Dealing with burnout/lack of creativity?

26 replies
Hey folks,

As someone who has been writing sales copy professionally for almost 5 years now, ive found that recently I'm getting burnout and lack of creativity more often and for a longer period of time.


What do you guys do to overcome burnout and more importantly, deal with lack of creativity at times?


Cheers,


Nick
#burnout or lack #creativity #dealing
  • Sometimes I have to force myself to type, and I feel like I'm producing pure drivel.

    But I usually go back and find that what I wrote was pretty good, or that it's at least salvageable.

    Forgot who said it, but I only write when the muse inspires me to. And I make sure she inspires me every day at 9am.

    But to answer your question, find something you're excited about and do that for a while. Pick up a new musical instrument, start a new hobby, build a treehouse. Get excited, and those creative juices start to flow.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason_V
    Nick,

    I hope something in this post helps you:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...have-more.html
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    • Profile picture of the author OutOfThisWord
      For me, it's working on several projects at once.

      As soon as I freeze up on one, I jump to another.

      If you continue to pound away at the same thing, you get fatigued.

      So I switch it up, like those 'insanity' fitness training videos.

      Something else I do, while working during the day, I only have fresh juice for lunch and snack on nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc.

      If you have a big meal for lunch, especially lots of protein, you are better off taking a nap than trying to write.

      Finally, you've got to find your own personal groove.

      For me, it's writing in the morning - every morning. Then editing in the afternoon.

      And the evening is when I slime around the 'net doing research (while drinking martinis).
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    Meditate.

    Do yoga.

    Go on a walk.

    Take a trip.

    Drop acid and go on a trip.

    Have lots of sex.

    Get drunk.

    Read books that inspire you.

    Get in awesome physical condition.

    Change your diet.

    Start writing more for yourself.

    Take time off.

    Do something else.

    Learn a new language.

    Masturbate.

    Stop masturbating.

    There's lots of stuff you can do.

    If you look at your creativity as a bank, you're making too many withdrawals and not enough deposits. So what makes you feel good? Above and beyond work? What gets you off? Go do it.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post


      Masturbate.

      Stop masturbating.

      Mark
      Why did you "release" my secret to the world?

      I was planning on doing a WSO on this subject as a productivity enhancer.

      Oh well.

      Adam
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      • Profile picture of the author pogospring
        Originally Posted by copyassassin View Post

        Why did you "release" my secret to the world?

        I was planning on doing a WSO on this subject as a productivity enhancer.

        Oh well.

        Adam
        Should that be called procasturbating?


        Personally I go for a run. Endorphins are great.

        Adrian
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
        Originally Posted by copyassassin View Post

        Why did you "release" my secret to the world?

        I was planning on doing a WSO on this subject as a productivity enhancer.

        Oh well.

        Adam
        You can still do a WSO for "The Circle Jerk Phenomenon" we talked about.

        I'll give you a testimonial.
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        • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
          Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

          You can still do a WSO for "The Circle Jerk Phenomenon" we talked about.

          I'll give you a testimonial.
          Talk the "law of attraction", hehe.

          Actually, the "circle jerk phenomenon" is closely related to affiliate cross promotion.

          "You pimp your pimp list, I'll pimp my list."

          Adam

          Ps. Please send me video testimonial
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    • Profile picture of the author SeanIM
      I don't know why...but after reading the below I started thinking about the 'choose life' rant in Trainspotting ;-)


      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

      Meditate.

      Do yoga.

      Go on a walk.

      Take a trip.

      Drop acid and go on a trip.

      Have lots of sex.

      Get drunk.

      Read books that inspire you.

      Get in awesome physical condition.

      Change your diet.

      Start writing more for yourself.

      Take time off.

      Do something else.

      Learn a new language.

      Masturbate.

      Stop masturbating.

      There's lots of stuff you can do.

      If you look at your creativity as a bank, you're making too many withdrawals and not enough deposits. So what makes you feel good? Above and beyond work? What gets you off? Go do it.

      Mark
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      Sean Mitchell -
      Online Marketing & Tech Consultant Since 1999
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  • Profile picture of the author TimD
    Nick, I'm sorry to hear you're hitting a dry spot creatively. Frustrating, I'm sure.

    Another way to get past a creative dry spell is to give up being creative for a while. I'm sure you're familiar with marketingexperiments.com's article on value propositions in web sites (I'm sure it applies to direct marketing of all kinds).

