26 Apr Breaking the Block: 9 Tips for More Creative Content
Everyone experiences creative block. It’s part of our work as content creators. There’s no escaping it (unfortunately), but there are some ways to get through it. It is extremely easy to get stuck in a pattern of creating the same cookie-cutter content that looks the same, sounds the same, and ultimately conveys the same message—which is that you’re bored. Seriously, readers can tell. If you’re not excited about creating your content, you can be sure that your readers aren’t going to get excited about it either.
So, what’s a content creator to do? Don’t worry, there are lots of simple things you can do to get the creative juices flowing again and start churning out content that is original, engaging, and far from boring!
Don’t Read What Others Have Already Written on Your Topic
At least not at first. Most people immediately Google the topic they’re writing about to see what other people have said about it, but this is actually detrimental to creativity (have you noticed how so many articles on the internet look the same? This is why). You want to produce original ideas and the best place to find those is in the depths of your own mind, not in content that’s already been published elsewhere. Come up with everything you can think of on your own first, then take a look at what other people have written. You should use content that’s already out there as a guide to show if you missed anything important and to check the accuracy of your own content, but not as a starting point for ideas. Trust your own unique thoughts—they are valuable.
Don’t sit down and plan to write your whole article from start to finish. Jot down notes anytime you get an idea. Do this in point form, don’t try to write full sentences yet. Often when you’re working on one project, you will get an idea for another project. Note it down for later. If you keep notes of your ideas for an article, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it comes together when you’re ready to write a draft, and it will come out less formulaic and more creative because you’ll be putting together various thoughts that came to you at different times and figuring out how to connect them, which will force originality in how you structure the piece.
Keep a File of Content that Inspires You
Save links to content that you especially like whenever you come across it. This doesn’t have to be content related to the same industry or topic that you focus on, just anything at all that jumps out and sticks with you. As you save more and more things, you will begin to notice patterns in what you like most and you can emulate those desirable qualities when creating your own content.
Change Up Your Routine
Sometimes getting the creative juices flowing is as simple as breaking your regular routine. Get a change of scenery if you can—try working outdoors or at a coffee shop you don’t normally go to. Just being in a different space and seeing unfamiliar sights can help you to think in a different way and produce new ideas. If you can’t work in a different space, try changing up other things—take an alternate route to work, write at a different time of day than usual, or rearrange your desk. Minor changes get you seeing and thinking differently, which is necessary to overcome creative block.
Keep it Varied
Create different types of content, not just the same thing over and over. This keeps both you and your readers from getting bored. Consider making videos, in-depth articles with research, listicles, opinion pieces, infographics, podcasts, even memes. Change up your content to keep from falling into a cycle of creating the same essential thing repeatedly.
Add Some Humour/Emotion
Memorable content is content that makes people laugh or feel in some way. This doesn’t mean your entire blog post has to be a big joke but adding a little quippy wordplay here and there (or a meme, as mentioned above) can make all the difference between dry copy and sparkling content. Have fun with it!
Grab a pen and paper and write down your core topic in the centre of the paper. Now write out key points all around the core topic and draw lines between those that connect and how they connect to the core. Bust out some coloured pencils and give your mind map a colour code if that helps you. How you structure your mind map is up to you—the main point of it is to outline your ideas in a non-linear way to promote creativity. Getting your content ideas down in a visual way helps to think about the ways your various points can connect and is more likely to leave you with a unique final product.
Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and just write continuously the whole time. It doesn’t matter if you repeat the same word over and over, write out the lyrics to a song that’s in your head, or anything else that comes to mind. Just put it down. Even if all you’re doing is writing stuff that you’ll never use (or even want to look at) again, it will get your brain moving past that block and can often generate great ideas in the end.
It really helps to talk your ideas over with another person. It can be anyone, they don’t have to know anything about your topic (in fact, sometimes it’s better if they don’t). It helps to verbalize what you are working on because it forces you to explain it in a concise way and somebody who isn’t as close to the project might ask valuable questions or have ideas that aren’t obvious from your perspective.
Don’t forget, if you want engaging, creative content but don’t have the time to build it yourself, we have a team of experts who can help! Learn about our content and copywriting services here.