Writing doesn’t come easily to everyone. But hiring a full-time marketer isn’t always in the budget. If you want to take on any copywriting tasks at your hotel – from the minor, like drafting a monthly newsletter, to the major, like starting a hotel blog – then it can help to understand how the professionals do it.
While it may seem that those who are gifted at writing can craft perfect sentences at the drop of a hat, the reality is rarely like that.
If they tried to get their sentences right on the first go-around, they would never get anything out!
I’m going to teach you how to get the raw material out of your head and down on paper, because that’s all that matters when you’re just starting out. Put all thoughts of editing out of your mind for the moment (I’ll explain how to polish your work in another article).
Follow these steps next time you have to write, and I guarantee you won’t be pulling your hair out by the end of it.
Don’t wait for inspiration to strike
“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London
Ask a professional writer how they find the inspiration to write, and they’ll all tell you the same thing – if you wait until inspiration strikes, you’ll never write a thing.
Set yourself a particular time when you know you will have the freedom to write (with minimal distractions), and stick to that time, no matter what. It will be hard to break through the wall at first, so offer yourself little rewards for reaching your targets. For example if you finish your newsletter in the set time, you’re allowed to buy yourself a cappuccino from your favorite café down the street. This self-training will make you more disciplined and productive.
Find the right environment
“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.” ― Philip José Farmer
I can’t stress this enough – the right environment is key. Some people can concentrate better when they have a bit of background noise, and others need complete silence. Figure out what works best for you.
If you have to take your laptop into the hotel restaurant to get some work done because you like to be surrounded by people, then do that. If you need complete silence, let your co-workers know that they shouldn’t interrupt you for the next hour unless there’s an emergency.
Make yourself comfortable so you don’t have to jump up again until you’re finished – make yourself a cup of tea, ensure your laptop is fully charged, and put your phone on silent.
Don’t worry about what other hotels are doing
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
— Ernest Hemingway
The easiest way to paralyze yourself when writing is to start checking up on what other people are doing. While it can be useful to see how other hotels are structuring their copy, it will also make you more tempted to imitate their style. And hotel copy can start to sound very bland to potential guests when it's all written in the same manner.
You will produce something far more original and authentic if you give in to your creative impulses.
At this early stage I would suggest switching off your Wi-Fi access so you’re forced to write the first thing that comes into your head, without any outside influences. Many writers swear by Freedom, which allows you to block distracting websites (including social media) during a planned session. That way even if you're tempted to check, the site will physically block you from doing so. Afterwards, you can compare what you have written to what others have written, and consider areas that you could improve.
It’s important to be entirely unselfconscious about the initial writing process, which just can’t happen when you’re questioning whether or not your work measures up. I can guarantee that you will always find yourself lacking in some area (don’t worry: it’s a writer’s prerogative to be plagued by self-doubt!)
"It’s important to give yourself permission to write crap. Perfection is the destroyer of art... Art, whether it’s writing or painting or anything else, requires risk."
― Jim C. Hines
Freewriting is used by writers who are suffering from writer’s block. I recommend that you try it next time you have a writing job that you’re dreading.
All you have to do is set yourself a period of time – say 10 minutes – and write absolutely everything that comes into your head, without stopping to think about how your ideas connect, if you’re using the perfect phrasing, or if the content is grammatically correct. Just switch off your brain and give yourself permission to write badly.
If what you’re writing seems ridiculous, it doesn’t matter –go with it and see what comes out. Freewriting is supposed to unlock all of those ideas you have lurking under the surface of your mind.
By the end of it, you might come up with only one or two salvageable sentences, or you might come up with whole paragraphs of usable content. The important thing is that you get yourself into a mindset where you know that it’s okay to let go and be spontaneous. Though you might be writing for a purpose, there’s no reason it can’t be fun!
Use a random prompt generator
"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
― John Steinbeck
If you’ve tried all of those approaches and you’re still stuck on ideas, then this one should do the trick: use a random prompt generator.
There are some great ones out there for content writers, but Huballin is one of the best. Just search for a subject you think you might like to write about – for example if your hotel is located in Byron Bay, you would type ‘Byron Bay, New South Wales’ into the search field. A whole series of content ideas will come up, based on what people are Googling:
From there, select the topics you’re most interested in. The generator will then give you content headings that you can use to get started. You can refine these suggestions by adding more selections in the left sidebar so that they're more tourism centric:
And that’s it! Those are my top 5 tips to help you write for your hotel. Take these ideas on board, and the whole writing process will start to seem far less daunting.
Who knows? You might even enjoy it!