As an Oakland, CA freelance content writer, I do a LOT of writing. A LOT. I write for myself, I write for clients, and I write for fun! How do I consistently come up with things to write about, which as I mentioned in a previous post, is crucial for success? Magic! Just kidding.
The reality is there are days when everyone, myself included, feel uninspired. A day when we’ve encountered the dreaded writer’s block. Nobody can be switched “on” all the time because we’re not robots. Heck, there are also days when robots aren’t working properly! My phone is like a robot and sometimes it acts glitchy. So. Cut yourself some slack if you’re in that writer’s block space. AND there are still ways to maintain consistency regarding your creative content. Read on for my tips on how to keep content coming.
That’s right – recycle your content! Some things you’ve written are timeless and can be used over and over again. In journalism, we call stories like those evergreens because like evergreen trees, they are constantly fresh. There’s no worry the story will become stale because it’s not breaking news. In your business, certain articles will always be relevant. For instance, if you’re a doctor, there will never be a time a blog about cures for the common cold will be passé. People always want to know how to treat their cold from the comfort of their home. Maybe you tweak a few things to make the blog more relevant, but for the most part, the content can stay the same.
I remember the first time I started recycling old blogs and wondered if people would judge me or think I was trying to pull a fast one. The reality is, most people don’t pay much attention to anyone other than themselves. They likely won’t notice if you recycle content because they don’t remember your content as well as you do. And if they do, so what? People like to get reminders about things they learned before.
Also, if your content is from more than a year ago, you’ll have signed new customers or clients in that time period and that means for some people, your content really will be fresh. It may seem like it’s cheating to reuse something you’ve written before, but take it from me, it’s not cheating, it’s smart.
You know how you get creative juices flowing? By being silly. Ever notice how silliness and creativity go hand in hand? That’s because they’re both synonyms for playful. Play requires trying new things without judgment, like dancing around in your apartment or drawing a terrible picture. The act of doing something silly will get your juices flowing. Once you laugh, it releases tension, and doing something silly is a great icebreaker.
As for me, when I really don’t want to write something but I have to (hi deadlines!), I start typing over and over on the page: “I don’t want to write this. This is stupid and terrible and I hate it” and then I just keep going. There’s something magical about putting your fingers to the keyboard. The very act of typing can put me in the mood and then suddenly the act of writing isn’t so hard anymore.
Also, closely related to the topic of silliness, is movement. Research from Stanford demonstrates movement is crucial for creativity. So the next time you’re stuck, dance around, go for a walk, or do something physical (maybe even silly!) to get your brain grooving again.
Be the Conduit
Sometimes I get twisted up with, well, everything, thinking I’m in charge, that creativity comes from me alone, that I have to do everything, etc. The reality is we’re all conduits or channels for creativity. Creativity moves through us like a river. It’s up to us to be open to the flow and get out of the way. There’s always more creativity when we open up to something greater than ourselves. I’m sure you’ve seen that uber-popular Ted talk from Elizabeth Gilbert on the subject.
At the same time, creativity can strike anywhere: like the shower. But that’s not the best place to write, on account of being wet and all. In that situation, keeping a list is helpful. You jot down the idea you had in the shower, and then it acts as a bookmark that you can pick up later.
Open Your Ears
What are the people around you talking about? What questions are they asking? Those questions reveal pain points that perhaps you know the answer to and can write about. This goes for you as well – what do you want to know? If you’re curious about what makes an SEO-worthy blogpost, google it! And then write about it. If you need help with something, chances are someone else does too. I’m running into exactly this issue as an Oakland, CA freelance content writer. A client of mine wanted to know the difference between Wix and Squarespace so I researched it and then wrote a blog for him about it. His curiosity lead to a blog topic and to another because now I’m writing a blog about the difference between Wix and WordPress! One idea can launch another if you’re paying attention and following your curiosity.
What are your favorite ways to keep your content flowing? Tell me in the comments below. And if you need help maintaining content on your blog, get in touch. I’m happy to help. Lastly, did you like this post? If so, share it with your friends and family.