The Most Important Copywriting Habit of All
“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
– Charles Reade
“When I worked for someone else, I felt like life was just something that happened ,” says Wall of Famer Cassandra Lee.
“But as a freelance graphic designer and copywriter with control over my schedule and income … life doesn’t just happen. I make it happen.”
And boy, is she making it happen. At this year’s Writer’s Retreat, she won a Spec Challenge to complete a promo for AWAI’s Graphic Design Success program.
That’s in addition to her ongoing client work she does day in and day out as a freelancer.
Cassandra attributes her success to her daily routine …
“I spend the first 30 minutes of the day, before the sun comes up, looking at my current projects and deciding what I’ll accomplish that day. After exercise and breakfast, I head back to my home office, ready to work. I spend the next several hours working on projects until lunch. I return to the office after about 30 minutes and read something current about graphic design or copywriting. Then, I set a timer for 30 minutes and just write about anything. When the buzzer sounds, I return to my current projects re-energized!”
Establishing a daily routine is critical to your success as a copywriter. It instills good habits in you that ultimately shape your career as a successful, highly paid copywriter.
This is no secret to top copywriters. Legendary copywriter Gary Bencivenga swears by his daily routine. Every morning, he wakes up before dawn, and goes straight to his computer and writes for the next three hours. This is before he eats, brushes his teeth, or does anything else.
Michael Masterson has a morning routine he follows every day, as well. He starts the day by working out and then writes for three hours straight in his home office.
Clayton Makepeace wakes up at 4 a.m., fires up his computer and gets right to it.
And get this … some of the world’s most successful fiction writers use daily routines to their advantage, too.
For instance, Stephen King has a daily writing routine which he describes in his book, On Writing . Every day (Christmas included) he writes 2,000 words.
So whether you’re an aspiring or working copywriter, you’ve got to set up a daily writing routine if you want to take your success to the next level. And, as you can see from the examples I’ve given here, it doesn’t matter what your routine is. What matters is that you have one and stick to it.
Here are a few pointers to set up your writing routine:
Make it realistic. If you’re working a full-time job and you decide you’re going to write for four hours a day, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, start small. For instance, if you’re very busy, decide that every day, at 9 p.m., you’re going to write for just 15 minutes. Once you’ve done this for three or four weeks, chances are you’ll find it becomes a habit, just like brushing your teeth. In fact, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics , found that it takes just 21 days for the mind to develop and accept a new habit. So, once you’ve made it part of your routine to write for 15 minutes a day, you can gradually increase the amount of writing time in short increments.
Know when you’re most creative. For most “A-level” writers, “prime” writing time is early in the morning, before the sun comes up. It’s quiet, before the hustle and bustle of the world, and the mind is fresh from a night of sleep and still in a creative state. But other copywriters out there may be night owls. If this is you, then decide when your mind is sharpest and ready to write.
Do it daily. This is perhaps the most critical component of your writing routine. You’ve got to be consistent. Writing daily for 10 minutes a day is far more productive than trying to write eight hours once every two weeks. And be disciplined about it. Think of it like exercise. You’ve got to do it, even during those times when you don’t feel like it. This is what will make you successful and start shaping your career and skills.
Put this tried-and-true secret to use, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your skills improve.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »