Why Doubts Can Help You Succeed

Doubt can make you a better copywriter.

Or it can stop you dead in your quest for success.

It all depends what type of doubt you let control you. If you’re writing a promotion, then a strong measure of skepticism (one form of doubt) will help you do better research. It will make you dig deeper into claims.

Doubt can also ensure that you’ve written the best possible copy. A Master Copywriter always has doubts about the strength of his writing. “Is this the most important benefit?” “Can I write the section tighter?” “Is this the very best copy I can deliver?" Doubt makes us review and rewrite.

But there’s another kind of doubt that can paralyze you. The best way I know to express this kind of doubt is to let a Circle of Success member do it for me.

She emailed me about her doubts …

“Can you help out a newbie who can pretty much talk herself out of anything? I need to know is this doable? Is this learnable? As you can see, doubt has crept in where enthusiasm and motivation once was. I guess what I really want to know is can someone with no background in writing, or sales for that matter, conquer copywriting and be successful?”

If you have doubts like my COS friend here …

You are not alone …

Anytime you embark on a venture as life-expanding as the one you’ve chosen, self-doubt is normal. But it doesn’t have to freeze you in place. It doesn’t have to keep you from realizing your dream.

First off, let me tell you this. I’m tremendously proud of you for taking this major step in your life. I’m sincere. You show remarkable courage, determination, and passion by doing this.

But the pride I feel — and the sense of accomplishment you may feel for taking this step — must be put into perspective. Many AWAI members feel they are expected to make huge changes in their lives … and do it really fast.

Nobody expects this of you. This type of change has to come at a pace that works for you.

If you approach your new career in a reasonable, systematic way, you will make progress and you will be able to achieve the success you desire.

But only under one condition: You do not allow your doubts and misgivings about your ability to achieve your dream to take control.

You can get there
if you know where you’re going …

The best way to do this is to draw a map, so to speak. What you want to do, regardless of where you are in your copywriting career, is to start with where you are now and map out where to get to and when (the ‘when’ is very important) you want to be there.

Here’s a good ‘for instance.’ Let’s say you’ve just started the Accelerated Program. It has 13 installments. To me, that number suggests you might want to allocate one installment a month for study. That means you have 13 months — a little over a year — to complete it.

Now of course, some of the installments will take less than a month to complete. Great! You’re ahead of schedule.

Some installments may take a bit longer. No problem. If you keep to your schedule, it will work itself out.

The key is to keep to your schedule. And, saying “I’m going to do one installment a month” isn’t enough. You have to be more specific.

Schedule times every week to work on the program. If it’s practical in your life, make it the same days and times. (I strongly suggest you do this.) Since there are approximately four weeks in every month, you’ve allocated enough time every week to work on one fourth of each installment.

One fourth. That’s not so big or overwhelming. You can do this!

I saved the most important part for last …

You must write your schedule down. Do your draft versions on scratch paper. When you have the final version, write it on a large piece of paper — something like 2' by 3' works well. Take this large version and hang it on a wall near your work area. So what if it doesn’t match your décor. Your success is so much more important than that.

Every week when you complete your scheduled work, take a large marker and cross it off your schedule. The big one hanging near your computer. The one you can see every day. The one that maps your weekly progress toward your goal.

Completing the Accelerated Program may seem overwhelming when you look at it from the starting point and look all the way toward the end. But when you break it down into these small, weekly steps, it’s much easier to keep yourself moving forward.

Stick with this schedule and you’ll work your way through the Accelerated Program — or any of the AWAI programs — in the time you set out. Major success! Doubts quashed.

If lack of experience bothers you …

I started copywriting about 15 years ago after first majoring in biochemistry and then deciding my career was going to be teaching severely disabled children. (Which I did for 25 wonderful years.) Not much preparation for copywriting there.

It took effort and a systematic, scheduled approach. But here I am, doing what I love. And I know if I can make it, so can you … IF you give yourself the chance.

Good luck. And remember to let doubts help you write better copy … but to never let them stall you from becoming a successful copywriter.

Until next week, keep writing!

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: July 1, 2013

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