Tips of the trade



I have to be honest,
I am not a graphic designer.

That’s right, you heard me.

Being a copywriter and studying the craft of writing at University means that I can confidently put sentences together but I cannot produce top notch marketing material all on my own.

So, when you’re trying to promote your writing on social media which is image orientated (ahem Twitter, Facebook etc.), what do you do?

You could spend a bunch of time contacting professionals and get some really great products…
but if you’re low on finances and just need a quick blog image you can upload at 11pm then you should check out my big secret.


Now, in no way am I saying that an online DIY tool can replace a trained professional, but if you are looking to get started and want to step up from copying and pasting in Paint, then I think Canva might be your first step on the ladder of design.

So what is Canva you might ask? Canva is a design tool to make your life easier.

You can knock up blog images, social media posts, posters and business cards and much more.
It works by offering images, text boxes, fonts and colouring tools for you to tweak until your heart is content.

You can sign up pretty easily and you can choose a free or paid service. I use the free service and it does me just fine.

I won’t blab too much more about it or else you’ll think the Canva team are slipping me a sweet sum of money for pushing their service, but honestly I found it thanks to another writer’s recommendation on a forum, so I gave it a shot and I think it’s worth passing it on to the other writer’s out there.



8 ways to get inspired – How to stop Writer’s block from stopping you.

We’ve all been there, deadline looming and your mind is anywhere else other than the writing you need to do. A novel, poem, blog, essay, or short story… 

Here’s 8 ways to get you back to writing that masterpiece.

1. Take a walk

What’s better than real life inspiration and fresh air? A change in scenery can refresh your mind and walking may release some exercise endorphin’s. Win win! 

2. Give in to a distraction

If you don’t fancy going outside, how about some music? Or an episode of your favourite drama? Or even a nice warm mug of tea? A small distraction can change your mood… just make sure you only have a small distraction and not a 3 hour binge session on Netflix though.

3. Get some inspiration

Sometimes we get writer’s block because we don’t feel that creative spark. Many people talk about the ‘blank page’ syndrome. 

Where to start? I picked up a great book a while back that gets you filling in lines before you know it: You can find it here – 642 things to write about

4. Get out the words you don’t need right now

Linking to number 3 is getting out the words you don’t need right now. Our brains are complex data crunchers… sit down and make a to-do list or write a diary entry. Maybe you’ve booked an appointment, or you know you need to pick up a gift for someone soon, whatever you are thinking about just scribble it down and make some room in your head for new thoughts and ideas.

5. Read some good writing

If you don’t like what you’re writing, maybe you need a reminder of what good writing is. Pick out your favourite books and authors and look at what they do… How do they introduce ideas? Perhaps you could even find an interview on their process or even in this day and age get on social media and be brave enough to ask! 

6. Inspirational quotes

Everyone likes a good inspirational or motivational quote. Look up a few and you may even want to print some out. It’s easy to think you’re alone in your frustrations, but in reality, everyone needs a kick of motivation sometimes. I usually scour Pinterest for some eye catching, thought provoking gems.


7. Location, location, location

Maybe you’ve tried everything on this list so far and you’re still not getting anywhere fast… then I recommend you get up off your chair and look around you. Is your current location suitable for your task? Too noisy/quiet? Too casual/formal? If you can’t get creative in your current space the answer is to try another one. Everyone has their own productive zone. Try spaces like cafés, the library, a friend’s house or even, if you can, the local park.


8. Seek professional help

The last piece of advice I can give you is to seek professional help. There are lots of published books and articles that claim to help you beat writer’s block and I’ve read a few that have helped. 

There are different ways not specific to a writer that might help also. You could try to speak to a career coach and get to the bottom of what’s really stopping you from writing, perhaps you could talk to a friend and see if that helps. In most cases the issue is a psychological one, you are stopping you.