Sooooo many photographers struggle with writing. We decide to become photographers, look forward to taking lots of pictures and then suddenly find ourselves having to write almost as much as (if not more than!) we take photos!
Whether it’s writing for our websites, social media, brochures, blog posts, emails – the need to create content rears its head a LOT! It can feel quite overwhelming, not to mention incredibly time-consuming.
Personally I find that even though I do enjoy writing, I often get ‘stage fright’ sitting at the computer! The act of typing can be quite inhibiting and there have been so many times I’ve just sat there, staring at the screen, either not typing anything or only managing to squeeze out the odd awkward phrase before deleting it all and starting again. Sometimes it’s because I’m not feeling particular inspired and my ideas have run dry, sometimes it’s because I’m tired or distracted, and sometimes I’m just sick of sitting at the computer. As well as being frustrating, trying and failing to write productively can also eat away a lot of my day.
If you ever find yourself in this position, I have a nifty little hack that might help you! I often recommend freewriting (I have an article all about how to do that here) but recently discovered the joys of dictation as an equally, if not more, helpful way to kickstart and fast-track content creation. By speaking into an app on your phone that automatically transcribes your words into text, you can create loads of really great content so much quicker and easier than if you sit down with a keyboard or pen.
The principle underpinning this is that it’s usually a lot easier to talk than it is to write! You might struggle to write your ‘About Me’ page, but if you met someone in the street and they asked you about your life and what you enjoy, you’d probably be able to answer quite easily! You might struggle to write a blog post explaining exactly why you love to do the type of photography you do, but if you were being interviewed and someone asked you to explain what you love about being a photographer, you’d probably have loads to say.
Similarly, it’s often a lot easier to think clearly and generate ideas when you’re not staring at a screen. Just looking at a computer screen and its keyboard is enough to make even the most creative person’s inspiration disappear. But how many times have you come up with great ideas and had little lightbulb moments when you’re in the shower, or walking the dog? It’s often at these times when we feel more relaxed that our ideas flow.
So, all you have to do is step away from your computer and take your phone with you – go for a walk, sit on the couch, laze in the garden, whatever works best for you and feels most relaxing. You could even do it when you’re out and about or occupied with other things that don’t take much brainpower, such as cooking dinner or doing the school run (the kid-free legs!)
Then, just imagine that someone’s verbally asked you to tell them all about XYZ (whatever it is you’re needing to write about)….. Your deeper purpose, why you do what you do… Your approach to family shoots…. What you love most about photographing weddings… Things your clients might often feel worried about before a shoot… Top tips for feeling relaxed on a shoot… All about you (for your About Me page)… Your favourite locations for engagement shoots and why…
Then, press ‘record’ in whatever app you’ve chosen to use for dictation (some examples below) and waffle away! You don’t need to worry about saying irrelevant things or going off topic, or if your grammar isn’t correct, because the app will transcribe it all and you can easily edit, cut down, tweak, correct and reorganise all this afterwards. But it’s soooo much easier to edit an existing piece of writing than it is to write something from scratch. The added bonus is that your writing is also likely to sound a lot more natural and have a lot more of your own tone and personality infused into it, because you genuinely will be writing like you talk!
Some apps you can use for dictating and transcribing are:
There are heaps more apps you can use – just Google ‘dictation transcription’ for your phone and see what comes up. You may also have existing apps on your phone that you’re already using which have this feature included – just search for a microphone sign – I’d been using Notes for many months before realising the little icon was there at all!
I hope this helps – have you tried dictating content before and what did it help you to create?
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