"This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard."
Motivation isn't always easy to come by as we slide into Christmas. And, while the festive season provides a bit of an excuse, a lack of motivation is problematic for B2B content writers - whatever time of year it strikes. Successful content marketing is dependent on both quality and consistency, both of which require a degree of good, old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work.
There are various reasons behind a lack of motivation. Some are serious, but others are easier to address – for instance, feeling unmotivated because you are overwhelmed by a task and simply don't know where to start.
So, what can B2B content writers do when the muse proves elusive and doing almost anything else but writing seems appealing?
This is a technique whereby you simply write continuously for a predetermined period - disregarding spelling, grammar or even the topic you are tackling. It's a bit like a warm-up exercise, preparing your writing muscles for the real work ahead. Freewriting can help you to kick-start your creativity, uncover new ideas and, ultimately, get "unstuck".
2. Embrace discomfort
The best things in life don't come easy. From losing weight to winning an Olympic gold medal, success requires hours of dedication and sacrifice – and this can be distinctly uncomfortable.
However, writing for HubSpot, Karla Cook says that you just have to persevere: "It will be unpleasant at first, but it is possible to train yourself to become more comfortable with the discomfort of intellectually demanding work. Think of it like preparing for a marathon: If you make a training schedule and put in the effort to stick to it, eventually the running gets easier every day. That first day, running a mile might seem tortuous, but in six months, it'll be a breeze."
Creating B2B content is hard and the prospect of the challenge ahead can be demotivating. But through accepting that the early stages of a project might not be that enjoyable, you can find the motivation to power on through.
3. Keep your eyes on the prize
When you sit down to create a piece of content – whether it's a blog post, eBook or whitepaper – it can be hard to visualise the finished product, so-to-speak. But it's crucial to remember why you're undertaking the task in the first place.
You’re working hard to form meaningful connections with the people that matter most to your business through well-written, interesting and valuable content. And, ultimately, you're working to drive more sales and boost growth within your organisation. So, keep those objectives in mind and imagine how you will feel when they become a reality.
4. Don't fret
We're all human and we're all fallible. For B2B content writers, who make their living from crafting excellent copy, it can be a source of great anxiety when the creative juices dry up. However, giving too much sway to these negative feelings can quickly tip you into a downward spiral of disheartenment.
The more time you spend worrying about your lack of motivation, the less time you dedicate to overcoming it. So, push the worry to the back of your mind and get writing.
5. Let go of perfectionism
It's important to know when your writing is good enough: clinging on to perfectionism can be a real killer when it comes to B2B content. By agonising over your work, you fall into the trap of missing deadlines and, worse, missing precious opportunities to engage with your target audience.
A post on Wrike states: "While it's good to let fear push you, rather than control you, you run the risk of letting that mindset take over. When that happens, nothing is good enough, skewing your idea of what a job well done actually looks like."
Quality is important, but we're not trying to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. If you're answering your audience's questions and allaying their fears, you're on the right track. Spelling mistakes are a big no, but a slightly clunky sentence isn't necessarily a deal-breaker.
A lack of motivation can make it very difficult to create the work required to succeed at content marketing. But there is no need to despair. In his memoir, Stephen King famously said: "There is a muse, but he's not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer. He lives in the ground. He's a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level..."
There's no getting around it - content writing is hard. However, the opportunities it affords your business are not to be scoffed at. On the hardest days, it's important to remember why you started out on your content marketing journey - and to keep moving forwards.