How do you set the scene to write content?

April 6, 2020

Question: “How do you set the scene to write blog posts and newsletters? I can’t seem to get into a rhythm. Do I batch them? Do them before bed? After I exercise?”

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"I've learned that content-creating days - especially writing-heavy ones, need to have a lot of space."
- Emily

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Corey Winter 0:01
Welcome to 10 minutes to being boss, a buy side show for creative business owners where we give you actionable insights, tools and tactics on Korea winter. Here's your host Emily Thompson.

Emily Thompson 0:14
All right, welcome back. I'm super excited to be diving into another question. I think I'm gonna like this new setup. Is this fun? Cory? What do you have for us today?

Corey Winter 0:24
I feel like this one is going to be right up your alley, because quote unquote, content creator, is basically your middle name. This question comes from the being boss community. And some of you've actually spent some masterminding time with to this boss asks, how do you set the scene to write blog posts and newsletters? I can't seem to get into a rhythm. Do I batch them? Do I do them before bed? Maybe after I exercise? What do you do?

Emily Thompson 0:52
Who This is seemingly simple questions, but it's actually a massive question, because everyone creates differently. And I guess I'll start by sharing how I do this. And then I'll give you some Porter, some pointers, some pointers for you to figure out how to do this for yourself, too. But first, content greeting is a really big part of most of our businesses these days. That is just a simple fact. And not just blog posts and newsletters. But think about podcasts and social media posts and videos for igtv or Facebook or YouTube. And every piece of content is created differently. Some are done solo with others being done collaboratively. Some take a lot of time to produce while others can be done on the fly. So each requires a different setting a different brain space for you to be in, there's a lot to be aware of. Now, no matter what the content, I know that I need a lot of brain space. I really became super aware of this, when Kathleen and I were writing the beating boss book, it's very hard for me to jump from a day of meeting, let's say into writing a meaning full piece of content. As such, I've learned that creating content days or days for creating content, especially writing heavy pieces of content and need a lot of space, or videos, I also get really angry when I'm doing videos, that's just a side note. So on these days, I can have no meetings, and no other big to dues. So I usually choose a half day or a whole day each week. Currently, Friday mornings is kind of my content, creating time to create content, so I have plenty of space to do it in. This is basically true for all of my content except my newsletters. For whatever reason I like to cut it really close with those, I write a weekend edition newsletter that goes out every Sunday to our subscribers. And if you're not on that list, you should definitely come join us. And honestly, I usually write it on Sunday, just before it hits everyone's inbox. I do this partly because I don't usually have the time and to get it done during the week. And partly because after having all the space on Saturday and Sunday, it's usually significantly easier for me to sit down on Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon and just have something flow right out of me as opposed to forcing it during any given weekday. But my relationship with my newsletters has always been that way it works for me. So I keep doing it.

Corey Winter 3:25
So basically what you're saying is, it's okay for me to put things off.

Emily Thompson 3:30
Absolutely. We all create our own ways. Some people do really great with deadlines for me, my Sunday newsletter is my deadline. So I will literally wait until like Saturday or Sunday in that moment and face that deadline and get it done. We all have our own ways

Corey Winter 3:47
that basically sums up my entire college career. College only college Okay, fair, it's been like my entire adult life is building things up until the last minute.

Emily Thompson 3:57
Oh, I love that to say find out what works for you, I do suggest it batching as much as possible, meaning sit down at once to get a whole bunch done like sitting down once a week to write a week's worth of social media posts. That way you can keep content creation from taking over your whole schedule, which will happen if you're not doing it mindfully. also determine how much space you need to get your creative juices flowing. If you need a four hour block of nothing to pump out a 500 word blog post. Or maybe you're actually spending most of that for ours sipping a cup of tea and decompressing just so you can write then put that into your schedule. Make time for your creative process. And be really aware of what time of day you're most creative. I find that I get my best creative work done early in the morning or really late at night. So you won't often see me trying to write let's say a podcast agenda in the afternoon. That would make for some really crappy podcasts. So basically, the trick is to find your own flow. And it's going to be different for every single person. Also, My top tip, make a single piece of content go a really long way, you should be creating a hub a piece of content. That's what I call it, your hub content, let's say once a week, and let's say it's a blog post, then make your newsletter for that week be on the same topic, but for your subscribers and pushing them to your blog post. And then do the same for your social media posts for the week to do what you have to do to make your creative energies flow as far and wide as they can.

Corey Winter 5:36
So do you like set the atmosphere? Do you like get some music going?

Emily Thompson 5:42
bound? chicky? Well,

Corey Winter 5:45
not what I had in mind, but whatever floats your boat,

Emily Thompson 5:48
right? No, I don't usually, um, I will say whenever Kathleen and I started writing the beam boss book, I tried to make these like very intentional writing practices, like I remember buying like this little USB, essential oil diffuser and plugging into my computer, and then having some rosemary oil, which is supposed to be really great for like, your brain function. I think I did that once. I think I did it one time out of three months of writing a book. So no, one of the things I learned also during that time, but also just a decade, basically of creating content for online business is that sometimes you can't afford to be too precious, too precious with your process. Especially if you want to be let's say a traveling entrepreneur, you want to be living the suitcase live jumping from place to place like you sometimes you're going to do it in a train station, sometimes you're going to be writing your blog post at a cafe and that is dreamy. Other times it's going to be from your hotel room because it's raining and you can't go sightseeing for the day. You can sort of you need to adopt that same flexibility and do I think even like a work at home boss lifestyle, where I think if you get too precious about your writing process or your creation process, especially around something like marketing content, you keep yourself from being able to just get it done when it needs to get done. So no, I don't really set a mood. I just will sometimes write from the laptop in bed, I will sometimes do it for my computer. In my office, if it's a nice day, I will go do it on the porch. I will go write content, unfortunately to stop say do you do it in a train station? Whatever. No. You write it wherever it needs to be written in whatever way you need to be written. What I have found, though, is creating that space around writing content. If your brain is not ready for it, it's not going to be of good quality. Okay,

Corey Winter 7:43
so I actually have a follow up to this. What if you've set the tone you've lit some candles, you've turned on the music, you've tried different rooms? What if you've done all of this and creating content is just not working? Do you just not do it? What do you do?

Emily Thompson 7:59
then hire it out. Now all of us are copywriters. Not all of us can do our own marketing. Many of us can. I think that's wonderful. But not everyone can. And so if you're one of those people who has a hard time just sitting down and making it do hire it out too. There are so many copywriters and content creators for hire out there who will help you create your marketing content. And remember, this is a big part of most businesses these days, it's not going to do you any favors. If you just sweep it under the rug, find some help and let them figure out what time of day is best for them while you get back to doing the things that you are completely and utterly capable and competent at doing.

Corey Winter 8:37
Questions and looking for answers. Join bosses from around the world in the beam boss community and be a part of an ongoing conversation about cultivating a boss mindset, creating healthy boundaries, some real life business tactics and more. Learn more and join us at Big Boss club slash community.