It can be daunting. That blank screen glaring, the blinking cursor taunting you and a deadline looming. Returning to work as a writer after a break is a bit like getting back to the gym after an indulgent holiday. You may need a few extra minutes to get out of bed, but you know you’ll feel better once you’ve just done it.
So, whether you’ve been on a globetrotting getaway or taking time off for parental leave, here are a few pointers for sharpening your copywriting skills when you return to work.
Allow some extra time.
Give yourself plenty of time to warm up. Plan extra time for assessing your brief, conducting any necessary research, brainstorming, writing and reviewing. That way if your writing muscles seize up, you have a bit of a buffer.
Ask for input.
Just like grabbing a spotter for the bench press, ask someone you trust to read your copy before you submit it. A second opinion can be invaluable (regardless of whether you’re returning to writing after a break or not).
You’ve heard it here before – reading is essential to effective copywriting. Especially if you’ve been reading nothing but tourist websites (or in my case, stacks of rhyming baby books!), then carve out a few extra minutes each day to read. It could be the newspaper, industry magazines, fiction – anything to stir up the stagnant words in your head and help you find your rhythm again. Even reviewing the TCC Style Guide can help.
Get back to basics.
Focus on the fundamentals of good writing. Who is the intended audience? What is the goal of the communication piece? You won’t feel overwhelmed by the task at hand if you keep best practices in mind.
Hey, you’ve done this before! Every experience enriches your writing, so leverage that time you spent away from the screen while reminding yourself you’ve got it covered.
Sometimes a break from the gym can be just the thing you need to push yourself harder when you return. And the same can go for writing. So, if you’ve taken a hiatus, whether for family, work or play, follow the above tips to fire up your writing muscle memory. You’ll be back in top copywriting shape in no time.