Have you ever sat down to write for a client and your mind goes completely blank?
When it’s time to yell at your partner, reprimand the kids or talk to your friend, all of a sudden the words flow freely. But, sit down at a computer to start a writing project, and your mind shuts down. Anyone else experience this?
One of the most common complaints I hear from writers is their inability to keep the creative juices flowing, or any “juice” for that matter. Many claim they write freely for their personal blog or when they are casually writing for pleasure, but put a professional project in front of them and they are stopped up and can’t flow.
As writers for hire, we can feel anxious and easily fatigued with writing projects. The “spark” leaves and procrastination becomes a problem because writing becomes a chore – like so many other things in life that we wish we didn’t have to do.
If you’re serious about freelance writing, this mindset just won’t do!
Is it possible to be creative “on demand?”
When I started out many years ago, there were days when I wished that my writing mind had an “on switch” so I could finish all of my work on time. I realized that I was spontaneous and energetic when I was doing other activities, but when I sat down to write for a client, I felt stifled and lacked motivation and creativity to get the work done.
So, what was the problem?
After examining how I wrote and what I thought and felt while writing, I discovered that my creativity was nowhere to be found when I was writing for a client.
I had to do something, fast!
I set out to discover what I could do to kick-start the creative process. I tried a lot of things. Some worked beautifully while others were less effective. Today, I want to share with you what did work so you can feel motivated and inspired regardless of what you are writing.
1. Don’t Pressure Yourself
What does pressure do to a writer?
Self-inflicted mental pressure is your biggest enemy!
Pressuring yourself whenever you sit down and write, will only stress you. This will prevent you from performing at your best.
Believe that you’re of becoming a good writer. You can always improve your work after you’ve finished writing. In the beginning, all you have to focus on is committing great ideas down on paper.
2. Abandon the “Performance Principle”
Many people write under the “performance principle” which automatically puts pressure on them to write well, like how they did when they were in school and graded on assignments.
The “performance principle” stifles creativity because it creates fear and anxiety which prevents creativity from flowing freely.
The moment you realize that freelance writing is not about “making the grade” is the moment when you can feel freer to write. Yes, your client will be reviewing your work, but if you focus on the “negative aspects” of that process, it will stifle your creativity. When you are writing, focus on the task in front of you, not your performance and what your client will think. You can always go back and edit later.
I know this is easier said than done. I was petrified when I started writing. I didn’t even want to apply for jobs! But, I realized after a while that my perfectionism was holding me back from fulfilling my dreams and I didn’t want to look back in regret.
If you feel afraid and lack the confidence you think you need to make money as a freelance writer, check out my free report, Freelance Writing Fear Smashers. In this report, I compiled all of the things I did to overcome this and become the well-paid writer I am today. If I can do it, so can you. I believe in you!
3. Say “No” to Expectations!
Remove the words “should” and “must” from your vocabulary when you’re writing. Setting expectations for your own work is a bad idea because, again, it puts an unfair amount of pressure and stress on you.
Instead of having expectations about your work, write with the bright spirit of learning and experimentation.
Whenever you write, I want you to be free of any judgments about your work. Evaluate all you want during the revision stage. For now, let your imagination run free and see what happens when you try different techniques. Go ahead… Write, play and enjoy it!
4. Try Freewriting!
If you have exactly 10 minutes of free time, I want you to try this “crazy” technique to get your creative juices flowing. Use a word processor, pen and paper or even a typewriter.
Write for 10 whole minutes. You are not allowed to pause, stop or read your work. Keep your hands moving for ten minutes, no exceptions!
Use a timer or stopwatch for this creative exercise. It doesn’t matter what you write. Start from the end, middle or the beginning. You can write an essay, poem, story, article or any kind of prose. As long as you’re writing, you’re doing it right.
Examine how you feel right after you try this exercise. Do you feel happy and exhilarated? That’s the spirit – why not give it another spin?!
5. Write Using Another Personality
This is a secret technique that many writers use to finish projects with which they are not familiar.
Visualize yourself as an expert or scholar on the topic. Ask yourself, “What would this expert say?” When you start getting ideas, just run with it – write, write, write!
This type of visualization activates parts of your memory and knowledge that have temporarily hibernated because you weren’t using them frequently.
By “shaking things up,” you will be able to access these parts of your mind and write faster and more creatively than before. Never underestimate the power of your imagination.
6. Take a Break!
If you’ve been writing for a couple of hours, you may feel like giving up. That feeling is temporary – all you need is a short break to feel good about writing again.
When you take a break from writing, do something that makes you happy, but only for a fixed, short amount of time. Don’t watch TV for two hours or play video games until midnight. Just give your mind sufficient relief from work and you’ll feel fresh and renewed again.
7. Read Aloud and Write
How does reading aloud help you write?
When you are writing, sometimes your brain needs a bit more time to process what comes next.
You can help speed up this process by giving your mind the same information twice or as many times as you want by reading your work aloud.
Reading your work aloud also gives you the opportunity to examine if your writing has a smooth flow to it. Any insight that you gain from this technique can be used to facilitate revisions later on.
You now have 7 techniques to boost those creative juices… Now let’s get some writing done today!
Do you have any other “brain jumpstarting” tips? Please share them in the comments!