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When You Don't Want To Write - Five Steps For Getting It Together
by Jessalynn Coolbaugh
My hand is stuck in the garbage disposal, my two-year-old son is wearing
the salmon I thawed out for dinner as a hat, and I'm pretty sure that
my dog ate the cat!
Needless to say, I don't much feel like writing tonight.
Have you ever had a day like this? Chances are if you're just as human
as the rest of us, you have (okay, maybe not the salmon-hat).
The real question is: when you're all out of ideas, when you're in a
bad mood, and when you have deadlines to meet, how do you snap yourself
out of it long enough to do what you have to do? There is a five step
method I've found to be useful in times like these. Hopefully, you'll
find it to be helpful the next time you hit a dry spot in your writing
Step One: Take a step back.
When you've had a bad day, and the words just won't come, allow yourself
to step away for a moment. Take a hot bath, or enjoy a cup of your favorite
tea. Either way, stop for a moment and clear your mind. This will at the
very least, help you to look at that blank paper or computer screen with
a lot less animosity.
Step Two: Write About It.
Pick up your pen or keyboard, and start writing. For most of us who have
chosen a career in writing, it has always been a release as well as a
way to make a few dollars. Allowing yourself to write about the things
that are weighing you down, can not only be therapeutic, but can also
give you a great idea for a new article. For example: you've been at odds
with your two year old all day. You might come up with a great how-to
article on dealing with temper tantrums.
Step Three: Take a nap.
When you just can't seem to clear your head enough to write, or you just
can't let go of the day’s events, lie down for a half an hour. It
doesn't have to be a long nap; research has proven that a 20 - 30 minute
“power nap” rejuvenates both mind and body.
Step Four: Plagiarize yourself.
No, no, I'm not talking about changing a few words in an old article
and trying to pass it off as new and original. I have found that a great
way to get my creative juices flowing is to take an old submission and
challenge myself to completely rewrite it using an entirely new vocabulary.
Have fun with it! Don't feel like it has to flow nicely, just find different
words to say the same thing. You can even make a game out of it, and challenge
yourself to never use the same word twice (that gets a little tough, but
you'll be laughing when you're through!).
Step Five: Suck it up!
I know that sounds a little harsh, but when push comes to shove, you're
a professional. Just because you can do your job in your pajamas doesn't
mean you can call in sick whenever you don't feel like working. An employee
who pulls that very many times, will soon find themselves standing in
the unemployment lines; just like a freelancer who misses deadlines very
often, will soon find themselves without anyone to write for. After all,
this is your reputation on the line. Even if you don't want to write,
if you don't train yourself to be able to let go of the personal stuff
when you sit down to work, you'll soon find yourself broke.
So the next time you find your two-year-old smelling of fish, your animals
decide to turn your home into a war-zone, and you get your hand caught
in an appliance, remember that there are many steps you can take to boost
your energy and creativity levels when you don't feel like sitting down
to write. Hopefully one or two of these steps will work for you as well
as they have worked for me. Here's to our success!
© Copyright 2007, Jessalynn Coolbaugh
Jessalynn Coolbaugh is a freelance copywriter, and the owner of Coolbaugh Copywriting Services. Her specialty is writing award-winning sales letters, and high-response web content. You can learn more about CCS by visiting her website at TheVoiceOfCopy.com.
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