Why Writing is Hard — And How to Make it Easier!

Why is writing hard? And how to make it easier

How’s your 2024 going so far? I hope it’s off to a great start!

(Btw, did you know it’s the Year of the Dragon? High-fives to my fellow Dragons!) 🐲🐲🐲

I skipped a few weeks of producing new content because our dog, Scully, got really sick. She has chronic kidney disease and went into renal failure in mid December (she’s only 5 years old). Thankfully she’s doing better, but she (and we) are still recovering.

During that time, I found it SO difficult to focus, much less write, which got me thinking about how hard writing can be even on good days.

Now that we’re entering a New Year – which is usually filled with various writing goals – I thought this would be a good topic to focus on.

So let’s get into it:

WHY IS WRITING SO HARD? And how can you make it a little easier?

Why is writing hard? And how to make it easier

🔴 #1: You don’t know where to start

I think we can all relate to this.

You wanna write something, so you open up a doc and then … nothing.

You feel lost. Overwhelmed. Frozen (like an idiot who can’t write).

So what do you do?

You close the doc and pretend like the whole thing never happened (at least until 3AM when your brain starts coming up with all sorts of good ideas?? WTF).

🟢 Solution: Focus on research/strategy first

I find that “writer’s block” (or whatever you want to call it) happens when I haven’t done any (or enough) “pre-work” to set me up for success (pre-work = research and strategy).

For example, when I work with a client, I don’t start writing on Day 1.

I spend AT LEAST 2-4+ weeks collecting research by:

  • Asking my client to fill out a questionnaire
  • Reviewing the product in detail (and having my client walk me through it or send it to me)
  • Interviewing my client for 2+ hours
  • Reading through customer reviews (hundreds or thousands of them)
  • Surveying and/or interviewing customers
  • Researching competitors
  • Conducting audits of the existing site / internal docs
  • And more!

After the research is done, THEN I create the strategy – in my case, a website Information Architecture so I know exactly which pages we need, what kind of content will go on each page, the order, etc.

This way, when I get to the writing stage, I’m not staring at a blank screen saying, “where do I start?”

I have a clear and precise roadmap in front of me, almost like a “fill-in-the-blank” situation – and if I need more ideas or inspiration, I have TONS of research I can return to at any point.

If you’re struggling with this, try starting with research/strategy FIRST and seeing if that helps make the process faster, more efficient, and less stressful.

You can also try using a template, formula, or outline, as they can provide you with a structure to work around (vs staring at a blank screen with drool coming out of your mouth).

🔴 #2: Your product isn’t simple

Maybe your product has a lot of components or moving parts. Maybe you’re selling multiple products to different audiences. Or you have multiple goals. Or your product has recently changed in some way.

Whatever the case, a complex product can leave you feeling confused – like you can’t quite wrap your head around what you’re selling, both from a granular and “big picture” standpoint.

If this sounds like you, it’s no wonder you’re having a hard time writing about your product.

If you, as the business owner, don’t fully understand it, how are you supposed to communicate it to others in a clear and effective way?

🟢 Solution: Get internal clarity BEFORE trying to communicate externally

There’s a reason I start every project with a Discovery Questionnaire.

It forces the client to answer basic questions about their business, product/service, customers, brand, and more.

While it may be difficult for some, the process is designed to SHINE A LIGHT ON THE BEST AND MOST CONFUSING PARTS OF YOUR PRODUCT.

The questions you struggle with most are usually where you need to spend more time – more time developing the product or figuring out how to talk about it.

This is something you can do on your own, but I’ve found it to be most helpful when you work with someone who can pick up on those “gaps” and help you address them with personalized guidance.

It’s sort of like going to the gym vs working with a trainer. You can go the “DIY” route, but if you have specific goals or problems, working with an expert is going to yield faster, more targeted results.

🔴 #3: You don’t feel confident in your writing skills. And talking about yourself SUCKS!

In late November I interviewed a few clients about our work together (I’m revamping my website and needed some customer research insights).

Here’s what a few of them said about the writing process:

  • “I can’t put it into words. I get overwhelmed”
  • “It’s a difficult process, especially when you need to talk about yourself… something in your brain shuts down
  • “My whole life I have never felt confident in my writing — it gives me anxiety, especially knowing that it’s going out to a lot of people.”

Even as a professional writer (woah, that’s weird to say) I totally get all of this.

Writing is scary and can make you feel vulnerable, especially if it’s not “your thing” and you don’t feel comfortable or confident doing it.

🟢 Solution: Hire an expert to write for you (or try AI)

EVERYONE struggles with something, whether it’s writing or something else (for example, I suck at design so I hired a designer to help me revamp my website).

Sometimes you just need to ask for help (and trust me, as a DIY’er, I know that ain’t easy!).

