It happens to everyone.
And there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Really.
But it can be scary, and leave you feeling frustrated and inadequate.
I’m talking, of course, about writer’s block.
Side note: If you were thinking about something else don’t worry - that’s nothing to be ashamed about either.
The feeling of dread and frustration you feel when you’re sitting in front of your computer staring at a blank screen is no joke.
And while there are numerous ways to work through it, there’s an even better way to help avoid some of the block in the first place.
By creating a swipe file.
Simply put, a swipe file is a collection of writing examples that you can pull out whenever you need inspiration or ideas.
A swipe file can contain anything - websites, emails, headlines, blog posts, landing pages, your daughter’s 5th grade essay, or the note from your neighbor explaining why there is now a 3 foot gap in the fence between your houses.
By curating proven writing examples, you have a reference at your fingertips that you can use to spark an idea, fill in the gaps, or give legs to your copy.
Contrary to the sleazy-sounding nature of the word, swiping is the art form of learning how to steal creatively.
But… and this is a big but… swiping does not mean plagiarizing.
In his book Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon shares a quote by Steve Jobs:
"It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you're doing," a young Steve Jobs once told an interviewer, adding, "Picasso had a saying: 'Good artists copy; great artists steal.'"
Even the Beatles - arguably one of the greatest music legends of all time - started off as a cover band.
Yep. They got their start playing songs that were originally recorded by someone else.
Need help starting a swipe file? Here are some ways you can start:
- Create a bookmarks folder in your web browser. Name it ‘Swipe File.’
- Create a new label in your gmail. Title it - you guessed it - ‘Swipe File.’
- Create a new folder on your computer. Guess what to name it (see above, if needed).
- Create a new notebook in Evernote titled *surprise!* ’Swipe File.’
Then whenever you need to you can reference your files to see which ones are relevant to the content you’re creating.
What’s your biggest challenge right now when it comes to content? Head over to the Unconventional Creative Facebook Group and let us know!