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Three ways to give your writing a little va va voom

Sometimes, the words just don't come. Or when they do, they aren't quite as wonderful as you'd like them to be. Here's what to do.

Deadlines are tight in the world of writing. You can’t afford to leave a piece to simmer and come back a few back days later. You need techniques that cut through the hesitation and get your writing to where it needs to be.

Five lane traffic jam beside a commuter train
There's a metaphor here somewhere

1. Randomly overcome writer’s block This is the condition of being unable to think of what to write, or how to proceed with writing. Here's a technique that uses the mind's innate talent for making connections between different things. The fix: Randomly choose a word with an online generator, write down everything that comes into your head suggested by that word, then try to relate it back to your writing task. You'll hopefully be surprised by how you see a new way of expressing that message you were struggling with.

2. Refresh your writing with a new point of view

Copywriters often have to do the same thing, time and again. Indeed, 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content a day. It's hard to come up with fresh approaches. So, you need new ways to talk about the same things. The fix: Change the point of view. We once trained a cruise firm's writers who were tired of describing the ship experience and beautiful beaches. But when they adopted a new point of view, new worlds of possibilities opened up. They described the ship coming into port from the point of view of a passenger. Then a local. A seagull. A handrail even.

3. Find a metaphor to make it tangible A lot of business writing describes targets and strategies and policies. Trouble is, it can get a bit abstract and removed from real life. That's a big turn off for the reader, as abstract concepts are far harder to mentally process than references to actual things. The fix: Find a metaphor or image to represent the idea in reality. Microsoft's mission statement is:

Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world.

This is very comprehensive, but a lot to digest. (It's also a bit generic.) Microsoft's mission statement used to be:

A PC on every desk.

That's a simple image everyone can imagine easily, yet it represents a very bold ambition. Trying out these techniques won't just get you out of a writing rut, they'll improve your writing by giving it more variety and impact.


Fraser Coupland


Date posted: 27/06/2019

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