Ever feel like what you’re writing is just kind of...bland?
Writing ruts happen to the best of us.
- Maybe it’s because you’ve been writing about the same topic for so long.
- Maybe you’ve become immersed in your niche, and you’ve lost external perspective.
- Maybe you’re just real tired and need a lil’ nappy.
Whatever the reason, I get it. Been there.
This used to happen to me quite a bit in the PR job I had working for a hunger-relief organization.
Because it was my full-time gig, I was writing a lot of the same messaging over and over, and as time passed, I found it increasingly difficult to write something fresh and interesting with a clear, energetic voice.
It kept coming out as...blah. Uninspired. Boring. The same.
But guess what? There are some easy fixes for this situation.
Here’s what I’d recommend trying when you feel like your writing is making people tune out or fall asleep.
Be more specific
Many times, bland writing is a product of simply being too general, high-level, or unspecific. You might need to get rid of any abstract platitudes and make your words more concrete and relatable.
For example, instead of writing:
“We’re working hard to make a difference and improve the lives of families in Illinois.”
You could write:
“Every day, we’re sending out trucks loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables all over the state to feed hungry children, adults, and seniors living in rural parts of Illinois.”
See how being more specific creates a much stronger mental image?
When you can add specificity to your writing, it makes the words more visual, emotional, and powerful. It makes your readers pay attention and connect with what you’re telling them.
Harness someone else’s voice
Your audience is probably pretty familiar with your voice, so it may also be a good idea to let someone else do the talking in your writing to mix things up a bit.
You can harness someone else’s voice by incorporating stories (sometimes in the form of quotes) from other relevant parties. When another voice gets some of the spotlight, your writing becomes less MEMEME and more inclusive and interesting for the reader.
Let’s use the original example again. Instead of sharing stats and facts from the internal organization on the hunger-relief work being done, you could tie in some stories and quotes from people benefitting from that work.
For example, you might use a quote from a food recipient on how the organization’s work is impacting his or her life. Adding in the extra voice adds meaningful context to the work being done, and it builds a much more compelling narrative than mere numbers and reporting.
Grab an outsider
If you’re still struggling (or the previous two suggestions didn’t really apply), my last tip is to grab someone who knows nothing about what you’re writing about and have them read what you’ve written so far.
A reader with fresh eyes and a blank slate on the topic can spot things you’d never even notice. They can suggest ways to make the writing more clear and understandable--and they can likely point out what’s missing from the big picture story.
Having someone with external perspective make suggestions can help you transform a snooze-worthy article into a share-worthy story. Ask for honest feedback, and then put it to good use.
Boring writing isn’t effective, plain and simple. When you feel yourself slipping into the rut, remember these tips and pull yourself back out.
This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.