Writer's block is real, and it's seriously no fun, especially when it feels like your business sales and success are tied to you creating compelling marketing content.
That's why I’m sharing this post where I talk about ways to give ourselves grace in our businesses when self-doubt and negative self-talk creep in, and how to gently pull ourselves out of any creative droughts…
If you’ve been feeling uninspired, anxious or struggling with writer’s block in your content recently, this one’s for you.
Hey, welcome. I am Dr. Suzy Cater, expert in conversion copywriting and messaging. And today we are going to have a little chat about what might be holding you back with your copywriting, content writing, any of your messaging, really.
So this is probably the most common situation that I see. And I've been working in this business for five years, and before that I was doing my PhD in literature. So gosh, I myself had a lot of writers block when I was writing that dissertation.
My God. It was intense. And I've also taught writing for years at NYU when I was a doctoral student there and a teaching fellow. So I've seen a few people in my time with writer's block.
And first of all, I just want to say it's intense and I just want to kind of validate that feeling of not knowing what you're going to say, not knowing what you want to write about, and say that, first of all, this is a really common thing, okay? And we might now have access to all kinds of things like AI software and stuff and all kinds of things that are supposed to make our lives easier. But sometimes at the end of the day, you just don't want to write, right?
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And it's actually not to do so much with the tech. It can be more of an inner game thing. And that's what I wanted to talk about today because what I have seen so many people in the hundreds and thousands of people that I've worked with on their writing, whether they're business owners or students, is there's this thing, and I call it the nasty reader, right?
We all have this thing of when we are trying to write something or maybe we're just thinking about writing or maybe we've already written it, this is the worst one, when you've already written it and you're about to publish and then this nasty reader in your head is like, what? You're going to publish this? This isn't any good. Who would want to hear this? How is this relevant to people? And our finger is there above the publish button, and we just can't seem to get ourselves to pull the trigger. Or we do publish the thing, but with it we send this kind of really intense, I would say, like negative energy into the world along with our piece of content.
And then if it doesn't get the engagement we want or whatever, it's, oh, yes, my nasty reader was right. No one does want to hear this from me. From me, my voice doesn't matter, et cetera, et cetera. And so I just want you to kind of tune into yourself for a minute and ask yourself, like, do I have my own nasty reader at play here? And is that what is kind of stopping me from playing full out with what I really want to say and the message that I want to share when promoting my business. And also, let's all give ourselves some grace here because this has been I think everyone's in kind of a hurry to move on.
But we have had a tough three years, right? We have had a tough three years. There was the pandemic that was COVID. A lot of people entered this online space around that time and people are feeling burned out. People are feeling really burned out. We've all worked so hard for so long and with the Pandemic, the pandemic just put so many pressures on a system that was already pretty strained for a lot of us.
And so I kind of want to just acknowledge that too and say, maybe your nasty reader is showing up more at the moment because you are in a place where you're feeling pretty burned out and pretty fed up with things. And as I say, I've been kind of in the online space for a while and I definitely have noticed this shift that is kind of almost like a silencing going on.
I do feel as if a lot of people are falling silent or really feeling the need to step back from putting themselves and their voices out there and in a way that's perhaps not just, oh, I need a break from social media or oh, I need some some time off for a little bit to just recuperate, but in a more kind of like I am really bone tired and I'm questioning things.
Right. I'm tired and I'm questioning things. And when we're in that kind of energy, then of course, our nasty readers who may be channeling the voice of that writing professor that you had at college, or the voice of that copywriting coach who critiqued your work really harshly and made you feel really embarrassed.
Or the voice of yourself. Maybe when you thought you'd written something really good and then it didn't get the response you'd hoped for and you've kind of got into a negative feedback loop with yourself and it's your voice critiquing your work kind of constantly questioning, is this good enough? Is this good enough? Could this be better? How could this be more strategic? How could this be more effective? Et cetera, et cetera.
I kind of forgot where I was going there with that point. But yeah, I've definitely noticed that there is a kind of it's like a sort of muffling happening where people are feeling a bit more hesitant to share and reluctant to share and tired and risk averse and worried. I think that's the thing, really worried, because the thing is that when you're a personal brand or a consultant or a coach service provider and you are the face of your brand, you're the person who's going to be doing the deliverables or you're the person who's going to be on the sales calls. Maybe you have a small team, but essentially you are the face of the brand, right?
When you're in that position it is by necessity a vulnerability inducing position and it can bring up a lot of hang ups that we've had and it also puts a lot of pressure on us and our voices. And we go from feeling like I have this message and this business that I want to get out into the world to when things don't go our way, which they never will, things will never, always go our way in business, right, or in life, right?
There will always be disappointments. There will always be moments where we feel like, oh, that could have gone better. When things don't go our way, we can start taking the failures very personally. And the tricky thing is there's very little detachment between us and our words and the success of our business. We kind of link them all together.
