The biggest mistake most new – and experienced – writers make…
Ok, so let’s say you got an assignment to write a promotion for a nutritional product. You turn on your computer, open up your WORD doc and click on the NEW page icon to get started. Instantly, a fresh, BLANK screen pops up.
Suddenly, you stare at that screen like a deer in headlights. Your mind goes blank… your heart rate speeds up… and you start hyperventilating.
The words just ain’t coming and the negative tapes start playing in your mind, “you’re a fraud… a fake… you’ve bitten off more than you can chew… and you’re about to get busted!”
Here’s how you clobber the blank page blues…
Never start with a blank screen! Try this instead:
When you turn on the computer, DON’T click the new document icon! Instead, open up a file that contains a project you’ve already worked on.
If you don’t have an old project, then open up ANY document that already has words in it!
Then RENAME the file!
You’re no longer looking at a blank screen!
Now, if you’re working on a nutritional product, you know you’re going to need some standard elements for your package. After all, EVERY promotion needs an order form and a guarantee, right?
So, cut and paste an existing order form and guarantee from a previous project. Don’t worry, you’ll change the copy to make it more appropriate for the new client later. Hmm…what else?
Well, every promotion needs a headline, right?
So, on the top of the page, write in 24 pt type: “Big, Freakin’ Headline Goes Here!”
Now, delete the old copy that was on the file — and guess what? You’ve still got about 3 pages of text and you haven’t written a single word of NEW copy! But the best part is — you’ve beaten the blank page blues! But don’t stop there…
…let’s get some butter — ’cause YOU’RE ON A ROLL…
Ok, now, you know every good package needs strong testimonials. So as you go through your research kit, find some interesting testimonials. Create a section in your copy that says “[Sidebar #? Testimonials]” and park those strong testimonials right there.
Don’t worry about tweaking the testimonials or writing headlines for them yet. You’re just adding guts to your soon-to-be kick-butt promo!
What else? Hmmm…special reports or premiums are also MUST HAVES in your promo!
Who cares if you don’t know what those reports are going to be about yet. You know you need ’em so make a spot for them in your copy. Say something like, “[Premium #1: this is my lead premium. Needs to tie in with my theme]. Make notations for the other 2…5…or 7 premiums you plan to write. But wait a minute…
Don’t you dare forget about the early bird premium! That’s going to make your prospect ACT NOW! Don’t worry if it’s going to be a “Call within 7 or 10 days” — you’ll figure that out later — just make some room for that important fast response element right now!
You gotta be kidding me! Have you really “written” about 7 pages of copy already? You ROCK!
Keep this up and pretty soon, you’re going to have TOO MUCH copy — and you’ll need to edit it. That’s ok — editing is WAY easier than creating from scratch!
Do you get my point?
The best way to avoid the blank screen blues — is to NEVER start with a blank screen! Pure genius, right? But, as the saying goes, “wait… there’s MORE”…
Here are a few more tips that can help keep your creative juices and words flowing:
It’s not writer’s block — it’s a research deficiency! Most writers say they have writer’s block when the truth is, they haven’t done enough research to really understand their product and market.
Don’t you DARE write a single word until you have something to say!
Do your research — or hire a good researcher! Become an expert on the product. Many times, I become so knowledgeable about the product, I actually create the names for the new products!
Talk to the doctor or authority figure for the product. Don’t leave any stone unturned!
Don’t think linear! It amazes me when a writer tells me he can’t write the copy because he’s stuck on the headline. My reply, “MOVE ON, Dude!”
Copywriting isn’t linear. If you’re stuck in one area — go on to another spot!
For example, if the testimonials are really interesting and they excite you — start your package by writing the headlines for your testimonials! You’d be surprised how many times I uncover a theme or the main headlines just from reading the testimonials!
When you have nothing to say — STOP writing! Give yourself permission to take a break — or a nap!
Do something that uses the analytical side of your brain so you give your creative side a break. Pull out a recipe book and make a new dish. Pay your bills.
I used to take my 99-year old grandmother to Wal-Mart and watch her shop for the best value for her money! She was such a penny pincher — and it was so amusing to watch her choose the best brand of toilet paper — for the cheapest price — to buy today!
The bottom line is to get away from the computer and do something else. Here’s what I say to myself before my break:
“Ok, Carline, you can stop now, but you need to think of a kick-butt headline while you’re shopping with Mama Da”.
Most of the time, I get an idea or an inspiration when I’m NOT focusing on the problem!
Try these tips — and I guarantee you too will clobber the blank page blues — and write kick-butt copy in record time!
Yours for stellar results,
Million-Dollar Copywriter & Consultant
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