Copywriters: Beat The Blank Page Blues

Do you find yourself staring at a blank page (or in more modern terms, screen)?

Stuck for how to get started writing your copy and singing the blues?

I’ve found that I get much better results if I use some “quick start tactics”.

These keep me focused, and get me started on the right track with a copy project.

Here are 3 “tricks” I use…

Maybe they’ll work for you, too:

  1. Write the benefit bullets. Don’t worry about writing body copy just yet. Just start banging out all the benefits of owning the product. This will be more extensive list than the one in the order box (which is our next “jump-starter”).
  2. Write the order box copy (the offer!). This is the part of the copy where you clearly spell out the price of your offer, and the bullet points of all the main benefits of owning the product. Select the MAIN benefits (the one with the most “persuasion power” for the order box.
  3. Write 10 possible headlines for your copy. Don’t worry if they’re not “good enough”. You can even use some of the bullets you’ve written as starting points. Use a headline “swipe file” to spark ideas. Just get 10 headlines written.

Once you’ve finished the 3 “jump-starters” above, you will have written quite a bit of copy. It will be focused on the benefits of owning the product. You’ll be off to a good start on your copy project.

Question: what tricks do you use to give yourself a copywriting “jump-start”?

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • MattVestrand

    I keep a box of 3×5 cards with headlines, factoids, power phrases, metaphors, etc… written down.  When i need a little inspiration I grab a handful and read through them.  It almost always works.

    • http://writingriches.com/ RayEdwards

       @MattVestrand Good one Matt!

    • http://divinedecordiva.com Donna Brubaker

      Awesome idea, Matt. So simple and oh so handy!! I’m going to follow your lead on this one!

  • http://joshuamonen.com/blog Joshua Monen

    I also write a list of headlines to help “jump-start” the copywriting process. I use two different headline templates to help me do this. One is from your book, Writing Riches, where you mention 9 different types of headlines and the other is from Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks. Once I start thinking about the headlines I can build on that.  Thanks for the post Ray!

    • http://writingriches.com/ RayEdwards

       @Joshua Monen My pleasure Joshua!

  • JonathanChase

    I get someone else to write it then re-write that.

    • JonathanChase

      I love the ask a question thing at the bottom of the blog, genius man.

    • http://writingriches.com/ RayEdwards

       @JonathanChase Now THAT is efficient! One of my biggest clients does the same and it works great for him.

  • http://www.polygraphics.com polymon

    The temptation is to Google something related to where you are stuck… but that can lead down a  rat hole very quickly, it tends to make me lose focus.
    I found that it is best to stay focused on the document in front of me and scroll through it to work on another piece.

  • http://maxkazen.com Max Kazen

    I’ve been working with post-it notes and swapping them around to see which benefit bullets I like in which order. Headlines same thing.

    • http://rayedwards.com Ray Edwards

      It works!

  • Alan

    As I’m just getting started into copywriting, these “tricks” are like gold and make a enormous amount of sense, especially for getting the wheels turning and the ink flowing. I especially like your second trick, writing the order box copy. Beginning with the end in mind will go a long way to bringing clarity to the body copy.

    • http://rayedwards.com Ray Edwards

      Glad I could be of service, Alan.

  • http://www.DennisBauer.com Dennis Bauer

    “Focus” is the operative word there for me. I’ve found that I cannot have anything else around, like the bills to sort or a project list to check or Facebook open… or even lunch to get. I’m easily distracted. So, having your simple guideline here is very helpful to me, simple steps upon which to focus.

    And I too like the idea of the question at the end of the post. Going to start doing that.

    • http://rayedwards.com Ray Edwards

      Dennis, I look forward to hearing how that goes (using the question at the end of your post).

  • http://hugeprofitstinylist.com Connie Ragen Green

    Ray,
    Thanks for these tips! I believe that if I follow what you are suggesting here, I will be able to follow through and get my sales pages written much more quickly and efficiently.
    Connie

    • http://rayedwards.com Ray Edwards

      I believe that too ;-)

  • Ray Eickhoff

    Reminds me of your post to cultivate the power of thinking. I have been engaging in this more lately and encouraging others to do the same!

  • Ruth Chapman

    This sounds like it will work as it forces you to put something down. The hardest part is getting started, and this gives you a way to do that.

  • zzdiana

    Suggested title of the “Blank Page Blues” 3 line (tricks) ditty: BELIEVE : ))

  • Milafel

    I’ve found myself in this situation far too many times as well. To beat that, I create an outline, or a bullet list, since the body is usually the first thing that comes into my mind. Oh, and I do my best not to panic. Never let that fear conquer me. :)

  • http://LoanInvestingBlueprint.com JD

    Fantastic as always Ray!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.ilenesaidel.com Ilene

    I write a lot of “notes” for myself first.

    • http://rayedwards.com Ray Edwards

      That is a very useful tip, Ilene.