Copywriting in the Bleak Midwinter - Finding Inspiration in the Grey Months

Bleak House by Jon Curnow

This isn't where you'll do your best work...

This isn’t a brilliant time of year for being creative. Blue Monday might have been invented to sell holidays, and it seems that there’s a “statistically, everyone’s going to call in sick” day every other month, but there’s undeniably something about late January and early February that saps creativity.

Probably the fact that it’s cold, bleak and frequently raining.

But work doesn’t stop for the weather, and there’s copy to be written. So what’s a penslinger to do when the well of creativity has dried up? Are there any sure fire ways to beat the bleak month blues?

Getting Inspired – Finding Creativity in the Bleakest Part of the Year

As with all things copy, what works for me might not work for you. But, personal tastes aside, there are a number of things that will have your creative juices flowing. And those that will leave you with a train that’s not so much derailed as vaporised.


Read – Read everything you can get your hands on. Anything at all can give you a hook, or spark an idea. Blogs are a particularly rich vein of inspiration, but newspapers, trashy books and clever bits of advertising copy are all good choices. Just be careful that you don’t end up reading the entirety of War and Peace instead of writing.

Write – Obviously. Just flex those writing muscles and start writing everything that comes into your head. Plans for the weekend, thoughts on a favourite film, a play-by-play of those strange thoughts running through your brain… Once you start writing, you’ll probably find that you can’t stop. But make sure you delete the warm-up. Your client doesn’t want to find out why Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is actually a thought-provoking insight into how the human psyche develops over time.

Ask – Just ask. You’re probably on Twitter, and you should be following a number of other writers (if not, start here). So see if they can help you out. You’ll  get all the help that you need if you just ask for it!


Procrastinate – The bane of the internet is procrastination. Looking for inspiration is fine. Getting into a debate on Twitter, clicking your life away on StumbleUpon, or watching Frazer Richardson’s winning goal in the Preston vs Leeds playoff semi-final isn’t. If you get caught up in a procrastination loop, you might well need to unplug your PC and go back to writing in a notebook.

He can do this, because he's fictional.

Drink – Are you Don Draper? No. You’re not Don Draper. So you can’t drain half a bottle of scotch, write a career-defining piece of short copy and be finished in time for a lunchtime hookup with your mistress. So just get your nose to the grindstone and reward yourself with a Laphroaig once you’ve finished.

Shamelessly Rip Off Other Writers – You know who you are. I sympathise with your plight, but scraping blog articles or copying straplines is a one way ticket to people’s bad books. Even if you are nice enough to leave all the links in. And if you’re stealing content instead of creating it, you’re cheating yourself. Because if you’re not practicing, how will you ever improve?

Any Bright Ideas?

So, what gets you writing? How do you unleash a barrage of creativity onto the dark days of January and February? There are more than three ways to get inspired, so share your tips in the comments section below.

2 Comments comments for "Copywriting in the Bleak Midwinter – Finding Inspiration in the Grey Months"

  1. To get the creative juices flowing, I turn the sun lamp on full, play some calypso and don my Bermuda’s. Then I think “Stuff it. I’m on holiday.”

  2. I think that was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone suggest asking for help. Brilliant idea. We tend to be so soliary as writers we look more to inanimate objects for support than to regular human beings like us–except without writer’s block.

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