Let’s face it – writing content is not easy – no matter what your client says about his 2 year old son winning the Booker. Writing good copy for the web can be difficult as hell – and we are being quite mild about it. In fact, unless you are a die-hard fanatic intent on writing great copy time after time after time, you are more likely to fling aside your content writing career and pursue a much easier job like walking on hot coals.
But let’s not dilly-dally about how difficult it is or what alternative career choices you have. Instead, let’s focus on:
Over the years as we have honed our craft, we have noticed a few specific problems that crop up time and again in web content writing. True, these problems plague the beginners more than the veterans but few issues stump the experts also. In the first part of this nerve-rending, never-ending series, we look at some @#%%&!#%$^% common problems that make you want to pull your hair out or at the very least – smash the monitor screen.
Problem no. 1: Writers Block
We don’t know why we picked this topic as the first one of the lot but we seem to be having a writer’s block ourselves. But honesty aside, this is a serious serious problem that afflicts everyone from novices writing their second copy to veterans writing their millionth. The problem occurs for various reasons, including lack of any knowledge of the subject or the approach to take while writing the content.
Here are some tips to get over this hurdle.
A quick way to get over it is to simply start writing whatever comes to your mind and then refining it to the extent you can – usually halfway through writing the first paragraph on the most mindless gibberish you can think of, your flow will come back. Soon you will be lost amidst a sea of words, parts of speech, figures of speech and what not. You will be able to write a 90,000-word thesis on the topic you are expected to cover in 300 words in the web page.
If nothing else, start writing ‘iorem lumpsum sili hili billy…’ or ‘the blue fox jumped over the red parrot’ or any other fantastic nonsense you feel like writing. The more nonsense you write, the more the chances of you not suffering from any writer’s block again. Why? Well, simply because your subconscious would rather write bad web copy than nonsensical gibberish.
Another thing you can try is to go to sleep (!) and start writing immediately after you wake up. If you are a normal person with an average IQ like the rest of us then there is a good chance that you will not be able to write anything coherent immediately after you get up from the bed or sofa or floor or whatever. Nonetheless, please write. Take a coffee break after a few minutes (say 5-10 minutes) and come back to your writing. Read what you have written and start writing the same thing again but in different words. You will notice that you are able to create better copy after the break. We don’t know why this happens but this strange process has worked with us. A point to note, if you work in a content writing company instead of doing freelance work from home, it may be better to not try this method at the outset but rather as a last resort.
A third way you can get over the block is to simply write some good quotes you remember. They can be from a book, a poem, a speech or from your favourite movie or sitcom. They can be insightful, cynical or downright stupid but once you see the words flow from your pen or keyboard, there is a good chance that you start writing what you wanted to in the first place – web content worthy of some applause if not a Booker.
There are some other recommended things you can do – take a walk, go on a holiday, get some shopping done, etc. – but these have not worked with us – if they work with you, then Halleluiah!
Problem no. 2: To follow later when we are back from a break!