If you are a blogger, online writer or content marketer, you may find yourself spending long hours in front of a word processor. At times, it can be difficult to find creative inspiration, and you may end up stuck on a post or an article. Worse still, you could find yourself staring at a blank screen, unable to come up with anything to say.
In the create-on-demand world, this is a problem. If you spend a good chunk of your day writing content, it's probably because you or your company banks on it, for several possible reasons. Perhaps it's needed for marketing or customer acquisition or lead generation. Perhaps you or your company's bottom line depends on it.
Notwithstanding, let's escape from the creative pressures for a moment and think about your process. There are a lot of factors to think about, from planning to research to editing. It's good to think about all of that, but at some point, you know as well as I do that the article just needs to get written.
If you find yourself in this situation, here is a very simple way to break out of your creative rut. Even if you're not currently in a rut, you may find this suggestion helpful.
Making Small Tweaks
If you're a Microsoft Word user, chances are you've been using Times New Roman or Calibri for a long time without giving much thought as to how this impacts your creativity and writing.
Isn't it strange that we don't think about this as writers? Graphic designers have to be deliberate about their font selections at all times. A graphic prominently featuring text isn't complete until the designer carefully considers what font most accurately represents the subject matter. A designer would be criticized or mocked for using one of the few web safe fonts, unless one of them really did epitomize the subject matter well.
By the way, standard web fonts would include the following:
- Times New Roman/Times
- Courier New/Courier
You're probably wondering what the big deal is. Is changing the font in your word processor periodically really going to get you out of or keep you out of a creative block? Is it really going to make a difference?
What I've found is that different fonts evoke different feelings. Some of them are classy and elegant. Some of them are modern and futuristic. Others are fun and playful. Different fonts can cause you to tap into different personalities if need be.
Not that your writing would necessarily take on the character of the font itself, but changing the font might put you in a different mood. If you can change your mood, then maybe the creativity will start to flow again.
In case there's any confusion, what I'm suggesting here isn't about changing the text formatting of your blog posts or articles. What I'm talking about is using different fonts within your word processor while you're still working on your piece. It's not going to affect the finished product, but it could assist you in your creative process.
Sample different fonts and see how they stimulate your writing procedure. At this exact moment I am using Georgia, and though it is a fairly common font, I have found that it makes me feel professional and productive.
There is something tactile about writing, isn't there? As you type out words and sentences on your keyboard, the letters appear onscreen. Fonts can give you a fresh sense of control over what you're working to accomplish.
If you haven't changed your font in a while or if you've never tried this exercise before, go ahead and test out a few of the following fonts and see how they affect your writing (some of these fonts may not be available on the Mac platform):
- Arial: simple and concise
- Century Gothic: smooth and modern
- Impact: loud, almost obnoxious
- Stencil: Western, salesy
How did those fonts make you feel? Did they affect your writing at all? Did they help you think a little differently or achieve a particular mood? Did they spark new creative inspiration?
Practically every OS comes pre-installed with a small catalogue of fonts. If you feel the need to explore more possibilities, I suggest checking out a site like dafont.com. There is a variety of fonts you can download for free or for personal use, and installing them on your machine is a very simple process.
In Windows, begin by downloading the font, accessing the control panel, and opening up the 'Fonts' folder. If the font came in an archived folder, you may need to 'unpack' or 'unzip' it before you can access the files within. Once you're ready, simply click and drag the font file into the 'Fonts' folder and wait until it's done installing.
The installation process is usually very similar for other Operating Systems.
Sometimes, when we're having trouble creatively, we think that we have to make massive changes to our process. However, oftentimes little things can make a big difference, the same way clearing your desk or organizing your junk drawer or setting out a new pillow on your couch can make you feel relieved, orderly or more together.
If you think I'm kidding, you should really give this a try. You don't really have anything to lose from trying.