How To Destroy Writer’s Funk Through “Word Surgery”

LoveWordSurgery

Never knew THAT was there…

Do you feel bored right now?

And are you a writer?

Do you feel like a bored writer?

Of course, if you’re high on life and slurping up the deeper recesses of inspiration, and looking out the window like a million interesting topics lie in wait for you, stop reading.

But if you’re working on a writing project or assignment for an ad, blog post, novel, short story, song, or even just figuring out how to nail that Facebook status so everyone will think you’re awesome…

And if you’re bored out of your freaking mind doing it, and don’t understand why, and have no idea how to break out of your funk…

You’re right where you need to be.

Welcome. It happens to all of us, almost on a daily basis. You’re not alone.

How to feel more inspired about writing

What if you could just feel less bored and get more excited about your writing project right now?

You may have your own ways of getting inspired, but I’m going to tell you one way you can break out of the monotony and get to a happier place.

The method?

Word Deconstruction.

What’s word deconstruction?

In so many words, it’s the process of smashing a word to bits and extracting all the baggage of that word. That way, you can understand what’s behind a word, and all of the nuanced meaning wrapped up inside it.

Once you realize that words aren’t just letters on a page — they’re living, breathing entities full of life and memories, you’ll feel more excited next time you open that Word document, blog site, or social platform.

You’ll use words for what they’re worth — instead of just taking them for granted.

 

Let’s kill some copy. K?

Who’s our next victim? I know. Let’s deconstruct “love.” That’s a good one.

Time for what I like to call…

Word Surgery: The act of deconstructing words to discover their  true meaning

Imagine you’re some topnotch surgeon working at a local hospital branch.

People respect your unwavering ability to maintain calm during traumatic scenarios.

Imagine you’re there in your surgery chamber. Any second now, a stretcher will blast through the double doors.

You take a deep breath. Inhaleexhale.

Wash your hands and arms. Pull on synthetic rubber gloves. Stretch your goggles and cap over your head.

A stretcher bursts through the door. Your crew floods in and spews technical jargon to ready the operation. You twiddle and stretch out your fingers, adjusting a sleeve so it won’t interfere.

Screaming in agony, the patient convulses. An assistant applies a mouthpiece to the writhing body, and the patient falls unconscious.

But…it’s no ordinary patient, lying there on the table. It’s…not human at all. It’s nothing but an organic, heaving…WORD?!

My god, it’s…”Love.”

After a moment of confusion, you shake your head, ask for a scalpel, and get to work.

You open Love right down the middle.

But imagine what you see isn’t blood and organs . Instead, what you see is images.

Then, sounds.

Places.

People.

Like there’s an alternate dimension of memories and experiences contained within the organism.

You’re faced with flashes and snapshots of everything that Love means to you:

  • You see yourself with that special somebody, working through a heartbreaking conversation. You had to move away to pursue your career. That tug in your stomach. That bittersweet look in their eyes.

Love.

  • The image vanishes and is replaced by memories you shared during Christmas with family.

Then that vanishes too.

  • Waiting in a parking lot for your first love to arrive so you could be together.
  • Your mother bent over the stove, making dinner.
  • The friend who lent you money when you were at your lowest, and told you “don’t worry about it.”
  • A trip to the beach with a sibling.
  • The co-worker you wanted to date.
  • The time you cried when everything was wrong, and someone embraced you and reminded you how great you were.
  • Someone fixed you a steaming-hot bowl of soup when you were bedridden with the flu.
  • Your best friend’s mom, or your uncle, or your aunt, trying to hide their parental affection for you.
  • People kissing during a couple’s wedding dance.
  • An old man and wife sitting at a park bench.
  • Lovers grip hands walking down a city street.
  • Parents cover their toddlers with an extra blanket during a black, January night.

Then…

You snap out of it. Like out of a vivid dream, you look around. Your assistants smile above blue face masks.

You look down at the patient. The operation, complete.

A total success!

“You will come back at the count of 3.”

3

2

1

Welcome back! Enjoyed that? Good.

Here’s the takeaway from this:

When you write a word, for example, “love,” you’re not just placing a stale word on the page. You’re placing a whole universe of past experiences into your reader’s brain.

So, when your reader sees “love” in your copy, you activate the past experiences they’re had associated with that word.

(By the way, “Love” is a powerful word. Use it to stir up positive or strong feelings. And your readers will attribute that feeling to your copy, your product, and/or your characters.)

Now it’s your turn to hold the scalpel.

Pick a word. Any word.

Now grab a pen. Grab a piece of paper or a Word document.

Write that word down. Do this now.

Or imagine the word in your head. (Although writing it down will help you remember what you learned better.)

Imagine slicing the word open.

Peaking inside…

Write down the memories that come to mind.

Once you have 3-5 memories jotted, take a moment to reflect on them.

Isn’t it awesome how words aren’t merely words — isn’t it awesome how words open up a portal to your past experiences?

And you take them for granted most of the time.

Important:

When you’re writing, remember that your words are for your readers eyes. Therefore, when choosing a word, imagine your ideal reader’s past experiences  — and not your own.

Instead of seeing and feeling words with your own mind, imagine what your ideal reader, perhaps standing right there next to you, would see and feel. Write to ignite their memories. Again: not your own.

Make sense?

Pretty soon, you’ll be writing emotionally engaging copy that your readers love. Crave. Need. Because now your words aren’t stale to them. They’re full of life.

The reader’s life.

You activate a story that already exists inside your reader’s brain, reminding them of their own hopes, fears and affections.

You’re writing’s empathetic. It speaks with intimacy, care.

You reach your readers when you activate experiences.

Feel a little more inspired about writing now? Good.

