[Copy] Writing Anxiety: Are You Psyching Yourself Out of a Sale?

So here you are…staring at your monitor, struggling to put your life’s work into words compelling enough to sell well.

It’s been hours, days, maybe even months since you had a great writing session!

You’re frustrated. Anxious. Your mind is empty. Your muse, well, it looks as if she’s taken a permanent vacation. Your eyes are blurry and the only thing you see is the EMPTY page. The absence of your muse affects your self-confidence, and you’re close to giving up on your dream of launching a super sexy new program, or maybe you already have given up.

I want you to take a deep breath. It’s OK, really! You’re not crazy and you’re certainly capable of writing authentic copy that pops and sizzles its way into a stylish sale with your dream client.

You are simply too close to psyching yourself out of a sale!

When your writing muse fails you, the first step you need to take is backwards – step AWAY from your keyboard and take a break. Some of your ideas simply need more time to germinate in order to create positive impact with your target market — your tribe.

Think of it like a delayed punch of inspiration.

As it gathers strength it becomes way more powerful than a quick, thoughtless, writing-purge-turned-loose.

If writing is not your prime vocation or craft, you need all the help you can get to craft stylish sales copy that positions your idea as sales worthy.

You’re struggling to define your market.

I’ve worked with hundreds of sassy entrepreneurs over the years. And the number #1 reason why many of them struggle in business is because they simply have no idea who their dream client really is.

The problem: They’re casting their lures in the big pond and end up competing with other fisherwomen for the prized catch.

If you haven’t clearly defined your dream client, you’ll always struggle to package your ideas into the right words because you don’t know what that dream client wants from you. Remember, words are incredibly powerful – they can make or break a sale.

And if your communication lacks a certain punch or the powerful, compelling quality the French call “je ne sais quoi,” you’ll struggle to communicate the benefits of your program because you won’t be familiar with the needs and desires of your tribe.

What you need is to become crystal clear on your perfect client before you write a single word of sales copy and then cast your lure in the smaller pond (targeted market) so you can be the BIG fish.

Writing anxiety is caused by RESISTANCE!

Steven Pressfield writes in his book The War of Art, “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”

Resistance causes all kinds of problematic behaviors and feelings:

•    Procrastination
•    Fear
•    Lack of self-confidence
•    Jealousy
•    Uncertainty
•    Anger
•    Impatience
•    Pretty much everything else that messes with your mind!

Here’s the thing: everyone suffers from resistance. You. Me. The gal down the road. Your neighbor. Your competitors. EVERYONE!

The difference between resistance and success is confidence. You want to learn to ignore that little voice inside of your head that screams, “You can’t do this. You’re not good enough.”

Have a little faith in your own abilities as a true luminary.

If you haven’t read Steven’s book I highly recommend you do, because it’s choc-a-bloc with practical advice on quieting your negative dialogue.

If you want to consistently churn out irresistible copy that sells, you need to master your resistance. Every. Single. Day. (Tweet This!)

Copywriting pros achieve this through committed focus, consistent action, and non-negotiable boundaries.

Beat resistance with a kick-ass swipe file, and never worry about writer’s block again.

The easiest and smartest way to beat resistance from showing up when you’re trying to write the next home-run promotion is to start a collection of titles, ideas, and copy that resonates with you.

Copywriters call this a swipe file.

A swipe file is simply a document/folder/file on your PC, or if you prefer, a collection of printed clips, bound in a pretty folder.

To create a swipe filed, start collecting all the headlines, sentences, offers, stories, ideas, and pieces of copy that speak to you while reading magazines, web pages, blogs, emails, and sales letters.

Swipe the LOT into a convenient system that works for you. You can sort it alphabetically or by product or niche. The sorting is not that important. What’s more important is that you get started (if you haven’t already).

Once you get a collection of swipes start using them.

A word of warning, though: NEVER EVER swipe something and use it “as is.” That would be considered stealing. Instead rewrite the copy in your own words and add your own authentic twist to it.

You’ll never worry about getting writer’s block again, that much I can promise you.

Now I want to hear from you!

In the comments below, tell me:

What’s been the most frustrating part about staring at a blank screen for you?
What did you do in the past to overcome the frustration of suffering from writing anxiety?


Monika Mundell is the go-to communication expert and illuminatress of mass seduction, aka a creative copywriter for sassy women in business. Monika consistently explodes her client’s profit potential with her fresh, funky, and fun writing style. Monika created her FREE Sales Letter Love Script to help you magnetize your perfect client and make love, with words.

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23 thoughts on “[Copy] Writing Anxiety: Are You Psyching Yourself Out of a Sale?