And every time I do a guest teaching on this in someone else's community or do live stream, people always asking me this, like, how can I get my content to bring me more sales? And I have tons of strategies for this, right? Like there are lots of things you can do, lots of approaches you can take. I have my Soul'ed out Social Swipe file, which is $37, which is like a very nice way to get started with thinking about that.
But at the end of the day, there is a danger in drawing the line too tightly between what you are saying and how your sales are going. There is a danger in that because also there is unpredictability in our businesses, right? There is unpredictability. And there are always people who don't necessarily follow the rules.
And sometimes you can also do everything right in terms of what you're saying, how you're promoting your offer, but you don't have the audience or the platform is not right or just the right people aren't seeing your stuff at the time when they need it. You cannot control someone else's buying journey.
And as much as we like to think that we'll just say the right things and people will come immediately and sometimes it does work like that, and when it does, it's magical. And there are ways you can be strategic and also kind of inspire yourself with your messaging to get yourself to that point. Absolutely. But it's never guaranteed. That's what I want to say. It's never guaranteed. And it's a long game. It's a long game. You can be consistently producing the content over years and then someone finds you and binges on it all and is like, how do I hire you? That can be a long game for that to happen.
And gosh, I'm not sharing all of this to make anyone depressed. But I think that it's important and I'm just not seeing many people talking about this right now. I think that it's important to give ourselves some grace with this and to actually honor that nasty reader that you might have in your head. Who's trying to keep you safe, who is telling you, perhaps, not to write?
The thing or not to honor them being really nasty towards you, but to honor that self protective impulse that can come up a lot for so many of us. Right? And because many times we've been in places where it hasn't been safe to share our words. And even today, I had a client just the other week who was telling me about all these really incredible videos she does on Instagram that get thousands of comments and likes.
But she gets some trolls in there and we can create, try and create for ourselves the most supportive communities and then out of left field, something that really shakes our confidence.
And so my question to you is this we can be strategic about it. As I was saying, I have my Soul'ed out Social swipe file. It's $37. You can buy it and take a look at that in terms of your content to inspire you. But sometimes we also just have to honor our energy and where we're at energetically. And if you're at a point where you're feeling like you don't want to talk, then it's worth paying attention to that, I think.
I think it's really worth paying attention to that and sitting with your energy and figuring out what can you do with this energy? Is it something that needs to be dived into? Is it something that you just need to honor for a while and rest and give yourself a day off and then you can come back renewed? Do you need a week off? Do you need a couple of weeks off? What's going on? What is your energy trying to tell you? Or is it perhaps that you're on the precipice of something new and it feels scary and you just need to give your nervous system some grace before you launch into the next iteration of whatever you're capable of?
Because at the end of the day, we're used to seeing brands coming up with picture perfect messaging, really high quality stuff, right? But if they have a team of five working to create that content, then that's very different from you as a solopreneur or a solopreneur with a small team trying to do this. And your energy, I find this all the time myself, it does affect the energy of the business.
And so I'm not really leaving you with a neat solution with this today. But I kind of wanted to honor this because I just feel like I'm seeing a weariness, a really bone deep weariness out there with a lot of people. People are tired. People have been pushing content for a long time. And everything feels like it's changing. Algorithms are changing. Do carousels, do reels, do TikTok, try this, try that. And the burden is heavy to follow those rules.
And sometimes it's just so important to tune back into your inner knowing, into what you want to do. Maybe you've even forgotten that because we get so focused in what we should do that we forget about what we'd like to do. And then the joy, the joy that could be there in our messaging goes away because of the burden of obligation.
So today, this video, it's kind of an open ended one, but I just wanted to offer you a prompt and an invitation to go seek out the joy in your messaging again. Where is it? Is there some left? What would it take for you to feel joyous as you write? Does it mean changing where you try to write? Does it mean doing something different? Does it mean taking the morning off work and going and treating yourself to a nice breakfast somewhere? How could you get some of the joy back? Right? Because that's where it all starts, I think.
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And I'm wary of this idea that we have to be high vibes all the time and that only feeling joyful can produce effective messaging. That's not true, but it helps. And the nasty reader is a lot kinder when your energy is in a more joyous place, right? What's the word? You can flick things off better if people are nasty, if things don't run the way you want to, if you're in a more resilient place, everything else comes easier with the messaging and you don't care as much, right?
It's easier for you to play the long game, not to self sabotage, not to delete the post, not to never publish the post, okay? So take care of that nervous system, take care of that energy, and please do not let your voice be silenced when actually what you really need to be doing is kind of just taking care of yourself.
Okay? All right, so here is to not letting those nasty readers shut us down entirely, but also honoring the impulses that might be behind them. Because writer's work, it can be a bit of bitch. And you're in this for the long game. And it's not like when you were in college or whatever high school and you were trying to muscle and muscle through, write the paper, whatever. This is a long game. This is your voice. This is your message. These are the people you want to serve.
This is your means of connecting with them. So how can you bring it back to that feeling of inspired connection and meaningfulness? All right. Okay. See you soon. Bye.