Just about everyone that writes professionally has come up against this massive wall at some point in their careers: you’re given a client, an assignment, or a task that you’re totally not interested in. Writers all over the world can relate to the emotions of an uninteresting topic: the frustrated headaches, the massive writers’ blocks; the groans and moans of the unwanted job.
It sounds kind of silly, but this is a serious problem. Writers quickly realize that they can’t always write about what they love, and it usually hits pretty early on in their careers. It makes professionals-in-training upset, frustrated and dismayed, and can even make them doubt their abilities. We’re all writers at Content Equals Money, and we’ve all hit that wall at one point or another. If we’ve learned anything in our careers, it’s that you can most definitely overcome those “impossible” topics and write professionally about anything, even if you aren’t interested. Here’s how.
Develop A Routine For Success
It’s a common misconception that freelancers are all manic, freewheeling jittery types that have all sorts of hidden productivity potential locked up behind unsustainable and ridiculous work ethics, or a lack thereof. We get a bad rap for being the last ones to leave Starbucks, living nocturnal lives by the light of a computer screen between strong doses of caffeine.
I love the Men With Pens’ “Secret to Easy-Breezy Writing,” because it’s so straightforward. Their first suggestion above anything else is to simply make yourself form a routine that works for you. Don’t just roll out of bed and start writing, make yourself stick to a regimented schedule and don’t stray from it.
Get Into (Or Out Of) That Key Moment
Writers often have a “moment” when they’re working on an assignment. When you enjoy what you’re writing, that moment is a celebration of everything coming together. That’s the moment you start to realize your stray thoughts and loose ends are weaving together, and you can see the full “shape” of your article even when it’s only halfway done.
When you aren’t interested in what you’re writing, this moment is a huge groan. All you can do is ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” Your thoughts are all over the place, you’re having trouble bringing it all together, and your piece can become a big jumbled mess. When you have that moment where your concentration crumbles, you’ve got to condition yourself to fight that urge to do nothing and maintain your focus on finishing the task at hand.
Fellow writers over at Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (yes, seriously!) have an excellent list of 63 ways to retain your focus when you’re just about to snap. All these are community sourced from other writers within the TPM community, so you know that even if they sound crazy, these ideas can work for you.
Surround Yourself with Research
If nothing else, content writers are also excellent researchers. High frequency marketing requires lots of new content every week, and that content needs link building efforts in and out of your website. To source that good content and build those links, you’ve got to dig it up first. Content writers usually find themselves building huge collections of tabs and internet browser windows with relevant work information that they want to cite, save for later, or just read over for inspiration…or at least I do. (Right now I have about 50 tabs open!)
This is an excellent way to keep yourself distracted from not wanting to actually do something. Instead of being fixated on what you don’t want to do, focus on finding all kinds of information that will help you get it done. That one missing bit of inspiration that will help you make sense of your dilemma could be just a few clicks away. Copyblogger has some excellent tips on how to be a great researcher that are definitely worth checking out.
Focus On Your Strengths, Not The Assignment
It’s easy for writers to work under the assumption that they’re only truly good at writing what they’re interested in. Prior to, and even during their professional experience, their entire writing background has been largely focused on subjects they’re interested in. When they come upon an assignment they simply aren’t interested in, they think it reflects poorly on them, and that they’re somehow less capable because they can’t seem to write about the topic.
Telling yourself that you’re a good writer despite a “bad” or boring topic is difficult for many writers. Confidence in your own abilities, independent of your subject, is a difficult skill that writers take for granted until they’re given a tough subject. That’s exactly what you have to do, though; and you can do it by writing for your readers, not yourself.
Laurie at The Adventurous Writer has a great set of recommendations on how to conquer boring topics that all relate back to the idea of having confidence in your abilities. You can find new ways to make yourself more interested in the topic, ask intriguing questions and answer them in your writing, or find ways to make the subject more relatable to your audience. All of Laurie’s tips are completely independent of the subject: they focus entirely on your confidence as a writer, and challenging yourself to make a boring topic interesting.
It’s Not Just Indifference: Writers Hate Being Caught Off-Guard
When you get down to it, this problem happens because uninteresting topics catch writers off-guard. Content writers can write for days on their favorite subjects, but writers don’t always get to write about what they love, especially now with the news industry in the state it’s in. That’s true for just about every profession, though: carpenters don’t always get to build their dream homes, musicians don’t always get to record the music they want to play, and business people certainly don’t always manage and sell their favorite products.
But really, comparing an uninterested writer to an uninterested carpenter isn’t a fair comparison to make. Even if carpenters don’t feel like working sometimes, they have plans, blueprints, and a general idea of what lumber goes where. Writers hit a wall when they have a topic they’re not interested in because they often have no meaningful reference point of entry, be it positive or negative, into the subject. It’s kind of like handing a carpenter a toolbox full of plumber’s tools, or handing a musician an instrument they’ve never heard of, and telling them to get to work.
With the right attitude, thorough preparation and steady discipline, writers can make their own blueprints for success with any topic. We have to do it every day, and that’s exactly why our clients love our writing services. If you’re having trouble maintaining a business blog or creating new content for your websites, we know you probably love the topics you want to write about. We want to love those topics too, and after getting to know you and your business personally, we’ll have a better appreciation for what your content means to you—and that’s never boring.
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