  1. This is so great! I really need to start keeping a swipe file – that’s going to go on a post-it and it’s going to get stuck above my monitor so I remember.

    I find that when I’m stuck, the best thing to do is to just get any old thing out and on to the page/screen. It doesn’t have to be good. As long as my wheels start turning. Once momentum is reached the good stuff can start churning out – but starting in the first place is the most important part.

    1. Oh I love your feedback Jennifer!

      Thank you. What you said is actually a VERY important reminder for us not to edit (mentally + physically) when we’re dumping down our first draft. This can impact our muse and stop us from writing freely.

      You’re spot on! Starting is key… the rest happens once we’re in flow. 🙂

  2. Love the advice, Monika! Reading The War of Art seriously changed my creative life. It was so eye-opening! Resistance and I aren’t quite so stand-offish now…I actually try to channel it into excitement, breathing into it and dispelling the fear. I heard it explained not too long ago that fear (resistance) showing up just means that something f-ing AWESOME is about to happen! That definitely helps me turn it around into something productive instead of paralyzing. 🙂

  3. Monika, you make two fantastic points here. Firstly, you’re absolutely right about trying to write sales material without fully understanding your prospect. Unless you know who your buyers are, and really get their needs, wants, and desires it’s almost impossible to appeal to them. The analogy I always use is trying to hit a target you can’t see.

    You’re also spot on about fear being a major writing block. I remember starting out, my biggest fear was writing a piece of sales copy that bombed. When you’re that scared of failing it’s unlikely you’ll ever start writing at all. In the end I realised the best thing to do was write SOMETHING, and then let the audience tell me whether it sucked or not through sales.

    At least then I could tweak what I’d written. And just to add, one of my most successful pieces of copy was a sales letter I thought was a terrible flop! Ya just never know!

    1. Thank you Laurence… love your analogy buddy. (I often compare it to traveling without a destination.)

      You’re simply awesome my friend. Why? Because you pushed through your fear + resistance and powered on! And look where your journey has taken you?

      Testing + measuring… sooooo important, and fodder for a whole new blog series, lol. Thank you, for stopping by to share your thoughts Laurence. xx

  4. Yay @Brianna,

    You totally got IT! From what I’ve experienced resistance + fear is exactly that. And you’re right: if you push through fear you’re starting to attract the most ah-mazing people + events into your life. It’s manifestation at its best. Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts. xx

  5. Oh Monika – this article could not have come at a better time, and as I read it, I feel almost as if it was written just for me!!
    As someone who does suffer from an almost debilitating form of writer-anxiety, I cannot count the number of times I found myself staring at a blank screen, with a thousand as-yet-unformed embryos of thought swirling through my brain, yet struggle to commit even one to a page due to FEAR and everything else you’ve mentioned above. The most frustrating part was having all those ideas in my mind, (which all seemed like fantastic ones last week) yet second-guessing them at the last minute.
    I love your idea of a swipe file – having a visual reminder of why these ideas are great, and also the great reminder to remember WHO we are writing for, and WHY. THANK YOU Monika, great read (and the first thing I shall put in my brand new SWIPE FILE).

    1. @ Rowena: and yet, you have such a beautiful way with words!

      Your response proves you have a wonderful way with words. And I let you in on a little secret: I suffer from fear as much as you + everyone else who reads this blog. But I push through them – on most days anyway. I believe the key to mastering your fears is to “do it anyway,” just as Susan Jeffers wrote in her acclaimed book.

      Fearless imperfect action changes your life! Thanks so much for sharing your innermost thoughts (and fears) with us all. You rock girl and there’s nothing that can stop you from reaching your potential (except you). xx

  6. Thanks Monika! Wow! Loved this article and it’s helped me focus on a load of projects I’m working on now. Particularly love the reminder to get very clear about your target audience. I’ve been wishy-washy about that lately and this is like a spark from the universe reminding me to target the people who want what I HAVE rather than trying to change my content to suit a range of people. Fantastic. I’m a big fan of your work. xxx

    1. @Belinda, thank you my friend! And I’m a fan of yours! xxx

      You’ve said it perfectly: there’s no need to package your brilliance to suit everyone. Simply show up with your gorgeous talents + your kinda people will follow you to the end of the world (and back). 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for the great article Monika.
    Staring at a blank screen (or page) is terribly self-disparaging. I find it really helpful to keep a journal and I also keep my tape recorder handy, for when I get those moments of inspiration (like in the middle of the night). I’ve got a folder of ideas, just headings with a few notes, so that I can come back later and find a bunch of ideas waiting to be expanded, rather than a blank screen.
    A similar idea (I think it’s from Julia Cameron) is to put words, topics, headings etc onto small pieces of paper and keep them in a basket or pretty container, then pull one out when you feel like writing.
    These are more for creative writing than sales copy, but I’ve used them successfully to get the flow happening. Writing by hand helps a lot, I think, especially when you can go to an inspiring place outdoors. I find it quite different to sitting in front of a screen.
    Thanks again for your wisdom Monika.

