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How to conquer the blank page and make a start

Are you ready to take that blank page and make it your bitch? Good, because there’s nothing worse than sitting at the precipice of a copy job and feeling dry AF.

My favourite cures for writer’s block are Judas Priest, coffee and a biscuit (amaretti, if you’re offering), but when that doesn’t work, I use the following steps.

Come on, lads. Let’s smash this blank page together…
 
1.Read all the information, then throw it away
Okay, maybe don’t throw it away completely, but definitely tuck it out of sight. The more you try to sense check yourself as you write, the more you cripple your creativity. I recommend pouring over the brief and the ancillary material, making a shit ton of notes, then putting it all away so you can write in peace. You can go back to the brief when you’re editing to check off the elements you needed to hit.
 
2. Put a structure down
I don’t know about you, but I find the best way of making a start is to simply list out all the sections I need to hit with a piece of work. If it’s a blog post, I write a working title, fill out all my subtitles and slam all the keywords down. If it’s an email, I make a little table with all the sections the email wireframe has, like subject line, pre-header, header, body, CTA button and any pods, modules or sidebars. Gives me something to work with.
 
3. Just write
Okay, so it might not be perfect at first. In fact, it definitely won’t. The point is just to start. You know the message you need to deliver and the order in which the points should be made, so just do your best to get them down on paper. No editing, no revising, just writing. After you’re satisfied that you hit all the points you needed to, you can go back and sex it up. Sometimes I even pull sections of copy out of the brief and use those as placeholders which I’ll rewrite later.
 
4. Dig around for inspiration
Let’s assume you did point 3 (just write it down) but you can’t find the right way to refine it and turn it into something clever. Perhaps you tried to get writing but you were dry as a bone and couldn’t make the magic happen. Hey—it happens to all of us.

Take yourself off and find other examples of this particular type of content, perhaps by the company itself or one of its competitors. Dig through your inspiration stash and see if you can’t get those creative juices flowing. I find that I need to get visual stimulation before I can really do some pen-damage, so I often do a Google image search of trawl Pinterest for the inspo I need.

 

I hope this was helpful! How do you like to tackle the empty page? Sling your tips below and share them with the internet.

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