“It’s not that I’m blocked. It’s that I don’t have enough research to write with power and knowledge about that topic… you never want to solve a research problem with language.” – Sebastion Junger
Abraham Maslow once said, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”
Sometimes I feel like the only tool I have is writing (language).
So I have to remember that what Sebastion says is true: “You never want to solve a research problem with language.”
I first learned this when I was apprenticing under a 20-year master copywriter named Michael.
We’d be brainstorming a marketing campaign for a new offering when my mind would slip into copywriting mode. It would sometimes stifle my creative mind and I’d start getting “stuck” in our mastermind session.
He’d pick up on it and say, “We’re not writing copy right now. Let’s just talk about what this is. What are they getting when they sign up? We can wordsmith it later.”
Then I’d snap out of copywriting mode and be free to think about whatever it was we were discussing again.
This happened enough that I was finally able to realize what I was doing. I would get stuck on a problem and try hard to find the “right words” only to end up frustrated and stressed out.
I thought if I just tried hard enough I would breakthrough and find some compelling copy to use.
The only problem with that is that if you don’t actually have the information in your own head, then you will keep banging your head against the wall searching for language.
But when we have the humility to admit we don’t know it all and that we’re just guessing we can stop trying to solve research problems with language.
We can stop writing and go back and finish our research. Then the “words will come.”