We are in the age of the creative content professional. Ad agencies have been hiring these types of writers for years, and now businesses need to start valuing the creative side of writing just as much.
Gone are the days where business writers are merely cornered into technical documents or writing boring copy for websites. The age of quality, engaging content that’s also creative is here. The business writer now has the spotlight, and it’s time to tap into creativity to turn boring business writing into something else.
But what do you do if you’ve been writing that drab copy for years and feel like you’re drained of creativity? It happens to the best of us. But deep down inside, if you’re a writer, you have that artisitic ability. It may not seem like it, if you’ve been tied to a cubicle all these years. That drab corporate environment may have put your creativity into remission, but it’s there.
Let’s look at how to rekindle that creative flame.
Make Your Work Environment Inspiring to You
One of the biggest mistakes, I believe, is to treat writers within a company the same way you would treat someone in say, the HR department or an administrative role. Tying a creative to a desk and turning writing into a “factory” process kills creativity.
Don’t get me wrong; you have to have serious planning and process when you’re running a content department for business. But, there needs to be a balance to keep your writing inspired.
My first tip is this: Redesign your office space. If you’re not in a super creative environment like ad agencies so often have, you need to be in a pro-creative space. Not everyone has the luxury of redecorating their office environment, but if you can, surround yourself with things that make you happy, make you think, inspire you.
Add color, add pictures, add humor. Make your sterile environment feel like home. It sounds trivial, but your surroundings have a profound affect on your psyche – especially if you’re a creative.
Next, get up and move. If you have to be tied to an office environment, take breaks and walk away from your desk. Some of my greatest moments of clarity and my best ideas happen when I am away from my laptop. Take a quick walk and get those ideas flowing. Sitting stationary for long periods of time can literally work against the creative process.
If you have a big content project to tackle, go somewhere other than your office if it’s better for you. Scope out a conference room or space outside the building you can post up. Sometimes merely changing your scenery can have a huge impact on your productivity and creative ideas.
Write About Something You’re Passionate About
Do you have any experiences in your life that had such an impact on you that you can recall them down to the minute detail? It’s these experiences that spark the passion necessary for exciting content. Use these experiences as a launching pad for creative writing exercises.
I write every single day for my job. And 75 percent of the time, it feels like a job. And I don’t mean that in the sense that I don’t enjoy it; but writing quality content for businesses is work. The research, the attention to detail, the strategy, the data tracking, and the time and energy spent to create something you think people want to read can be a challenging task day in and day out.
But it doesn’t always have to feel that way; which is why writing off the clock is an important step to staying creative. Take a class if you can. I popped into a creative writing course this year at UCLA, and it was a fantastic way to get me thinking outside my normal boundaries in writing.
Or think about something that moved you in life, and write about it. Recently, I got an email from someone asking me about my most memorable trip. As I wrote about it, the words flowed out simply because I was passionate about the experience.
If you’re curious, here’s my trip down memory lane on a vacation to Europe:
When I was 19, I spent six weeks in Europe with my mother, staying mostly with friends in Germany. It was before the Euro and money went a long way in most countries. I stayed in a tiny village that had cobblestone streets and one market. I lived like a local, eating late dinners in the homes of people we met, and in neighboring towns. I watched in awe as the whole village dressed in traditional garb and put on a colorful parade to pay homage to their community. We bicycled everywhere and found paths in magical forests with hidden gems along the way (including a swan-filled pond and a pub in the middle of the thick trees). I went to parties and heard great electronic music from awesome DJs way before the tracks hit The States. I discovered my favorite beer, brewed by monks for centuries in Bavaria. We took minitrips by train and car to other countries throughout Europe and I experienced many different cultures and way too many castles to count. It was a trip I’ll never forget and one I hope to top someday.
I have two takeaways from this: 1) Write about your passions whenever you can; it’ll help you tap into better writing for business and 2) You have to live to be a better writer. Being tied to an office day in and day out with no extracurricular activities or adventuresome life experiences is a sure-fire way to be not only a dull person, but also a dull writer.
Believe me, I speak from experience. When I get into periods of my life when I become a workaholic, I notice the quality of my writing (and life) suffers. So be good to yourself and your writing will shine.
Start Looking at Visuals as Part of Your Job
When you’ve been cornered into the world of “words” for so long, you forget about visuals as part of content. To be a great content strategist and marketer in today’s age, you must explore other forms of content as part of your arsenal. Tapping into visuals can actually help you as a writer: art begets art.
Start looking at your world differently; what visual beauty can inspire you to write? Take a picture of something meaningful or beautiful and write a short story about it. Do anything to help you start connecting to visuals – including video. Follow people in your social networks that share visuals that can inspire ideas.
Start thinking about your own content in terms of visuals, too. What sort of images come to mind with the content you just wrote? How can you make that into something artistic and visual to share with your audience?
If you start thinking and acting like an artist, you’ll start to spark that creativity from deep within – even if you are in a business environment that doesn’t particularly “think” the same way. Remember, writing is a creative process – don’t let anyone else tell you different. Even if you’re in a business environment.
My advice to writers? Start changing things up so that the monotony of working in an office environment does not suck the soul out of your writing. Whatever it is that moves you, explore that. My advice to businesses? If you want to get a writer’s best work, let them work in a manner that is conducive to tapping into their creativity.
Do you have thoughts on this subject? Please leave me a comment about it.