We all have days when we feel as if we’re only going through the motions. Even during our most productive periods we can produce work that’s lacking a little..something. Maybe the tone is off or maybe it’s not getting the point across well enough or maybe it just needs…more cowbell.
Don’t be afraid to use your voice
Many writers stifle their voices in favor of more antiseptic writing. What we forget is that our clients hire us because they appreciate our voice and wish to use it. It’s OK to add personality to writing that isn’t supposed to be personal. We can be authoritative, casual, or sell a product and still allow our true voices to shine through.
Get lost in your research. Find out what’s beyond the first page or two of Google. Find an angle for your subject matter that no one else seems to be talking about. If you were reading, what would you most like to learn about? If you were reading, would you consider it a comprehensive piece? Put yourself on the other end of the story and dig until your satisfied you touched every angle.
Put some effort into it
It doesn’t matter if you’re paid $10, $100 or $500, if you sign on to write, you signed on to give your all. Your readers can tell when you’re struggling. They can tell when you’re just trying to make a word count. Ask yourself this question, “If I was researching this topic, and I read this article, what would I think of it?” Also consider a potential client Googling your name and coming up with a half-hearted bit of copy. He might think twice about hiring you for his project. Never give less than your best, no matter who you’re writing for.
Quotes work wonders for punching up a lackluster article. Hearing advice from experts or commiseration from an anecdotal source adds value and credibility. Sources also allow for discussions to take a whole new voice and direction. Readers feel sources add professionalism to an article and gives them an edge of authority. Plus, showing two opposing points of view will allow them to make an informed decision.
Tell a joke or two
Tasteful humor adds an element of fun and surprise to writing, and readers respond well. That isn’t to say everything you write should have an air of slapstick, but pausing to make your readers smile from time to time is something they’ll appreciate. A sense of humor shows you’re human.
Come back later
If you’re writing and just not feeling it, come back later. Step away. Go for a walk, read a book or do something else to clear your head. Revisit your writing a day or a couple of days later if time isn’t an issue. There’s nothing worse than plodding through a project when you’re not into it. Writing is the one place that if you don’t do your best, it shows.
What are your thoughts? I’m sure you have days where you feel as if you’re just going through the motions. How do you punch up your writing when you’re not really into it? How do you add personality to a bland piece?