Writers block & branding don’t seem like an ideal pairing at first glance, but as Kurt Vonnegut once said:
“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”
Recently, I had a consultation with a writer who had reached a block regarding how to get the word out on his writing; to bring it to a greater audience. His work is very personal and he was having trouble where to put his energy and efforts due to all the ideas swirling around in his head.
We needed to come up with a solid marketing plan for his work but that is hard to do when you don’t know what to say, when you’ve reached that block. You have so many ideas, the perfect freedom, that you can’t move forward.
So how do you progress?
The first step you need to take is to evaluate your brand and let your brand guide you through the process. Defined properly it will never lead you astray.
A simple technique we used was to discuss his personal goals and his writing – what was he passionate about? What are his words and writing about? What drives him as a person? Questions like these got to the root of his brand. In his case, a lifelong love of questions and questioning.
You can do this yourself, grab a friend or family member, someone you trust and can be open with, ask them to brainstorm with you and repeat back what they are hearing you say. The verbalization of the words is more powerful than keeping them inside.
Next, we touched upon his target audience. Age range? Gender? What they read and where they read it? What other places would this persona be found?
Once we knew the basis of his brand and where his target audience was. I directed him to simply list all his ideas out and order them as they relate to his brand, the lifelong love of questions and questioning, and his target audience.
What new ideas support this? What illuminate and excite? THOSE are the ideas to focus on now. The other ideas are valuable but just may need some more time to germinate.
The outcome of our session was a list of actionable items he can use to get past his block:
- Creating a book or memoir from blog posts
- Collaborations with artists or musicians in local coffee shops, etc.
- Working with a young artist from a local art school to help bring his words even more to life with some illustrations
- Continue expanding his social media reach through consistent posts that relate to his brand of questions
- Expanding his blog to include a section for general public posts on questions and questioning, more two-way interaction with his audience
We packed a lot in in a short period of time, but the resounding foundation is his brand. Using “a lifelong love of questions and questioning,” as the checks and balances of everything moving forward. That’s a way to remain true to yourself and your art, as well as communicate consistently to your audience who you are and what you stand for.