Let’s get physical
Want to know how to write more engaging copy?
Take a run-up.
I mean: literally.
Open your Word document or set down your notepad, step back, walk around your space, and get the first line in your mind.
Then literally charge at the thing and riff it out.
It’ll seem weird the first time. But you should notice an added energy to the physical process of writing.
Rather than sitting there like an automaton, fixed in place and uninspired—get your body moving.
Get excited about the very act of creating something new and original.
Because that’s exactly what you’re doing.
In turn, this physical energy will show up in your writing too.
I’ve always been interested in the physical side of writing. If you were to watch me typing this out, as well as seeing my hands move across the keys, you’d see my heading bobbing around as though I were listening to some rare Charles Mingus record.
You’d see my foot tapping on the reams of paper piled beneath my desk.
You’d see my whole upper body jittering around.
Yet I tend to write in complete silence.
Sure, it’s weird. And I didn’t always write in such an animated way. I’ve definitely encouraged myself to be more physical. It’s like the scene in Spaced where the cycle courier ‘Tyres’ starts dancing to the beeps of a level crossing.
Over time I’ve conditioned myself to hit the keys in such a way that I physically dance with the abstract syncopated rhythm it creates. It’s Pavlovian now.
You might be reading this thinking I’ve gone mad…
Is it just me?
Or can you relate?
If you can’t, I’m serious about trying it. It’s especially helpful if you’re stuck on something, or if you’re feeling a bit washed out and not in the mood to write.
Get the words out. Work fast. Leave gaps. Throw in a few XXXs if you can’t quite find the right word.
Whatever happens, you fix it later.
In no way does this approach undermine the artistic element of the creative process. Spending two weeks crying into your laptop lamenting the fact you can’t find the right synonym for ‘stupid’, is not only daft, but it’s also dumb, dim, ill-advised, and senseless.
Besides, you’ll still have to come back and stroke your chin in an artistic fashion at some other point in the edit anyway.
So get up, walk around until you’ve got the seed of a sentence in your head, and then literally run at the white page to write it down and keep that energy going as you type.
Better copy will follow. Trust me.