I was a machine operator back in the day. The most creative I had to get about pushing buttons was which finger to use. I miss that head space.
Not sure if it was youth or tit-headness, but I didn’t get the whole stress thing – viewed anyone staking a claim to it as a copout.
These days, I’m all too aware of how ignorant I was, and how vulnerable we are to its mind games – especially as copywriters who actually care.
If you let it, stress stops you being a copywriter. It makes you crave an uncluttered head – a push button lifestyle. Nothing wrong with that. But you wouldn’t be you anymore. The creative you. The real you.
It takes heart to keep at it, along with some immediate changes.
Now, I’m nowhere near an expert on stress so please don’t read this as a sermon, but these small changes are working for me – so far …
5 Quick Ways to Gain Head Space and be More Productive
Freelance Stress Saver 1. You can’t break the headline rule – but you can bend it …
So, you’re ready to dive into a thousand words of persuasion gold. Let’s say for argument that it takes you an hour and a half.
You know its importance, so you spend about 40 mins on the headline alone … which is good, if you have more than 90 minutes to spare on the entire piece.
I’m not suggesting you ignore the ‘spend longer on your headline than anything else’ rule. But to speed things up, just get your basic headline promise in place.
The promise won’t change – you can get hooky on its arse later.
Freelance Stress Saver 2. Forget ‘first-time’ perfection and plough the road …
I was OCD about it looking right on the page as I wrote, but this one cured me.
Get it down. Don’t worry about structure. Plough through until you’ve said everything – then edit (or join the Content Cavern for a free critique).
Combine these first two – you turn that hour and a half into about 50 minutes.
If you’re writing four or five boulders a day, you save enough time to watch half your Game of Thrones box set. Or decorate your spare room? (Yeah right!)
Freelance Stress Saver 3. All you need is your laptop and your head …
This one works best for freelancing (soz) unless you want to get the sack. I stumbled on it when I first flirted with burnout.
Grab your shit and get out of your cell office.
Go somewhere fantastic and write.
Change of scenery inspires the creative process and refreshes your head.
Here’s where I go …
… not too shabby for an office eh?
Just had an idea! If you try this one, send a pic and we’ll post them in the Cavern. Let’s see who gets creative in the best location? No cheating though, if you send us the Taj Mahal we wanna see you with your laptop.
Freelance Stress Saver 4. Pull the plug and regenerate …
I don’t really unplug coz I relax with FIFA or a few zombie head shots, but you get the drift (good stress). Power down your head, switch off your phone and don’t check your emails.
Whenever you get a chance to do this, even for an hour – take it.
Jump on your Xbox, your PlayStation or your partner – and be you for a while.
Freelance Stress Saver 5. It’s okay to play with yourself …
Not like that, (although it might work, I’ll look into it) what I mean is, write for you – the pure stuff, untainted by your clients.
I’m skiving to write this post.
I don’t feel guilty.
The job I’ve been working on all morning is doing my head in.
I’m not gonna bite the hand so I won’t go into detail, but it’s for one of those clients who should’ve done it themselves.
You know the type:
- “Why does my About Page hardly mention me?”
- “Can you fill out the post to make it longer?”
- “It’s too pushy, just put my contact details at the end”
- “More keywords please”
- “Can you write a press release about how great I am?”
- “Why aren’t I ranking higher?” (Because you’re a twa Because you live in the 80s and you won’t listen)
I’ll get the job done in time, they pay well, and I like beer, but I don’t like banging my head on the wall. Take a break from whore writing to scrub clean – when you need to. It can be strain free, if you add a few days to the deadline.
What’s your best tip on stress?
I’ve gone from thinking stress was a myth – to borderline obsession on avoiding it.
Do you have any pointers of your own? Drop your best head savers in the comments section and I’ll quote the boss ones in the next post.