5 Ways To Smash Writer’s Block

So you have a deadline looming, or you want to write that content. A blog, or perhaps a manuscript, there’s a hidden “book within” and … nothing. Perhaps you are a seasoned writer, and for one reason or another, you find yourself with a blank page, an empty screen feeling disgruntled. Maybe you are a business owner in need of content but are left scratching your head.

So to get creative- you can do a couple of things to help stimulate that wordsmith mind.

I often say in our workshops; writing has a certain elitism to it that is incredibly overrated. Writing began as scratches in the dirt to communicate. It continues to communicate. If we wish to utilize Search Engine Optimisation, then we need to be using the correct bindings of grammar and readability. However, FIRST- writer’s block.

1) Often creativity arrives peripherally. You know when you are straining your mind trying to think of something, and it just gets blocked up, nothing comes through- zilch. Then, when you divert your mind to something else- bang! The answer pops up just like that. For example, you are trying to remember that 80’s TV character, it’s evading you. Then the next day you are shopping for vegetables and BINGO! You remember Cringer is the alter ego of Battle Cat from He-man. So encourage your peripheral creativity, how so? Get it doing something different!

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2) Nature Walk – beach or bush – as humans, we relax when we are in nature, and it can be incredibly stimulating to be in and around a natural environment. When we unfocus our minds from “other thoughts” and focus on the “right now” an outdoor wander can be the light bulb moment. Don’t forget to take a smartphone so you can voice record your ideas as they come through; then you can keep them for later. Often when we get a great idea, we aren’t carrying a notebook, and we can forget those nuggets of wisdom. If you have something on hand to record your thoughts- you will start to accumulate them like shells on the beach. (Social media tip- don’t forget to take a pic of something nice on your walk for your Instagram and Facebook feed.)

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3) People watch- the opposite of the nature walk. Find a great cafe, and people watch. Complete strangers- look at them (don’t stare too long though or you will gain creep status). Use some imagination. Where are they going? What happened to them yesterday? Are they sad? Then make the rest up. What star sign are they? Do they like their kitchen clean or are they messy folk with a phobia of moths? Let your imagination take over; there might be a story in there. People watching was the go-to for Hemingway in Paris in the 1920’s and remains a wonder tool for the uninspired.

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4) Try and write a paragraph about a topic without using the words typically used for it. For example, try and describe a field of grass without using the word green, soil or sky. This can be quite tricky, but it gets you thinking in “words” that are outside of the square and gets the brain-cracking in a different direction. An indirect thought is a wonder for creative stimulation. If you go to the pantry and it is nearly empty you will end up creating something different and unique- same goes here. write for 5 minutes and go back and replace all the verbs with something unusual- THIS IS GOLD!

5) Ernest Hemingway said “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Start with this. What is the truest sentence you know? Start from there, and words will form. Write them down. Procrastination can be a beautiful bedmate. To counteract it-

Sometimes you need a footy coach rip, a harsh reality checks to get you going. Some no fluff no BS words of wisdom. Stephen King has sold millions of copies of books around the world. Many people know him for his horror genre not realizing he is the master wordsmith behind Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile or by Me. The man is a genius and his other talent, and he doesn’t suffer fools. This includes his university lectures. I quote:

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Remember if you want a long length of string, you have to unravel it and let it roll out, it’s no good sitting in your pocket.

If you would like to learn more about writing excellent content, monetizing your content, sculpturing ideas into articles that rank and all the tools of the trade be sure to join us for our Writing Masterclass at Point Lonsdale. Tickets are at Eventbrite, you can click this link for more info.

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Twitter

Twitter for Business

With a multitude of social channels you are doing your business an injustice if you don’t engage in every social channel. Of course you have heard that Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin are cementing themselves in the online world but you should also look upon Twitter with the same eyes.

Before anything you will need to get a grasp of the terminology used on Twitter so that you can interact with your clients/customers and make the most of the functionality of the platform.

A tweet is the message that your business posts on the platform, which can be made up with a mix of text, photos, videos and don’t forget to hyperlink. Keep in mind that all tweets can only be 140 characters—not a lot of content but you will soon get why.

It is crucial that you master the art of hash tagging and mentioning; with 140 characters there is only so much you can write so you need to make your page and content searchable to other users. We always hear of hashtags ‘trending on twitter’ and if you aren’t familiar with this vocabulary, it is the gateway into conversation that is being most talked about. For example #BanTrump is a way for Twitter users to voice their concerns about Donald Trump’s power in the United States and this is a way to find petitions and distaste against his decisions. Now we know you guys are not going to be using your page to discuss political issues but this can be translated in the same way any other business such as a hair salon with #Hairgoals. Mentions are a synonym for tagging people so you can bring a tweet to someone’s attention by @username. You could use it to ask someone a question, thank them or to highlight a piece of content.

Further, with mentions it is important that you keep track of mentions and utilise them properly. There is nothing worse then a customer trying to get through to you and getting no response, consequently they will become a detractor of your brand.

In the academic article ‘Social Media and Customer dialog management at Starbucks’ Gallaugher and Ransbotham stress the importance of communication and consider Twitter as a customer empowered environment where they able to speak directly to brands, “While firms have long recognised the importance of listening to and communicating with customers, they are struggling to navigate the emerging complex, consumer- empowered environment.”

It is also key for brands to understand the power of Twitter for business and how it connects people, as it creates bonds that were never possible allowing customers from different sides of the world to communicate and discuss their experiences of businesses.

“Historically, firm and customer interactions focused on two direct relationships (firm-to-customer and customer-to-firm) and one indirect relationship (customer-to-customer). Social media not only intensifies these existing relationships but also creates new options and new variations on conventional options.”

You then also have the capabilities of replying to a tweet, so this is where your business should monitor the conversation about around your business or subject matter through hashtags to provide expert opinion and assistance to other users. If you are active in replying, you will gain more followers and influential status in your industry. In the same way, it’s important to keep an eye on what other ‘authority’ users are posting, particularly in your industry, as you can retweet this knowledge to your own followers—this B2B lovin’ goes a long way on Twitter

Let’s not forget the power of acknowledgement, Twitter also allows the function of ‘liking’, allowing businesses to show interest in compatible posts while also showing other brands that you are listening to their conversation.

Now that we have established some foundation in Twitter terminology and their role in customer engagement, we need to know how to effectively post. This evidently is how Twitter distinguishes itself from other social platforms.

Attention grabbing content will increase your following and keep them constantly engaged. It would be a shame to significantly increase your following only to see it drop back down to your original figures.

140 characters is not a lot to communicate your content but it is also a blessing because it means that you can use some awesome imagery to draw your target audience in. Ultimately, Twitter is a news platform, not a blogging stage and is made to give live updates.

This is the perfect example of a good tweet.

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In this example you can see strong imagery, short sharp content and a relevant brand hashtag which iclothing has created for consumer conversation. If the tweet was directing to a blog post, you cold use url shorteners like bitly to assist with directing customers to a particular post or page without taking up too much content space.

 

 

So we hope this has made Twitter a little clearer and yes it is well worth it!