    The basic thrust is this: clarity trumps persuasion.
    Clarity Trumps Persuasion

    Getting really clear on the value proposition, who it's for, and how it delivers something no one else can, and delivering that message with crystal clarity converts better than clever language.

    So maybe getting back to the roots of your value proposition will give you a running start.

    Hope that's helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    Thanks to all, some fantastic creative jolts offered (and im not referring to masturbating)
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Learn to say no to projects that don't have a easy to find hook.

      Lately their have been a dry run of good
      opportunities coming my way.

      Good means there is a easy to find hook
      before I take on the project.

      Today one came my way and just couldn't hold my excitement,
      and shared it with my client.

      Saying no to the ones that you can't get you excited about
      and knowing what to look for to get a market breakthrough
      are the 2 secrets which keep you at the top of your game.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Saying no to the ones that you can't get you excited about
        and knowing what to look for to get a market breakthrough
        are the 2 secrets which keep you at the top of your game.
        I'd take it a step further and say:

        Only take on projects that you're passionate about.

        Yes...

        As a copywriter, you can create successful campaigns for virtually any market, but that's a fantastic way to get burnt out in a hurry.

        It goes back to learning the art of positioning yourself, so you can help the kind of solution-minded people you'll create the most value for... in the shortest amount of time. I'll throw the word, effortlessly, in there too.

        mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
    Hey Nick,

    Work less.

    Look for and create opportunities where you're leveraging your time through JV partnerships, consulting gigs, etc.

    --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author royharmon4
    I just posted something about this somewhere else in the forum. Try freewriting. I found out about it a couple of months ago and it hasn't let me down yet. I've used it for political articles, law school papers, website content, and it's great. It's almost like meditative writing.

    If you're interested, I described it in greater detail on post #11 here: http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-war...reativity.html.

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author urban renewal
    Start by just writing what you are trying to say...

    "You should buy XYZ because ____."

    Just get it out there so there's something on the page.

    Then pretend that you are the target audience and read over what you wrote. Is it compelling?

    If not, what can you do to make things better?
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    -Clayton

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    For me, burning out means I'm working too hard.

    Scale it back, and take more chill time...

    OR change some of that writing to other stuff (consulting, partnerships, etc).

    Ultimately, it's up to you to figure out what makes you happy and excites you, and what your PERSONAL balance of work/play is.

    There's no wrong answer, so don't feel like you have to write 8 hours a day just because some guys can. Parris Lampropoulis only ever did 4. Now he does a lot less than that and pretty much just copy chiefs.

    It's your life and your business. Make it what you want. When you're not struggling, you have no reason to get burned out.

    -Daniel
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    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

      Learn to say no to projects that don't have a easy to find hook.

      Saying no to the ones that you can't get you excited about
      and knowing what to look for to get a market breakthrough
      are the 2 secrets which keep you at the top of your game.

      Best,
      Ewen
      Great advice. Thank you. I often think my problem is taking on projects that I don't believe in, or that really just don't have anything special within them. It makes the work ten times harder.

      Originally Posted by Ross Bowring View Post

      Hey Nick,

      Work less.

      Look for and create opportunities where you're leveraging your time through JV partnerships, consulting gigs, etc.

      --- Ross
      You know, I really should be doing more consulting. Good call.

      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

      I'd take it a step further and say:

      Only take on projects that you're passionate about.

      Yes...

      As a copywriter, you can create successful campaigns for virtually any market, but that's a fantastic way to get burnt out in a hurry.

      mark
      Again, great advice. I think on the flipside, writing for the same audience over and over again could be a potential cause too. I find myself trying to find new ways to say the same things, just to keep me awake

      Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

      For me, burning out means I'm working too hard.

      OR change some of that writing to other stuff (consulting, partnerships, etc).

      -Daniel
      Yep, consulting seems like a good option. Never really done much of it before, so wouldn't know where to start, but I guess Google is an obvious first step. I've done critiques before, although I end up practically rewriting the entire piece in the cliff notes
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    Read war of art. Good friend Mr. Ceskavich recommended it to me and it's been a good aid when I feel a little burnt.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    1. Fire the bottom half of your Clients and double your rates. (A variation of this is to refer the Clients you don't want to other copywriters and collect a referral fee.)