Remember:

Write to your readers — not to your page.

Animate your Copykiller, friends.

And comment here if you have thoughts. Or email me. I’d love to hear from you : )

copyweber@gmail.com

P.S. Thanks for reading. All of this content is based off of a linguistic theory I’m building.

P.P.S. Hope you’ve enjoyed my ideas so far, and I’d seriously love to hear what you think. Rock on!

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Creative Leaps Your Readers Wish You’d Take (So You Won’t Burn Them Out Even More Than You Already Do)

Jump

“Don’t think. Just jump. Don’t worry: I’ve gotcha!”

Have you read an article about marketing or copywriting this month?

Chances are, what you got some tips, tricks and advice on how to write well. Strategy. Structure. Technique. Best practices.

Your article probably kicked butt. I mean, let’s get real. Otherwise you wouldn’t have read it. Because you don’t just read any old sucky content. You stiff out janky crap from 300 feet away (read: you avoid useless content because there’s nothing in it for you to improve your life.)

Practicality vs. Creativity

Let me ask you: as you read your last article on writing strategies, did you feel more like (A) a professional, or (B) a creative artist?

No, really. Stick with me. Think about it. What’s your answer: (A) or (B)?

You probably felt both like a professional, gleaning useful advice to perform your job better, and also like a bit of an artist. After all, writing’s a creative field, right?

But seriously, did the article activate more the copy critique in you, or did it fire up your creative soul? The pendulum swung more in one direction than another, I’m sure of it.

As content marketers find convenient ways to pump out useful, actionable content on a regular, frequent basis, their content becomes pretty technical and academic (I love academics, by the way. I scored a Master’s in Teaching 3 years ago for some odd reason.)

What hogties your attention?

The problem with this content you read, and its academic tone, is that a lot of bleeding-heart artists (i.e. writers) are reading your stuff.

They know it’s useful, they know it’ll help them become a better writer and entrepreneur. But it’s darn difficult not to wander off to more visually stimulating content somewhere else, like on YouTube, BuzzFeed, their favorite app game or even just Netflix. Hence destroying any writing breakthrough that could’ve happened that day.

That’s why infographics and videos boost marketing stats more than some other mediums.

Let’s do more of that in our content, for sure.

How can you grab attention better, starting now?

Look, as a writer, I’m not naturally keen on infographics. I’d like to change that…

Same goes for videos. Am I motivated to create more videos? I’ll get there. I’d love to learn how to produce video.

However, one thing I know how to do is draw. I’m freakin’ great at it. Not to brag. Just recognizing an asset I could tap into to grab more attention and make readers feel more like artists when they read my stuff. I’m not speaking to copy-chewing drones anymore.

That’s why I’ve drawn some of my own blog post images.

I also do it because I haven’t seen anything like it in the content marketing space yet. Exceptions: Mike Davenport and Henneke Duistermaat, and Neville Medhora. (Please let me know of others, and I’d love to glean ideas from them.)

I see a lot of great minds in the content marketing space, wonderful people who are just damn incredible at what they do, to be honest.

But the content marketing space sometimes feels academic as opposed to creative. Doesn’t it?

There’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you’re able to attract all those brilliant, creative minds so they don’t get bored and run off…

But why don’t content marketers break the mold a little more? It could do their creative reader base a lot of good.

That’s not to say you should break, or go against, templates and tactics proven to work.

No.

I mean, use those templates proven to get your more traffic and click-through — but just use them more creatively.

For example, why don’t we seen more of the following in content marketing…?

The 7 creative leaps your readers wish you’d just take already:

  1. handwritten blog posts, scanned in, to give readers a more intimate, emotional, personal experience
  2. hand-drawn infographics and other simple images to help illustrate a concept or data
  3. posts with built-in music players to texture and supercharge posts
  4. posts with guest-submitted any of the above to supplement content (read: if you can’t do it, get a content marketing creative genius to create your hand-drawn elements)
  5. more predominately image/slide-based content
  6. ideas told through a personal story, fictional scenario or personality (so the content is equal parts creative writing and actionable tips)
  7. video/audio clips of you reading out your blog post if people don’t want to read (to get visitors to stick around longer and understand your content better)

Poets vs. Killers: Which are you?

David Ogilvy distinguished two types of writers: poets, and killers.

We all want to be killers. But we shouldn’t be killers all the time. Where the hell did our childish, devil-may-care creativity run off to?

We seriously need to have more fun. Or least do. I’ve read tons of content about copywriting since 14 months ago when I changed careers to become a copywriter. I mean, I haven’t read that much. But it feels like a lot to me. And now I wish everyone would just take a chill pill and get back to why you became a content marketer in the first place:

You fell in love with the art.

And I know art involves technique, and templates, and structure. But why not take what we’re already doing and just spice it up a little? See: my suggestions for improving content above.

Lastly, here’s a list of content marketers I admire because they have a real love for the craft, and they’re not merely technicians. They’re true artists:

When we launch  into creating content, let’s think about ways we can make it more interesting to readers. And grab the fleeting attention of the more creative, whimsical types. Because there’s nothing wrong with loving pictures, audio and creative solutions to a problem. It just takes a little more effort on your part and destroying preconceived expectations to pull it off.

I want to get creative again. I miss it.

I’ve lost Ogilvy’s poet.

I have too much of my inner critic going on.

It’s time to unhinge the stifling rules you hamper yourself with.

Let’s get excited about everything again. Let’s decide — nah, let’s force ourselves — to get interested in creative content creation again.

Let’s tear down the rule board. Just for a day.

And play in the wreckage.

Come along.

It’s time to animate your creativity, friends. Now hop to it!