How to overcome the copywriter’s block?

Copywriter’s block is exactly the same as any writer’s block. And the same as the painter’s block. Or a composer’s block. This sense of infirmity, lack of agency, and frustration is common to all creative animals. But do we know what to do about it? Of course, we do!

Woman stuck writing copy.

You’ve got it

First and foremost: you’ve got it. You’ve done it so many times before. How is that any different? It is probably, but again, you’ve got this. Let’s do this.

Creative block can painfully undermine your self-respect as an experienced creator. And we all suffer because of that from time to time. You’re not alone. You’re not the first one, and definitely not the last.

You’ve got this.

But do I?

Even if you don’t (but you do), there’s no other way than to do anything. Start writing gibberish. Staring at the blank page and waiting won’t help. Been there, done that. 

Inspiration comes to those at work – I don’t remember, who said that. But I remember, who wrote about slapping something on the blank canvas – Van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo in 1884:

To be good – many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm – and that’s a lie, and you said yourself in the past that it was a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares – and who has once broken the spell of ‘you can’t’. Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.

It can be enough, can it?

Sometimes making the paper dirty doesn’t work, though. In those cases, once you’ve loaded your mind with questions and ideas, you need to let your mind work on its own. How?

  1. have a nap, or even sleep until tomorrow
  2. go for a walk, or a ride, whatever works for you
  3. grab a cup of coffee with friends
  4. dance
  5. go to the gym
  6. really, do whatever lets your consciousness focus on something else

One of the ways creativity works is when you load your neural machinery with ideas, problems, questions, and potential answers (even the bad ones), and then let them marinate. Your brain works even when it seems to be idle. Then sometimes your solution will appear seemingly out of nowhere, or at least your job will be easier once you come back to the desk.

crumpled sheets of paper with bad ideas

But what if?

What if it doesn’t work this time? Or you don’t have that comfort of waiting till the next day?

Call a friend. Get them on a messenger. Tell them about the struggle. You don’t need to deal with the block alone. Will they come up with solutions? Not always. But they might bring support and consolation creatives like you need. And even reframing the problem during the conversation may help your brain figure out what to do.

Bonus solution

If you have read up to this point, you can always drop me a line. I’ll try to help somehow.