Is Your House Built on Sand or Stone?

Have you ever seen the HGTV show "Holmes on Homes"?

It's a great show where Mike Holmes, a renovation expert, rescues homeowners from home construction disasters.

It's amazing to see the shoddy workmanship on so many houses.

There are a lot of builders out there who cut corners, don't use quality materials, don't take the time to do a job right, or use a band-aid approach to repair work.

It often leaves the homeowners in a dangerous situation or out a ton of money.

Mike Holmes believes in doing a job right the first time. He shows how the botched job should have been completed, fixes the project thoroughly, and educates the owners on future decisions.

It's all about building it right the first time.

So what does this have to do with your writing career?


I believe that if you build your writing career right the first time, you'll set yourself up for a lifetime of success.

The key is a solid foundation.

Now, the fact that you're an AWAI member tells me that you're serious about building a solid writing career. The Accelerated Program is the gold standard when it comes to learning how to write persuasively. And persuasive writing is the foundation on which all other forms of writing are built.

Now, just like a builder could probably throw up a house in 30 days if he had to, you could probably whip through the Accelerated Program in 30 days, too. You could certainly breeze through the course, hang out your shingle as a freelance writer, and wait for the millions to start pouring in.

There are builders who like to take the easy path (watch "Holmes on Homes" and you'll see what I mean), and there are writers who do the same.

Not a wise choice.

You could make money doing it that way, but eventually it would catch up with you.

Michael Masterson talks about the fact that it takes about 1,000 hours of practice to become proficient at something, and 10,000 hours to master it.

So if you want to build a firm foundation on solid ground, here's some friendly advice:

  • Take your time to really learn this craft of copywriting. Don't rush through, or skip, the exercises and assignments. Each lesson builds upon the previous ones.
  • Go beyond the minimum required. Whether you're completing the Accelerated Program or already working for clients, deliver more than what's expected (my HGTV buddy, Mike, is a great example of this principle).
  • Practice, practice, practice! If it takes 1,000 hours to get proficient at something, consider setting a goal a year out or so to invest those 1,000 hours (about 20 hours a week, which is challenging but doable if you have a full-time job).
  • Be willing to learn from others and take advice. Listen to suggestions. Just like a builder should apprentice with a master builder, copywriters should learn from those who have gone before them. If at all possible, find a group who can provide you peer feedback or a teacher who can guide you.

While it does take time to learn the art of persuasive writing, there is a way to accelerate the process. For two approaches to building that solid foundation, read my article "Rugged Individualism or Group Support?".

Remember … you're building skills for a lifetime.

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Published: May 3, 2011

2 Responses to “Is Your House Built on Sand or Stone?”

  1. Steve,

    Thank you for writing this article.

    Instead of going it alone, it is necessary to find a teacher.

    It also helps if you can find a kindred spirit to bound ideas off.

    Maybe you can partner with that person or persons, identify problems and figure out solutions. That can help you and them: two or three minds are better than one.

    I think copywriters need to reach out to other working professionals for help.

    People who are smarter or/and more experienced than you can further your career. Cheers.

    Archan MehtaMay 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

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