Your brain is zapped.
The words aren’t quite flowing. Your pinnable image design is turning out MEH. The email you’re putting together for your readers is a snoozer.
Where did your creativity run off to?
The bad news? No one feels creative and ready to write ALL THE TIME. (If you do, I want what you’re drinking.)
The good news? Your “swipe file” will save the day! (dun-dun-dunnnnn)
The 10-Minute Touch Up is a quick, weekly challenge to get you DOING, not just reading about doing. Consider it a way to touch up your blogging just 10 minutes at a time!
What on earth is a Swipe File? It’s your stash of amazingness written, designed, or created by others. No, it’s not a collection of ideas you can COPY. It’s a collection of ideas that can help you brainstorm and rev back up your creative awesomeness. You’d be surprised how a word, image, or layout can light a creative spark. Just like a word in someone’s blog post helped name my blog.
Challenge: Create a swipe file to use when your creative juices are no longer juicy. Already have one (or many)? Add five new pieces to it.
Why: We all hit a slump and what better way to get around it than to feed off the creativity of others? It’s like a jolt of coffee that can get you out of your creative funk, powering you up with a brilliant idea, just the right words, and more.
Where to Keep Your Ideas
You probably won’t have one single Swipe File. You’ll have many. I find that I typically create swipe files where I find the items to put in them. If it’s a beautiful pin, I pin it to a secret board or my Designy Goodness board (see below). If it’s an email, I have an email folder aptly named… Swipe File (genius, I know). And sometimes I even throw things into real, tangible manila folder.
Anything else gets clipped into Evernote, an app I can’t live without. Like ever.
So What Sorts of Things Should You Keep in a Swipe File?
Great Pinnable Images
Ever see an image on Pinterest and you go, “WOW!” Yeah, save those. I keep boards of stunning images, whether it’s how the text was overlaid, the image they used, or the way they staged an photo.
While I many of them are secret boards, one of my fave boards is my Designy Goodness board full of everything from package design to handwritten envelopes.
Great Email Copy
Ever get an email that moves you to action? Hooks you into reading the whole darn thing? Makes you say, “Dang, I wish I could write like that”?
Save those and study them. How did they compose the email? Is there a formula or pattern to the way they write emails? Study and learn.
If you offer products or services on your blog, stash them away and study them. How do they start the page? End the page? Where do they place the Buy Now button or testimonials? Other sales or landing pages can help YOU figure out how to create (or improve yours).
Beautifully Designed Sites
I like to pin images of beautiful blogs or websites for design inspiration to a secret board. In the pin description, I note what specific I liked about it like (“effective homepage layout” or “love how they did their popular posts in the sidebar.”)
Amazing Blog Posts
Sometimes just soaking up someone else’s awesomeness pumps you with creative energy. Save those posts for times when you need a little kick in the rear.
Did you have a swipe file (or FILES like me)? Or did you just create your first one? Dish in the comments!
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Hey- I’m Melissa! I’m a mom, side hustler, online course instructor, and brand marketer. I run a 6-figure blog helping online biz owners find their a-ha moments with can-do tips, tutorials, and online courses. I also work at Burt’s Bees as the assistant manager of Brand Engagement (yep, it’s as cool as it sounds). Jump start your biz productivity with my free worksheet!