You Never Know Who's Watching …

My mother was raised by a very strict Victorian grandmother. She inherited that strictness when it came to parenting my sister and me. One saying my mother raised us with was this …

“Be careful what you do at all times. You never know who’s watching.”

This might not seem to be the best way to develop a strong moral foundation, but it was very effective in keeping my sister and me in line.

And as flimsy as this axiom might be ethically, it’s a good way to approach your copywriting and the training you’re getting from AWAI. Let me give you a good example of what I mean.

Somebody might be watching …

The other day, Katie Yeakle told me about an unexpected success AWAI member Dede Sindelar achieved.

Dede worked on the restaurant exercise in the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. When she was done, she polished it and made it as strong and compelling as she could. Then she took the bold step of showing it to the restaurant owner. The owner liked it so much, he paid Dede for it.

Here’s part of Dede’s story in her own words …

“It turned out that he loved the article and one of his business partners loved it too. So [in addition to being paid], I even got a testimonial out of it. It showed I could put something in writing that I was passionate about, and it could generate an income.”

Sounds like a good bit of luck for Dede, doesn’t it? But it’s not really luck. Over the years, I’ve known a number of AWAI members with similar experiences with their restaurant letter.

Several of these members were treated to free meals for their families. Some others had the same experience as Dede and were paid for the article. One AWAI member was even asked to become the publicist for the restaurant.

Now, admittedly, none of these members earned huge amounts of money with these efforts. But it was the first ‘paid’ copywriting any of them had done. Each of them also had the thrill knowing their writing had impressed a potential client. On top of that, they had their first real addition to their portfolios … and a testimonial.

Everything you write is ‘for real’ …

Which brings me to my mother’s Victorian axiom of “you never know who’s watching.”

Now that you’re an AWAI member, approach every single bit of writing you intend others to read as if it were a paying assignment. You never know if someone who could advance your career will see it.

For example, do you write the newsletter for your church group or service club? It would be easy to look at that as a ‘throw-away effort’ — something to do quickly on a Saturday night. Don’t. You never know who might see it. So make sure it is your very best writing.

Is there an issue you feel so passionately about that you have to write a letter to the editor? Write it is as tight as you can. When you’re finished, let it sit for a while and then review, revise, and rewrite it.

Do you follow certain blogs regularly and feel like commenting on them? Don’t just ‘feel’ like doing it. Do it. But do not simply type your comment into the blog. Do your writing in your word processor. Let your comment sit for a bit. Then polish it to perfection. When it’s exactly where you want it — tight, direct, and free of errors — post it.

How to you make sure your writing is tight …

As an AWAI member, you’re involved in one or more of the many high-quality AWAI programs. Those programs are designed to make you the very best copywriter you can be in whatever niche or area you’re interested.

However, it’s easy to don your copywriting hat when you sit down and work on the program. But then it’s just as easy to remove that hat and put aside the principles of compelling copywriting when you do other writing — like your church newsletter.

This is a mistake.

Whenever you write something others will read, use all the copywriting secrets and strategies you’ve learned. This ensures your writing is as strong and compelling as it can be.

For one thing, it’s excellent practice for when those big paydays arrive. And, as I’ve been saying, those efforts could lead places you didn’t expect.

Before you know it, compelling writing is a habit …

There’s an important result from my mother’s Victorian saying. When you behave properly because “you never know who’s watching,” eventually that behavior becomes ingrained.

The same thing happens when you consciously write using the secrets and principles of copywriting in all your public writing efforts. After a while, those principles become ingrained. They become how you write all the time.

Have you had a serendipitous experience with one of your writing efforts like Dede did? We’d love to hear about it on the forum. Click here to tell us about it.

Until next week, keep writing. (You never know who’s watching!)

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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 »


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Published: June 24, 2013

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