June was a terrible month for my writing, but it’s not my fault. I’ve got valid excuses for my lack of production. We’re swamped with work, I’m in the middle of a massive renovation on my house, and I’m trying to launch my brand accelerator program in August.
As legitimate as they may be, those are still just excuses. The reality is I’m prioritizing the wrong things and one skipped post led to four skipped posts. Now my stress level has skyrocketed and my focus has cratered.
It turns out writing is the one thing that centers me. Dropping that from my normal weekly schedule has been crushing to my mindset. Even with our client list growing and my income rising, I became less and less motivated as the month continued.
I’ve finally shed the monkey and found my way back to writing, but it wasn’t easy. This is the first time since I’ve been consistently writing over the last two years that I hit what I’d consider writer’s block. I hid behind being too busy all month, but that’s not the real reason I didn’t produce anything beyond my weekly email and short LinkedIn posts. The true source of my struggles is a lack of accountability.
You’ll eventually hit a tough patch if you write enough. The motivation will dry up and putting out quality articles will feel like torture. If (or when) the writing demons take hold, here are three tips that helped me get back to writing. These are simple tips you can steal and put to work today.
Tip 1: Be Selfish With Your Time
My productivity peaks before 10 am. All of my best thinking happens in the morning. Protecting one hour during this peak creativity is crucial to our success as a company and my sanity.
This is an easy concept to grasp. Set aside an hour that is yours. Unfortunately, it’s really hard. Deadlines, meetings, emails, and ten other hot items will pop up and demand your attention. I think the to-do list is the devil killing most of us.
You have to be selfish. Carve out a specific time for yourself each day and cut all distractions. Turn off your email, avoid social media, close Slack, turn down meeting requests, and give your full attention to writing.
This one tip will help with writing more consistently, but it’ll also make your life more enjoyable. If you’re like me, your schedule is stacked with meeting after meeting and emails batter your inbox relentlessly. Find an hour in your day where you can get away from it all and focus on writing something worth reading.
Bonus Tip: Hire an assistant to manage your meeting schedule. Set up Calendly, block out an hour (or two) each day where your assistant can’t schedule meetings, and let them have full control of your schedule. It’s much easier for someone else to say you don’t have availability and turn down meetings than it is for you to do it yourself. I just started doing this and it works.
Tip 2: Help Someone
My best articles are the most helpful ones. That’s why I try to write every article as the solution to a problem. For me, this is a simple recipe for an article that provides value to the people who give me their attention.
We all have problems we’re trying to solve. Each of these problems is an article waiting to be written. You just have to spot the juicy problems worth addressing.
Take a step back and revisit conversations and meetings. List problems your customers, friends, clients, and employees mentioned. Now go through the previous day and list every problem that smacked you in the face. Seeing problems is a skill. Like any skill, you can practice and get better at spotting them.
I usually struggle with an article when I’m not clear on what I want to convey. Writing to address a specific problem eliminates that doubt. Don’t worry about SEO. Write to solve the problem. Give someone a guide to fixing their problem and they’ll keep paying attention.
Bonus Tip: The problem you’re fighting is often something others are fighting as well. Find the answer for yourself and then share it with other people. That’s exactly what I did with this post. This article won’t rank for any valuable keywords, but that’s not the goal with this piece. This is a practical guide for someone struggling with their content production.
Tip 3: Take The Easy Wins
Social posts and emails are writing. Yes, a blog post takes more time and focus, but any form of writing keeps your writing skills from totally decaying. Simply put,
“Any writing is writing.”
LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and email marketing are all great vehicles for practice. Putting out three LinkedIn posts and The Recipe each week kept me flexing my writing skills even though I was struggling to complete blog posts and Medium articles. Tackling a short LinkedIn post is far less intimidating than sitting down to knock out a 1,000 word article. Embrace the easy and use it to build momentum.
Bonus Tip: Social posts and emails are perfect for dipping your toe into different content topics. Experiment until you find something that resonates with the folks who read your stuff. This is a sure way to know an article is worth your time because you’ve already tested the subject.
Put It All Together For The Payoff
I can point to my writing as the source for over 70% of our client list. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in ROI on my writing investment. Writing isn’t easy, but it sure is worth the time and effort. So, if you’re having a hard time like I was, give these three tips a try:
- Be selfish with your time – Carve out one hour for writing each day.
- Help people – Focus on finding people who have problems you can solve with an article.
- Take the easy wins – Use social media posts and emails to keep your writing skills from rusting while you find that spark for longer content.
There’s nothing earth-shattering about any individual tip in this article. The magic is when you tie these three simple tips together into a system and routine. I can guarantee you’ll be pumping out quality articles if you give these tips a chance.
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