Trick or treat!
It's all treats around here. Today I'm talking about how I fill my goody bag with grab and go copy...for those days that you just can't even.
There are four things pinned up on the corkboard by my desk.
- A photo of my brother and I at my 30th birthday.
- A Hamilton ticket from last year’s London trip (brag).
- A bundle of go-to post its attached to a bullclip.
- And a list of grab and go ‘calls to action’.
Guess which one I look at the most.
Sometimes (most of the time) writing is actually really hard.
And it doesn’t matter what kind of writing.
I’ve had moments of brilliance writing fiction...and moments of intense nothingness, staring at the screen, and only moving to stuff my face with crispy m&ms pulled from a giant margarita glass. In fact, I think this is how I spent 90 percent of my third year of uni.
The same goes for writing for Novelise.
There are days where the fingers start moving on the keyboards and it’s like I’m playing a song I’ve known for years. Well, I think that’s what it feels like. I didn’t have the patience to practice piano (sorry mum!). Other times it feels like it will be more productive to curl up on the couch and watch Drag Race than even attempt another shitty sentence.
Real talk? Last week’s email was a magic moment. Today’s flow is kinda meh.
I hope it doesn’t show.
When writing for fun, when I get stuck, I have a tiny book of writing prompts that I can pick up and flip to a random page for something to move me along. Even if I don’t use those exact words later on, it reminds my fingers how to play the song. They’ll start moving on the keys, and that momentum breeds momentum.
Writing for Novelise? That’s a little trickier.
I’ve had to come up with my own stash of prompts to keep me going.
My favourite prompt - the business blueprint
This is the holy grail of the Novelise business. Any work I’ve done on understanding my ideal client, my values, brand - it all lives in here. It also holds,
- Unpublished or archived iterations of web copy
- Email templates for sending final files, requesting feedback, and sending and chasing invoices
- Proposal snippets - little pieces of descriptive copy that I can pick up and drop into a templated structure
- Project notes from any ‘co-created’ offers or ideas - that means that when I ask for feedback on Instagram or another platform, I drop all the answers into the blueprint for future copy inspiration
Basically, it’s the dictionary of all things Novelise.
(psssst creating these as guidebooks for other businesses is one of my most favourite things to do)
When I feel stuck in my business copy, I jump back into the Blueprint and either,
- Remind myself who I am, what I do, and how I talk about it
- Copy some existing words into a document to adjust and build on <- Fun fact, no one else reads your stuff as much as you do, so no one else notices repetition like you do! Don’t shy away from it.
The more tangible social media prompts - post-it lucky dip and Call To Action list
The post-it lucky dip is a series of social media prompts, questions and story starters.
When I see someone on Instagram use a great lead in line, I write it down on a post-it.
Here's the scenario.
You're chilling at home scrolling on socials (when you know you should be creating). You see a social post that starts with ‘How this coffee snob became the owner of an instant coffee empire’. You think ' I want to read more'. It's a good hook. Write that sucker down on a post-it, structure only (How this X became Y).
The next time you're stuck writing a copy for Insta, rattle your hand around in your post-it lucky dip (depending on how much you scroll you should have a few handy!). If you pull this one out, what can you write?
- How this highly sensitive procrastinator became an deadline-driven go-getter
- How this bra fitting pro became a cunning copywriter
- How this TikTok skeptic went viral (ha, as if!)
It’s not the whole thing, it’s just the start. Sometimes that’s enough to get momentum.
But how do we wrap up our epic post? Even after years of practice, I still forget to include a Call to Action (CTA) at the end of my posts.
So I glance to my left, to the corkboard. And I pull from my CTA list.
CTAs don't have to be tricky. Just clear. We always want someone to do something > Try your tip, share their story, part with some dollars. By helping people take action (even if it's just dropping an emoji in the comments) you're building momentum with them, and getting them ready to take bigger action with you.
Even if I don't use one of the lines I have on the list, it's a good visual reminder to include some kind of call to action on each post.
Aaaaaand, you want to see the list don't you?
Here you go!
Sarah's CTA list
Go for it
Lock it in
Book it in
Give it a shot
Give it a go
Try it out
Test it out
Give it a gander
Give it a shot