If you’re struggling to talk about yourself or letting your insecurities hold you back from putting yourself out there, hire someone who can bypass all the BS and get to the core of what makes your product special/unique/awesome – without the cringe, shame, embarrassment, etc.

You may find that the process also helps you create new content ON YOUR OWN with more confidence. 

For example, here’s what my client, Meredith, told me this about the project we did together last year:

“I have a broader vocabulary to describe my business, I use the text all of the time. When I’m writing an email or a caption on IG, I go to the website and find something that fits whatever I’m trying to talk about. Even if I’m not trying to make a sale, but just trying to describe it. I feel confident in the language, in how it looks, in the content I’m putting out every month.”

That could be you! 😻

If you don’t have the budget to hire a copywriter, AI can be helpful as a starting point.

For example, I recently wrapped a project and asked the client for a testimonial. He’s busy, and writing isn’t his thing, so he asked me to create a rough draft he could use as a jumping off point.

But just like you, I hate talking about myself! 

So I plugged the project details into ChatGPT and had the tool write the thing for me (awkwardness averted!).

While AI isn’t always going to be a perfect “fix,” it can be useful in providing ideas that can help you get started and/or chip away at those mental barriers that may be holding you back.

🔴 #4: It’s too early…and you don’t have true product/biz yet

I recently worked with a student who was struggling to articulate basic things like his value proposition, differentiators, benefits, etc.

When I dug a little deeper, it became clear that the issue wasn’t his writing skills, but that it was too early to try and clearly articulate something that hadn’t fully formed yet.

It’s like trying to describe a flower that hasn’t bloomed. It’s just a seed!

It needs more time to grow and develop before you can talk about the color, size, shape … or why someone should buy it.

🟢 Solution: Focus on internal work / product development first 

If you’re in the early stages of building a business and struggling to clearly articulate what your product is, what it does, how it helps people, how it’s different, etc, take a step back.

Focus more on getting internal clarity by asking yourself questions that will hopefully give you some direction.

Or focus on actually building your product (vs just thinking about it).

Getting the thoughts out of your head and into a more tangible state (whether digital or physical) will inevitably help you get clearer around what you’re selling, specific features, benefits, etc.

If it’s already in a more developed state, try testing it in the market and seeing what happens or giving it away for free and asking for feedback (these are opportunities to learn about what you’re selling and why people want it, which can ultimately help with copy).

Either way, I personally wouldn’t invest in hiring a copywriter at this stage unless you have funding (or you feel REALLY stuck) because your product is still in flux and is likely to change many more times.

🔴 #5: You’re too close to the product

When you work on your business day in and day out, you FORGET (or don’t even realize) all of the amazing things your product actually does.

You also tend to view your product with “blinders” on – focusing on details that don’t always matter.

You may find it difficult to assess your product objectively, or see it from an “outsider’s perspective.”

All of this can make it more difficult to write copy that resonates with your target audience or even with your own team.

🟢 Solution: Hire someone to get a fresh perspective 

One of the most helpful parts of hiring an “outsider” to help you with your copy is you get to SEE YOUR PRODUCT IN AN ENTIRELY NEW LIGHT! 💡

You uncover selling points you didn’t even know you had, customer insights you were unaware of, and tons of other “golden nuggets” you can use to create more effective copy (among other things).

You can finally put some distance between yourself and the product – see the bigger picture – and sell more effectively.

There’s also no BS or biases that tend to get in the way and slow the process down – like my client, Marta, pointed out when we spoke recently about the project we did together:

“The longer you are at a company, the harder it is to look at it from the outside, or to get people on the same page about changing direction. Hiring you was the best decision ever. You came in, completely new to the industry, new to us, and were able to see the positioning, conduct the research, and distill it. There was nothing to disagree on, it was so smooth. It was such a good way of getting everyone aligned.” 

While not every business has the budget to hire an outside contractor, I really do believe it’s the fastest and most effective shortcut when you’re “in the weeds” and need a fresh perspective.

Why is writing hard for YOU? What do you struggle with the most?

For me, I sometimes struggle with…

  • Working in a new tone of voice that’s outside my comfort zone
  • Sharing personal stuff / my personality (writing brings out my “shy” side that’s afraid of being judged or not being perfect)
  • Creative writing – I do a lot of this in the background, but I’m not always consistent or confident in what I write … so I don’t share it (or I just procrastinate like a MF)

Comment below to tell me about your writing challenges and the kind of writing goals you’re hoping to achieve this year.

I hope you found today’s article; if you did, please share with a friend. ❤️



P.S. Here’s a photo of me and Scully from my website photo shoot this past fall. She’s such a good girl! 😭

Conversion Copywriter, Annie Maguire

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