How to Force Yourself to Write

I think it was Mark Twain who is supposed to have said

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”

This might seem a flippant comment at first glance. When you think it through though, it makes a lot more sense.

If you cannot conjure up a subject for today, or if you are just in some mood that does not correspond with writing at all, remember: as soon as you start writing it gets easier. Then, you go back and cross out all the bits that are really bad.

And you replace them with good stuff. Your inner writer is reluctantly prized out and the real work commences.

The late copywriting legend Eugene Swartz used to sit down at his computer and set his timer for 33 minutes and 33 seconds. Then he would force himself to empty his mind of everything except the work in front of him – rough notes from the book or product that he was to write sales copy for.

“I could do anything I liked, but I could not leave that chair for 33.33 minutes” he explains.

“I would take a sip of coffee and cream and I would look around the room.”

“After about 5 minutes I would get bored of doing nothing so I would start to look at my notes. Pretty soon, a word would reach out to me and invite me to reposition it somewhere else. A sentence would jump off the page and become a headline.”

Eugene was then fully absorbed in his work – until the timer went off. Then he would force himself to do anything but that piece of work for 5 minutes, no matter if he was in the middle of a sentence when the timer sounded.

It’s similar with writing. Once you can just get started, everything else fades into the background.

But what if you literally cannot think of a subject to take up?

Books you have read can provide you with some inspiration. Think about the people you want your writing to help. Think about something you have read that illustrates a good point.

Or, get a book of great quotes (or look them up online, or trawl through your memory to bring one to the surface.)

Voila! Instant inspiration. You can start a new blog post or LinkedIn article just like I did above.

About the author: Rick Siderfin

Rick Siderfin

Rick Siderfin is a husband, dad of 3, and copywriter who lives and works in Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds. He is the founder of Vortex Content Marketing, a company founded with one simple objective: to help you get noticed online.

This article was originally published by Rick Siderfin