Facing a creativity block is not that unusual a problem. Obviously, when someone tries to push themselves to come up with new unthought-of ideas every day, it is not so surprising that they feel drained once in awhile.
But for marketers, who have deadlines to meet and goals to achieve for the company, hitting a block can be very stressful. Especially for content marketers, it is expected of them to create more content every month and that’s not an easy task.
It is important to realise that we can’t circumvent a creativity block, but, what we can do is be ready for it and take the necessary steps to ensure that your productivity doesn’t suffer and that you get through the block fairly quickly.
Here are some tips which can help you do just that:
1. Get your blood flowing
Your daily routine, the things that you do mechanically without sparing the slightest thought can be your creativity killers sometimes. Doing nothing exciting for an extended amount of time can make you feel dull and uninspired.
A good way to break this dullness is by doing something impulsively, something out of the ordinary, something that can give you a rush.
At my startup Hiver, I always encourage my employees to take some time during the day to do something fun, like reading a funny book, or learning a new instrument, or play pumping music for a while. In fact, to beat the afternoon slump we play some rap music for 30 mins or more every day.
Right after we do this, we see increased energy levels in the office. It works like a charm!
Here are some ideas you can give a try:
- Learn to do a handstand and do one in public.
- Ride your bike to work.
- Get back in touch with your childhood friend.
2. Make your work a habit
Making a habit out of something can make it seem less of a task. For example, if you are a content writer, make sure that you write every day, even if you don’t need to.
This way writing will become second nature to you and hence, will not sound like a big deal.
Many times we hit a block because we think the task in front of us is enormous or is out of our comfort zone.
So make it a part of your comfort zone and chances are you will encounter way fewer blocks.
For example, if you are out of shape and haven’t run in a while, running for the first time can seem like a huge task to you. On the contrary, if you run 2 miles every day, as a practice, then running 3 miles one day won’t seem like that big a deal.
3. Doodle on
When I first discovered this tip, I was quite surprised myself. Who knew a trivial habit like doodling can help you get you to focus and become creative?
According to research, doodling can help you collect your thoughts, retain, and grasp new ideas better, and learn concepts faster.
In an experiment, an architect who was stuck on coming up with a design for kindergarten activity space was asked to doodle his signature over and over again, and from the signature, he got a new design idea for the building.
In fact according to many people, doodling in meetings helps them understand and focus better. So maybe, next time you shouldn’t tell your employee off for doodling in a meeting.
4. Change your work location
Don’t be too surprised to know that sometimes, your big block problem is because of a reason as simple as a bad, uninspiring workspace. So try making your workplace more creative.
Here are some tips you can try:
- Make it more vibrant by adding colors, bright ones!
- Take it to another level by adding quirky quotes and great posters.
- Make your work desktop aesthetically pleasing.
- Be surrounded by things you love, for example, if you love cars have pictures of the new BMW in your line of sight.
If nothing else, then get out to a cafe and work there for a while. According to a recent study, the noise level in a cafe which is around 70 decibels, is exactly right to get your creative juices flowing.
5. If you can’t work, talk
Many times sitting alone and working may not be as effective in inspiring thoughts and ideas, as having conversations about it with others.
For example, if you are digital marketer struggling to come up with ideas for a social media campaign – instead of locking yourself away in a broom cupboard until you find a great idea, get out there and connect with some influencers. If they live in the same city, invite them for coffee and chat with them. Get a third perspective and mull over things with them.
You never know, they may say something that can inspire your next big idea!
6. Focus on detail-oriented aspects of your work
Your marketing campaign is due soon and suddenly you just can’t seem to come up with a good idea for concluding it. What do you do? Beat yourself up for being stuck? Definitely not!
Take your mind off the frustration of hitting a block by focusing on some other aspect of the campaign. For example, if it’s an ad video, work on the details of the content you have finished so far. Work on the font size of the information, what colours to use etc.
If you are a blogger and you are finding it hard to work on writing a new post, focus on the layout, format structure and other details of your ready-to-go posts and so on.
This way even during a creativity block, you are being productive by doing other things which don’t involve a lot of creative thinking.
Plus, focusing on details can help you become more mindful which in turn can help you un-focus on your frustration and focus on the task itself. This can many times help you get through the block faster.
Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye – Dorothy Parker
Blog Content or Promotion?
I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.
Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.
But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.
Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.
Both Content and Promotion
Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.
Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.
Does Blog Content Make You Money?
starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.
Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,
You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.
You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.
Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.
Content makes zero dollars.
You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.
Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?
One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:
Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook
Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.
But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.
100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.
Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.
Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.
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