Copywriters – Let’s Get Going!

After recovering from the very pleasant – and exciting – shock of being chosen as one of the five finalists for the Great AWAI Blog-Off Competition, I went straight to my social networks to share my good news.

An aside: new copywriters – have you found out yet how powerful online social networking can be, and how many ways there are to use social networks in your life? I actually have an eBook telling me that there are at least 100 ways to use Twitter – though I admit I haven’t tried all of them yet. We’ll be talking about Social Networking here on our blog – perhaps not a hundred ways though.

But back to my point …

This was exciting!

This was an honor!

And it was certainly unexpected!

And all of a sudden it was serious. I had fun writing my first entry and, as I tend to do at this juncture, I took lots of time to write, edit, and re-write – over and over again; way more time than one would have available in an active full-time copywriting life. I also know, and have experienced in my former professional life, that you might never be satisfied and rarely, if ever, create the perfect piece of writing. Of necessity, your re-writes and edits must be in proportion to the time you have available.

Now here was my first real test – I had to take immediate A-C-T-I-O-N, as I had suggested in my first blog. This time I only had three days to write my next post – while also trying to be on vacation! Help! Fortunately, I’d planned my R & R to be of the “Reading & [W]riting” kind, but I certainly didn’t think I’d be writing another blog post for AWAI quite so soon. However, the weather is cooperating by being damp and drizzly here in the mountains of British Columbia, so walking is about the only extra activity on the agenda; it is allowing me to do what I love, and not to feel as if I should be spending a lot of time outside in the sunshine.

Fortunately, I’ve brought along the tools of my profession: my laptop, access to the internet, notepads, pencils (preferred), pens, and some saved articles and eBooks to read. At the last moment, however, I decided to minimize and leave behind my printer. How I wish I hadn’t.

Yipes! I’d have to change my practice; usually I write … print … edit, write … print … edit, several times (albeit recycling on the backs of previously-used sheets). Using that process here means that I take my memory stick to a local internet café and pay $1 per sheet of printed copy – neither very practical nor very thrifty. Also, the place closes at 6:00 p.m. and my habit is to write late into the night. (By the way, the ongoing debate about the best time of day to write and whether one is constitutionally an “owl” or a “lark” is for another blog post. But owls of the world rest easy – I’ve found a few articles in our favor!)

OK. Well – here we go.

This week I have acted upon the wisdom of AWAI’s Monday Morning Jump Start mentor, Joshua Boswell. I listened to Joshua’s recording on Monday, and it was almost as if he were speaking only to me; one of our Action Items was to unsubscribe from 90.9% of the newsletters that we receive, and another was to decide what we want to do, focus on that one area, and start.

Joshua was addressing the very questions that I had posed in my first blog: how do we decide on our focus? How do we stop the unending researching and collecting? It seems that I’m not alone in my “paralysis of analysis” and, from his words, my conversations, and my other reading, I know that I’m not.

Joshua answered my questions and, as he spoke, his ideas corresponded with those of a number of other people whom I have read; Michael Masterson is one example. Michael suggests that you use the power of ONE; in other words, take only one powerful idea from each article, make it the one that you can hang onto – and then implement it. Joshua suggests that you put your faith and trust in one area, one focus, and follow that one path – step by step. The other idea that jumped out at me was about the “noise” of the internet – and, boy, how that phrase resonated for me – the internet is LOUD! The advice to quiet it down was a gift to me that day.

So Joshua unintentionally provided the expert’s input for today’s blog, and here are his answers to last week’s questions:

  • When do we stop collecting?

    • Now. Unsubscribe from 90.9% of the newsletters that arrive into our inbox. Choose only those that are the most directly and immediately useful to us, and quiet that constant internet noise.
  • How do we decide on our focus?

    • Start by making lists: define what we want and how we’ll know when we have it; then define what we know well and what we are passionate about, and make another list – of potential clients. Make a decision, put our faith and trust in that one focus, and get going!

Joshua likes lists, so does one of my favorite business philosophers and motivators, Jim Rohn, and so do I. I’m a list-maker from way back. Lists work, and once again Joshua’s advice fitted my personal approach.

But here’s the point:

  • Joshua, an experienced and successful copywriter, inspired A-C-T-I-O-N,

and

  • My finalist’s position in the Blog-Off motivated A-C-T-I-O-N.

And here are today’s messages:

  • Used well and appropriately, Social Networking is one of the more powerful strategies now being used for internet marketing. Think how you could benefit your clients when you help them to understand this phenomenon and add it to their marketing arsenal.
  • Turn down the noise of the internet – use your trigger finger (see my last blog) to unsubscribe from all of those newsletters that are inessential for this stage of your copywriting development.
  • Believe in yourself; put your faith and trust in one niche, focus, and start.

For my next blog post, I plan to answer MBQs (most burning questions) from brand new copywriters.

Please, new copywriters, post your MBQ below, and ask me about writing for the web, about blogs, about social networking, or about any other related copywriting issue that keeps you awake at night. We’ll use the words of the experts and address those questions in future blogs.

That’s why we are here – to talk together and to have a learning dialogue that meets your needs and helps you to reach your goals and dreams in the copywriting world.

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Published: May 13, 2009

4 Responses to “Copywriters – Let’s Get Going!”

  1. This is too funny!

    I just recommended that another blogger use the Power of One to clarify his writing and then what do I find here? The Power of One. lol!

    I promise that was not intentional!

    Back to your post.

    Your expansion on Josh's idea to eliminate the noise is very timely.

    I'm subscribed to many copywriting and internet marketing email newsletters. I've realized that I routinely get around 30 to 50 emails a day!

    I'm not reading all those emails so why even stay subscribed? This is even more important for me since clutter tends to induce procrastination.

    I got a lot out of this post. Thanks.

    Bernardo

    BernardoMay 13, 2009 at 10:47 am

  2. I love this! We all spend so much time second guessing ourselves that we end up with paralysis - keeping the writing juices flowing by trusting your instincts and focusing is very timely advice.

    SuzanneMay 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm

  3. Indeed, this resonates, and I have also been following Josh Boswell's MMJS - and trying to do the exercises! The noise in my life is deafening, but over everything else is the need to pay bills NOW!

    So... my MBQ is: with only a bare start on the copywriting course, how do I do the minimum amount that I think is required to launch a copywriting career - samples, a marketing piece, a minimalist website - and get myself out there to find work when I have a severe need to pay my bills this week?

    Ed in MinnesotaMay 14, 2009 at 8:36 am

  4. Ann... Again I enjoy your perspective. I thought Josh's admonition to stop all the gathering and searching and start doing (except for MMJ) is a key. Thanks for blogging abou that.

    John WiggillMay 21, 2009 at 9:53 am


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