7 keys to writing faster and Making Lots of Moolah!
In the last issue — you got 2 of the keys I promised:
Key #1: Convince yourself: Know what the heck you’re talking about — and…
Key #2: Less is MORE: Work with a few clients — and really get to know their business.
Do those two things — and I promise you’ll see a positive result in your bottom line.
But now — it’s time to roll up your sleeves — and get to work! So let’s start with overcoming the “blank page blues” and “writer’s block”. After 20 years of writing copy — I STILL follow these tips…
Key #3: Stop staring at the blank screen! If ideas aren’t coming to you, get up and do something else. Give yourself permission to goof off.
When I’m stuck, I take a break to play with my grandsons… tackle a new recipe in my favorite crock-pot cookbook … or take a nap. Sounds contrary to SPEEDwriting, doesn’t it? Well it’s not. Here’s why …
Before I enjoy these diversions, I tell myself, “Ok, Carline, you can take a break, but you need to come up with a headline, or lead, or whatever.” Then I get up from my computer.
What I’ve done is given my subconscious a direct order to start working. While I’m “goofing off,” my subconscious is free to be as creative as possible.
Many times I’ve burned a meal because right in the middle of cooking, an idea pops in my head. I start writing it down and then I’m back at my computer — raring to go!
Don’t believe me? Then read the book, “Psycho-cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz. You’ll discover how to unleash the power of the subconscious mind. Then, try it for yourself. I promise — it’ll work for you!
Key #4: Never start with a blank screen! You get writer’s block ‘cuz you don’t know what to say. Plus that blank page is just plain ole scary! But you DO know what to say. At least you DO know what you have to say. You’ve got to put in the basic components of every direct mail piece! So here’s how to quickly fill up the blank page.
You know you’ll need an order form, guarantee, testimonials and other static elements — so go ahead and cut and paste some standard ones into your document.
You know you need a headline. So write the words, “Big Freakin’ Headline Goes Here!” Hey, look, you’ve already got at least three pages of copy — and you haven’t even written a word yet!
Don’t worry, you’ll update all the standard info to better fit your project later. And you’ll tweak your filler headline with stronger benefit-oriented copy — but at least for now, you’ve got something!
Key #5: Take rest breaks: Tell yourself you’re only going to write for 15 minutes and then you’ll take a break. That’s easy right? What you’re doing is called “baby steps” — taking a huge project and breaking it down into easy-to-handle segments.
After 15 minutes, you can take a break. But most likely, you’ll find you’re writing for 30 … 45 … even an hour or more!
Key #6: Don’t reinvent the wheel: Ask clients if they have standard elements of a package they prefer to use.
For example, one of my clients uses a standard order form for all his promotions. Why spend time writing a new order form when it’s going to get replaced by the standard one?
Instead, focus your time on writing a strong headline for the order form and killer copy for the positive acceptance statement (the “YES! I want to … section of the order form).
Key #7: Minimize distractions: When you’re in heavy-duty writing mode, keep your momentum by eliminating distractions.
In the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” Will Smith’s character found out he could save 8 minutes a day just by pushing the hang-up button instead of physically hanging up the phone after every sales call. And he saved even more time by not drinking water so he wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom.
What he did was maximize productivity by minimizing distractions. You can too. (Although I do value — and need my pee breaks.)
Put your phone on mute while you’re working. Contact your client to request any additional info by e-mail only…
… let your neighbors know you really do have a job and not to “pop in” …
… and post a sign on your door for your kids that says, “WARNING: DON’T BOTHER ME UNLESS YOU’RE BLEEDING FROM YOUR EYE!”
In other words, do whatever you need to protect your writing time!
I know. I know. I promised you 7 keys to speedwriting…
And I hope these are helpful to you. But a good copywriter always delivers more than promised. So here’s probably the real key to my success …
Key #8: Love what you do and “niche your passion.” When I first started copywriting, I took whatever job I could get. I needed the money and the experience. But I didn’t achieve real success until I focused on just one area and made myself an expert.
I love the alternative health field and I love writing about nutritional supplements. So now, 95% of my projects are in the nutritional health field.
I turn down projects that push me too far away from my niche. That way, I stay focused on the pulse of my market … and write faster, more profitable copy! However, I did recently try out newspaper space ad writing. I’m still writing for health products — but my market is much broader — including non-health buyers.
It’s a tighter form of writing — so that’s teaching me to be very precise with my word choices. I like it. It’s different — and it’s much FASTER than my 24 page magalog projects — yet equally lucrative.
And I count my blessings!
One time, I sent an email to my clients saying I would be out of the office for a week. That’s it. No explanations. No request for “time off” or wondering if I had enough sick leave to cover me. Just said I wasn’t working that week.
What they didn’t know was that I was I taking the week off to take care of Mama Da, my 99-year old grandmother. My mom needed a break as a full-time caregiver. Mom went to Florida for vacation and I volunteered to move into her house and provide the necessary care for Mama Da. I’m so thankful for that week I spent with my grandmother because she passed away shortly after that.
Sure, I could’ve juggled my schedule to work and care for Mama Da — but that uninterrupted one-on-one time is now one of my most cherished memories.
Copywriting is the only job I’ve ever had in my entire life where I have that much freedom — and can still make a pretty darn good income. Talk about a blessing!
Until next time,
Million-Dollar Copywriter & Consultant