[help] What to do when you're drawing a blank?

by Tony M
10 replies
Hey Warriors,

I'm having a bit of trouble.

I have a family member of mine that just started his
graphic design company (specializing in logo design)
and asked me to write him a postcard.

He's marketing his business completely offline and
he's sending these postcards to newly registered
businesses (he's getting his leads from InfoUSA).

The problem? I can't even come up with a headline.

No matter what I do or how many swipes I have in front
of me, I just can't get anything to "spark"

Any ideas on how you guys tackle this?
#blank #drawing
  • Profile picture of the author NickN
    Here's one method I use for headlines:

    Spill your guts on the paper. Just write without thinking critically about it. Stream of consciousness-type stuff. Whatever comes to mind. Don't worry about whether it sucks. Just go bananas.

    Then let it set for a day or two and come back to it to "distance" yourself from what you wrote. You'll find there is usually an idea or two you can mold into a winner.

    -Nick
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony M
    Thanks Nick, will do.

    I've been on this for some time now (almost two weeks on and off).
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  • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
    Originally Posted by Tony M View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I'm having a bit of trouble.

    I have a family member of mine that just started his
    graphic design company (specializing in logo design)
    and asked me to write him a postcard.

    He's marketing his business completely offline and
    he's sending these postcards to newly registered
    businesses (he's getting his leads from InfoUSA).

    The problem? I can't even come up with a headline.

    No matter what I do or how many swipes I have in front
    of me, I just can't get anything to "spark"

    Any ideas on how you guys tackle this?
    This is where swipe files come in handy.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrmouse
    How much research have you done? I believe it was Gary Bencivenga who said that the cure for writers block is research. I have found that to be true. By the time you are half way through your research phase, your head should be spinning with ideas you are excited to write about.

    What is unique about his business?

    What is his background?

    What sets him apart?

    How has he helped people in the past?

    How can a logo help a business?

    How can professional graphics help a business?

    What are the goals of the business owners?

    How can a logo or graphic help business owners achieve their goals?

    I would start by answering these questions. Then dig a little deeper.

    Once you have all of that, then look for the biggest sales hook.

    I would start by putting together the bullet points. Then write the ad. Then write the headline last. It may even be one of the bullets.
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by Tony M View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I'm having a bit of trouble.

    I have a family member of mine that just started his
    graphic design company (specializing in logo design)
    and asked me to write him a postcard.

    He's marketing his business completely offline and
    he's sending these postcards to newly registered
    businesses (he's getting his leads from InfoUSA).

    The problem? I can't even come up with a headline.

    No matter what I do or how many swipes I have in front
    of me, I just can't get anything to "spark"

    Any ideas on how you guys tackle this?
    1) STOP looking at swipes. You're limiting yourself to thinking inside someone else's box. That's a quick way to paint yourself into a corner. Remember, Einstein came up with the idea that made the light bulb possible when he was thinking about burning charcoal.
    2) Stop trying to write and start reading. Read totally unrelated stuff, but keep the project in the back of your mind. You'll come across something you can graft into this project. Guaranteed.
    3) Write 10 headlines. Just write them. Whether they suck or not. Don't evaluate or analyze them. Then, throw them away and do 10 more.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Also another way is to forget it for now. Go for a long walk.... Read a book. Break that routine of trying because you won't always find what you're looking for when your conscious mind is thinking so hard.
    Sometimes your subconscious will give you the answer when you just let go.
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    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Visit my site for more info

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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Mr. Mouse gave you the best advice.

      "Just write" and "Go for a walk" are okay suggestions. But until you know the market dynamics like the back of your hand, you'll continue to stumble.

      Here's an example...

      Suppose in your research, you found out that new business owners wanted... more than anything... to brag to their friends about what they just did (started a business).

      You could then position a logo as a great way to facilitate bragging.

      There would be no problem writing a headline at that point, right?

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Originally Posted by Tony M View Post

    I have a family member of mine that just started his
    graphic design company (specializing in logo design)
    and asked me to write him a postcard.
    That may be your problem right there--you're not working
    for a paying client. I usually get something done when I
    HAVE TO GET IT DONE. ( I work best with deadlines.)

    When you're a doing a favor (I assume you are) then you are
    not pressured to perform.

    At least that's my take.

    -Ray Edwards
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    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author quadagon
    Theres some great advice in this thread already as a quick tip if you get type fright change the font colour to white so you can't see what you are typing. Then let your fingers go wild.
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    I've got 99 problems but a niche ain't one
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony M
    Thank you guys for the great tips and advice.

    I just came back from a nice stroll at my local
    Target. While I was there I found myself in the
    magazine section checking out the covers of
    Cosmo and Mens Fitness.

    Needless to say, ideas started to come into mind.

    Raydal -- I think you have a very valid point as well
    as everyone else here on the thread.

    I'm definitately taking the advice here on the thread.

    Thanks a ton!

    -- Tony
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