When you’re high-powered copywriters like us, people are endlessly fascinated by the details of your life: your illegitimate children, your favorite rehab facility, your stance on global health care. OK, no they’re not. But here’s something we do get asked a lot:
Dear Hired Pens,
Despite the fact that “writing” is not in my job description, I still do a fair amount of it. And I have to say: Staring at a blank computer screen is just so … I can’t think of the right word, but I hate it. Any advice?
–Concerned Business Person Who Hates Writing
The word you’re searching for is “synergistic.” No, just kidding. That’s never the right word.
But yes, we do have advice. We also have compassion because even professional writers like us hate staring at blank screens. (Tip: Stare into space instead, and people will just think you’re pensive and deep.)
Or, just follow these three steps. You’ll save time and energy – and prevent your contact lenses from drying out due to all that staring.
Step One: Just relax.
Yeah, we know, your deadline is looming – you had to get it done yesterday! (Let’s all make a pact to stop saying that, OK?) But do you really think you’re going to do your best work when you’re a stress monkey? So stop panicking. How? Stop thinking about the end result. Don’t get ahead of yourself because all you need to do right now is …
Step Two: Tell it like it is.
Let’s say you’re writing a sales letter to introduce your biggest client to your company’s cool new product. Pretty daunting, huh? Yeah, if you think of it like that. Instead, imagine you’re having a low-key conversation with a friend and she asks you about the same product. What do you say? Good – write that down. That’s your starting point.
Step Three: Now work it, baby.
Except for maybe Kerouac, nobody just sat down and wrote anything that was worth reading in one try. Nearly all good writing, from business proposals to novels, starts with an outline and takes at least a few drafts. Even old Jack probably could have done with a few rounds of revisions himself.
If you’re still stuck despite these three steps, give The Hired Pens a call. How’s that for a shameless self-promotion? Sorry, we had to include it. It was in our outline.