3 quick writing prompts that will stop you staring at a blank page for 55 minutes

3 quick writing prompts that will stop you staring at a blank page for 55 minutes

It comes out of nowhere. I’ve had the ideas in my head for weeks, written them down, bored my husband to death with them, and then I sit down to write and my mind goes blank. 

[But you’re a copywriter Ash, this shouldn’t happen to you…]

I know. I know. But I’m only human and it’s hard to get your words out of your head and onto the page – especially when you’re writing about yourself. How do you sound like you know what you’re doing without looking arrogant? 

Once I’d taken a deep breath and reminded myself that I do this for a living, I got my shit together and created what you can see on my website. BUT it got me thinking, what about people who live in fear of their website copy, email newsletter or anything else they need to write? Those people who promise their web designer it’ll be right with them and they haven’t written a thing yet, or that they’ll write something tomorrow but never do.

This article is for you. You blank page beauties.

1. Set a timer for 5 minutes 

The trick is not to see it as some gigantic task. Set your timer and write whatever springs to mind. Don’t overthink it, just write and see what comes up without putting too much pressure on yourself. Tell yourself that it’s fine to stop after five minutes – because it is – but I’m pretty sure you’ll still be writing after 5 minutes is up without even realising it. Starting is always the hardest part.

2. Break it up into sections

You’ve heard the saying ‘the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time’ and it really is the best way to get stuff done. When I first decided to set up my business I almost didn’t do it, the amount of things I had to do overwhelmed me (still does sometimes); but I didn’t want it to defeat me because I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and stopping at this first hurdle seemed silly. So I wrote down a little task I knew I could tackle, then another, and another (you get it) and before I knew it, things snowballed into what you see today – not perfect by a long shot – but a functioning business that I’ve created. If you keep ticking off the little things you’ll be amazed at what you can get done.

Let’s say you want to write your home page, rather than see it as a huge task (it’s most likely the first thing people landing on your website will see after all) you need to break it down into smaller sections. Write down a name for each section and then fill in these smaller bits. Make sure the copy leads your reader from one section to another, eventually bringing them to the call to action at the end. You can apply this to anything you’re trying to write for your business.

3. Write to one person

Writing can feel really overwhelming when you feel like you have to please everyone with what you’re saying. It can make you unfocussed, and sometimes quit because it seems like it’ll never be right. The best way to overcome this is to talk to one person (think of a friend, family member, your ideal customer or make someone up if you have to). Have them in your mind as you write and don’t worry about making your words suit everyone. It’s so much easier when you only talk to one person. 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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Ashley is a copywriter + digital content strategist. She's also a firm believer that the best way to eat a scone is jam before cream. She helps startups, entrepreneurs and independent brands get paid to be their fabulous selves. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @_ashleyhoyland.

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