    1. @Jane, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your tips with us all. I really like the idea of capturing those fleeting flashes of inspiration in a teeny-weeny notebook. I always carry a small Moleskine in my handbag (did I mention I’m a Moleskine addict?). But any journal/notebook will do as long as those thoughts get captured. Because there’s so much gold in them.

      Never heard of the “Julia Cameron idea,” but love the concept of it. So thanks for sharing this.

      Creative writing is actually a HUGE part of copywriting. So don’t be afraid to get creative and tap deep into your creative muse before you write sales copy – you may be surprised what happens next. 🙂

  8. I love the idea of the swipe file, I have what I call my treasure trove – it contains ideas, phrases, concepts and story lines I have that float through my head, but I have no real use for at that time. In the beginning I’d write out a whole blog post, but not use it, so now I just store them. Sometimes I’ll use them for quotes, pass them on to clients etc.
    When I get stuck – I flick through them to get me going again. Adding stuff I see and love will just make it all the richer pickings 😉

    1. @Marina: love your treasure trove idea. What a lovely example of keeping a creative swipe file + helping others with inspiration when needed. Thank you for sharing this. I’m inspired to start my own now. xx

  9. Bravo Monika!

    You’ve done it again…

    Packed an article with not just good meaty content but one that’s enjoyable and validating to read. I look forward to you putting all your articles and insights into a book because you ARE going to put them into a book aren’t you? 🙂
    Your take and flavour on things has such a warm yet professional flavour to it, a book would be a fabulous way to have access to a nice ‘stack’ of Monika-insights at the ready!

    Big hugg and gratitude to you!

    1. Mwah Lynika!

      Coming from you my friend this is a HUGE compliment! Thank you so much gorgeous Nika. I have considered writing a book at some stage. I never thought about repurposing some of my old work (but now that you’ve mentioned it I guess I could – thanks so much for the prompt). And when I do I shall follow your beacon of light on how to do it right. xxx

  10. Just found your page from the Nomads group-I LOVE it! I’ve psyched myself out of sales in the past, but then was able to just write everything down and have some friends take a look. That helped me feel like it was a better effort. Today I finished a sales page for a program I have next month, but the biggest problem I had was fighting with silly website builder!!!!!! Might be the push I needed to get onto wordpress! Thanks for these tips 🙂

    1. Hey Catherine,

      Thanks so much for sharing your challenges re writing sales copy. Purging what’s in your head + heart is a great start. And getting feedback from people who know and respect you helps a lot. So well done you, for taking action and moving forward – now comes the marketing. I hope your fitness program sells like gangbusters. 🙂

  11. Oooh I love the idea of a swipe file, thanks Monica, and for the Book suggestion. Yep I have HUGE resistance to wrting and its holding me back. Your right, I just need to discipline myself to sit down and at least try because currently Im not even trying because I think I cant do this! Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Hey Amanda,

    Thanks so much for your feedback. Discipline is tough, for everyone. So don’t beat yourself up too much about it. You can definitely DO this, because you know your business better than anyone.

    Get that swipe started and you’ll take one step forward already. 🙂

  13. Hi Monika!

    This is a great blog thank you. For me I don’t so much have writers block because a lot of stuff goes on in my head and once I start writing, it seems to be quiet effortless. My whole professional life I had women in the workplace who would pick on my writing style, grammar and spelling which made me lose confidence in my writing. For a long time I didn’t know if I should start writing blogs because of this. I eventually chose to work on my writing style and constantly improve and am now writing blogs. My writing style is not the best, my spelling and grammar still need work but I am definitely putting myself out there and getting better everyday. Thank you for the idea of a swipe file. I certainly will apply it in my business as I need to expand my vocabulary too 😀 hehe So much to work on, I’ll get there in the end 🙂


  14. I love the swipe file idea. I just started doing this. I wish there were ways to make this easier. I start out saving via copying to word document, then start saving as bookmarks on my browser. I wish we could find an app where you click on a page and it saves it as a document in a directory on your computer, or in an app. I think that’s one purpose of spundge, so maybe I just need to start using it that way.

    Nancy Rose @ Quintessence Creations

    1. Nancy, have you tried saving your swipes by navigating to your browser’s >>> file >>> save page as >>> give it a name + save in your preferred PC folder as “webpage, complete?”

      Alternatively you could install Evernote on your PC – it’s a software that lets you clip any parts of any website. 🙂

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