5 ways to get inspired

Sep 11, 2015

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

You’re probably familiar with the joys and pains of being a freelancer.

Variable pay, tight deadlines, difficult clients and a never ending work stream are just a few of the daily obstacles.

On the flip side, there’s a wealth of freedom that comes with working as a freelancer.

Creativity is the name of the game, but perseverance is the invisible challenge from the moment you sit down to brainstorm until you typed the last word.

Here’s are a few ways to keep typing even when you’re tasked with the dullest of subjects:

1. Look for what hasn’t been said

It’s all too easy to become obsessed with word count when you’re against the clock and out of inspiration, but finding the right angle is key to fighting writers’ block.

Don’t just summarise the subject. Look at what’s been said. Is the information outdated?

When you are researching, take stock of when the articles were published and the site’s reputation. If the information is outdated, look at how you can update the story.

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2. Read more to empathise

Recent research shows a link between reading fiction and improving readers’ ‘social empathy’.

Empathy is central to the human experience and connecting with others. Author George Orwell famously lived as a tramp in East London and worked in Paris as a dishwasher.

These experiences informed his work, ‘Down and Out’ and allowed him to inhabit of a wealth of characters.

While empathy is not essential to all forms of writing, especially fact driven or investigative writing, it can improve your language and style for blogs, fiction and scripts.

3. Link the subject to your passion

If you are writing about a subject you love, word count won’t be an issue. If anything, you’ll have trouble not going over the word limit.

While it may not be possible to link every assignment to your passion, look for a common link or something you can uniquely add to the subject matter.

For instance, if you are a sports writer tasked with the assignment of writing about dogs, think of ways you can link the two. Perhaps, there is a positive correlation between running with your pet and improving fitness.

This is just one example of how seasoned writers spin a dull or difficult subject in their favour.

4. Interviews

If you cannot link the subject to your passion, find someone who can. Look for people you can interview.

If you can’t find someone to interview, look for how you can spin existing interviews. For example, you can compile extracts from various experts’ to create a ‘top tips’ article.

As long as you credit the original sources, you will have repurposed old material, updating it in an original way.

5. A picture is worth a thousand words

It’s terrible, but true. Infographics tend to go viral much faster than articles.

If you are out of ideas, a listicle with clever pictures or an infographic is a safe bet. While listicles are not a new form of journalism, they definitely dominate the online space.

Time will only tell if the trend is here to stay, but for now, it is a good way to beat writer’s block.

Simone Baret is a content writer and blogger. She helps produce social & outreach content for Fastlane International™. This includes website copy, landing pages and blogs. She joined in January 2015. Previously, she worked as a freelancer for five years.