    2. Hang around people better than you. Collaborate with other copywriters that challenge you to raise your game. The ones that refuse to accept mediocrity.

    3. Change your compensation structure so the bulk of your income is derived from pay-for-performance projects.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: Think of it this way: You're at the gym and you're lifting easy weights all the time, just going through the motions.

    You're bored, right?

    The remedy? Increase the resistance. Raise your game.
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  • Profile picture of the author ParkerArrow
    Self-Hypnosis.

    Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. (Morning freewrites).

    Mornings in gym.

    Bike commute.

    Oh, and I turn off the computer and write in a notebook. This works wonders for me sometimes. Probably good for society, too.

    Burnout is your body's way of telling you to lessen your anxiety for a while. Get your mind off your stuff and onto something else for a while. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    After 5 years it can be like pushing a wet noodle if you're
    waiting till you get creative before you write.

    Here are 2 secrets to writing that should help you get over
    that:


    Secret 1 to writing:

    This will sound bad I know but stick with me here...

    Take the attitude you're going to write ANY OLD CRAP on the subject that you can come up with.

    Whatever you think of - just write it down.

    Any old nonsense - GREAT. Just put it on paper (or onto your screen).

    A pile of steaming crap no one would ever read?

    Not your problem - just write it anyway.

    Just fill up pages and pages with any old crap and keep writing straight off the top of your head for as long as you can.

    Stop thinking about it and just do it.


    Now if you follow secret no 1 you're going to be surprised.

    The biggest mistake most writers make is that they confuse the creative process with the critical process.

    When you're setting out to write something you're in the creative process.

    I've written full books in 7 days.

    But that can't happen if you're constantly worrying about how good, bad or accurate what you're writing is.

    You're in the creative process.

    Let your creative side come out by disengaging your critical process.

    If I'm writing any old crap then my critical side has no work to do. I know it's crap already.

    After years of writing I began to notice "any old crap" is often pretty good.

    I was using sections and pages of non-fiction writing I'd done off the top of my head over and over in other products, articles etc.

    That's the first bonus.

    A lot of that "any old crap" writing is good! Really good!!

    But you might say "What if it's not good? What if any old crap really is crap?!"

    And that leads us to secret no 2 - the biggest secret of great writing.



    Secret # 2 - Great writing is all about REWRITING.

    Once you have something to work with it's really easy to work it over and polish it so it shines.

    It is far easier to add to a piece of writing you've already done.

    It's far easier to edit writing you've already done so it flows better.

    You can even hire an editor to rewrite it for you.

    But it's very hard to look at a blank screen and write something brilliant from scratch.

    So write any old crap then rewrite it till it sparkles.

    Easy.


    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Originally Posted by ParkerArrow View Post

      Self-Hypnosis.

      Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. (Morning freewrites).

      Mornings in gym.

      Bike commute.
      I love morning sauna and swim. Definitely helps break the day up
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    • Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

      After 5 years it can be like pushing a wet noodle if you're
      waiting till you get creative before you write.

      Here are 2 secrets to writing that should help you get over
      that:

      Secret 1 to writing:

      This will sound bad I know but stick with me here...

      Take the attitude you're going to write ANY OLD CRAP on the subject that you can come up with.
      This ^^^. Roger Ebert used to say the muse visits WHILE you are writing. By creating movement, you are tapping your brain's (subconscious?) ability to create. Like you said, you do this enough and the first "bad" draft is often pretty good.

      When I was doing improv comedy at Second City you learned to jump into a scene and go. You could see new players hesitate, trying to think of what to say next, stuck by their inner voice and the need to "do it right." The experienced actors shut off their editor, stayed in the moment, responded to what was given to them, jumped off the cliff and came up with comedy gold. Amazing to watch.

      Btw, speech recognition software is great for this. Just start talking about the topic without thinking, like you are explaining something to a friend. "Improv it" and go where your brain wants to take you. You are just along for the ride and any free doughnuts. Then edit it.
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  • Profile picture of the author blackli0n
    My trick to expanding my creativity is to look into unrelated fields.

    If you're tired of writing marketing copy for a certain industry (like MMO), maybe you can look into marketing copy for a different industry like sportsgear or women's clothing. I love look at copy for cars, watches, high-end ultrabrands. I also look at copy written for other countries like a British or Australian products. There's always so much I learn from and then I come back to my line of work with a whole new flavor to my work.
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