If a product means nothing to you, try putting yourself in the shoes of someone for whom it’s a big deal. What might they think about it?
  3. What’s keeping your ideas at bay? Free write for a spell to find out, then delete everything (or copy/paste it to another document if you want to keep going later) and re-focus on your task.

If you still can’t come up with something after all this, consult a team of marketing professionals (like us!) to see if they (we!) can help.

There’s nothing wrong with being out of ideas, but giving up in the face of nonexistent inspiration is what quitters do. Writers are writers because we’re good at writing; so then, if you write for a living, you should be able to write on command! Do that, about whatever, and see where you end up.

It might not be any good, but it’ll get you going.

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