Creativity Can’t be Coerced
It is important to understand when you are at your most creative. For some people, this might be late at night, for others, first thing in the morning. You will have your best chance of creating great content if you play to your strengths and write, or plan, at a time when you are feeling at your most creative.
I am sure some people can decide to sit down every third Tuesday between 10 am and 1pm, write for three hours and be very creative indeed. But for others, inspiration cannot be coerced in that way and will come from interaction with people and ideas. Ideas that resonate with you, challenge existing beliefs, or create an emotional reaction, these are the things which are likely to spark creativity. Many ideas come whilst you are doing something else. This is why I am seldom far from a notebook and pen. Keeping a folder of content ideas can be helpful. I keep a folder to which I add notes and ideas as they occur to me. I find this useful for kick-starting the creative process when I am ready to write.
Begin in the Middle
Blank white paper and brand new Word documents can kill inspiration. I start with an idea from my inspiration folder and run with it to see where it takes me. Starting from a note, draft or idea fools my brain into thinking I’ve started already, so I don’t get that blank page paralysis. It can be helpful to just start writing somewhere. Have an idea where you are going of course, but there is no law that says you have to start at the very beginning. This post formed the middle section of a post about something else entirely. The trick is to just get your thoughts onto paper. You can tidy them up later. I’ve found that telling myself the document is a draft that I can tweak and tidy up reduces the pressure to create startlingly amazing content in one draft.
Don’t be a Butterfly
Commentators in the fields of both Psychology and Time Management tell us that concentrating on one task, or set of related tasks, is highly efficient. Switching between different types of task breaks concentration. Once concentration is lost it can take a while to get it back again. We’ve all had that situation where we are in the midst of drafting the most impressive document ever and there is an interruption. A colleague has a question. The phone or doorbell rings. We go back to the task and find we can’t remember what we were going to write next.
Setting aside a time to concentrate fully on content creation, without interruptions, is therefore worthwhile. You will get more done and ultimately be able to create more content if you can minimise distractions during the time you are writing.
Getting all your thoughts out onto paper in one single session can be a great way to create pieces of related content. The draft might be very rough at the end of your writing session but you can set aside time later to review and polish the content for publication. It is easier to see the areas that need improvement if you leave the draft to sit for a few days without looking at it. You bring a fresh eye to it and can see where the text can be improved. If your writing has accidentally gone off on a different track part way through, then you can remove that part and keep it as a draft to be incorporated into another piece of related content. Often it is easier, and quicker, to write this second piece of content because you have already partly thought through your argument and know the direction you want to take it in.
Be Human. Be You.
Writing is just speech in written form. Just be you. Make your content flow as though you are talking to the reader. The more you write, the more your unique voice will make itself known in your writing. If you find that difficult on paper or on the computer screen, you could try recording your content using your phone’s voice recorder app. Just chat away and then either transcribe it yourself, send the recording to your VA or use a specialist transcription company. I offer transcription as part of my package of services so if this would be helpful to you, please get in touch .
Tell a Tale
People love a story. If you can make a narrative flow then you will draw your reader into your world and allow them to learn more about you and your subject. It can be a challenge to make a story out of everything, and some subjects may not lend themselves to this approach. However, at the very least there should be a progression in the argument which takes the reader on a journey and draws them in, making them want to know more about the subject matter. A logical progression in a narrative makes the reader want to learn more. In more factual content, breaking up the text into sections will increase readability.
There are some great content creators out there who have the knack of creating memorable content. Often they are doing this by using their own unique voice in their content, or by telling stories in a way that is memorable and effective. Whilst you don’t want to be copying others, you want to create your own voice, it can be helpful to look closely at the structure of content which you find attractive and examine the methods the author has used to draw in their audience. This can help you to hone and improve your own work as well as work out how you can use your unique voice to create content that others will want to emulate.