Are You Suffering Behind the Scenes?

Have you ever said, “If I have to write one more post about (something you’ve been writing about a lot) I’m going to go completely insane?”

Yeah, me too.

Once upon a time, it felt like I wrote copy for every cosmetic dentist in North America. At the drop of a hat, I could talk about veneers, teeth whitening and “laser gum surgery.”  Yeah, I was great fun at cocktail parties.

I was also bored too. So very, very bored.

I’ve seen this happen to in-house and freelance copywriters. Every day feels exactly like the day before. Your writing no longer energizes and excites you.  Everything you write starts to sound exactly the same.

If you’re being really honest with yourself, you know that your writing is starting to suck.

Here’s a reality check: This is very common.

And here’s another: You need to get a handle on this and stop suffering behind the scenes. Fast.

Here’s what to do:

Take some time off. Have you been working some heavy-duty deadlines? Is it hard to remember your last vacation? Your lack of creativity is a big red flag with “You’re burning out” in big, block letters. If you’re thinking, “I can’t afford the time. My clients/employer needs me,” consider this: They hired you for your writing ability. If your writing quality is dropping, you owe it to your client to take a break.

Give yourself some space.  Is a short-term holiday not possible right away? Start giving yourself “writing breaks.” I’ve found that scheduling one or two non-writing days during the week makes an incredible difference – and what I do write is sharp, flows easily and is even fun to write.

Take on a new challenge. Consider taking on a new client that’s not in your current niche. Or writing a short story just for fun. The key is to break out of your writing rut and stretch your wings. It’s amazing how focusing on something else for awhile can help us regain passion for our current gig.

Split up the work. Do you have 100 pages of personal injury law copy staring you in the face? Are you wondering how you’re going to write all those product descriptions without losing it? Sometimes, the best way to give yourself a break is by letting someone else do the work. If you’re still feeling the burnout blues, see if another writer can take some pages off of your plate. Not only will you get a break, but reading someone else’s copywriting approach may spark some new ideas.

Let it go. Does another type of writing (or client) excite you ? There’s no law that says that you have to keep working with the same niche group – or writing about the same topic. Slowly phase out the work that’s making you suffer and make room for your new profit center. Sometimes, a new direction is all it takes – and you’ll finally remember what you love about copywriting.

What about you? What do you do when you’re “suffering in silence?”

7 replies
  1. Jenni says:

    Another post hits the nail firmly on the head…

    I clicked on my email just after finishing YET ANOTHER seemingly homogenised blog post for a client in my ‘niche’ and every word of this rang so true… I like the idea of writing breaks a couple of days a week and will be trying very hard to implement them shortly. Thanks again!

  2. Katherine Andes says:

    Heather, THAT is why I don’t like niching too tightly. I don’t mind saying I’ve done a lot of work in a certain field, but I sure as heck won’t brand myself as the “such and such copywriter.” As a result, I haven’t had the experience you describe and I don’t want to.

  3. Amy C. Teeple says:

    Did you used to work for my previous employer? :-) During my last 9-to-5 job our clients were cosmetic dentists, attorneys, plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists, and bariatric surgeons. I could tell you how to makeover every part of your body and how to sue if it didn’t work out like you wanted. Ugh.

    When I first went out on my own, I had a lot of experience in those fields and found myself still writing dental and legal websites. Thankfully, I was able to branch out.

    Even after all this time, it is still a nice reminder to give yourself a break. Thanks!

  4. Craig Wright says:

    Great article again…wish you’d posted it last year though! I found out the hard way that taking a break is the only way out. (Although focusing on technical writing has helped too).

    Funnily enough, I started copywriting because I’d become bored with technical writing. Now I’m starting to get interested in technical writing and am keen to take a break from copywriting for a bit. Doing different types of writing definitely helps to shake you out of a rut.


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