Confessions of a Cheating Copywriter

Mindy McHorse, here to reveal something terribly embarrassing … but true.

The secret? I don’t really think for myself. Never have. I’m all about piggybacking off of others’ great ideas.

And that really kicks into high gear when I’m sitting in a Bootcamp presentation, notepad ready.

Like this morning, when Donna Baier Stein explained how to achieve perfect flow in your persuasive writing. She shared 10 great tips, but the one that really got to me was about losing all feelings of self-consciousness as you write.

Because that’s what we writers do, isn’t it? Too many of us edit as we go. We judge and critique our own writing to the point where few words ever make it to the page.

Another great tip of hers was to lose awareness of physical needs. Think about it — how many times have you been stuck on a writing project, so you convinced yourself a snack or a walk or a bathroom break would fix everything?

I’ve been there. Sometimes it’s necessary, especially if you’ve been writing for an hour or more.

But most of the time? You’re better off staying in your seat and keeping focus.

This is what I love about Bootcamp. When you’re here, things you normally wouldn’t have thought about are thrust in your lap. And sometimes, certainly not always, I can take someone else’s good idea and turn it into my own phenomenal headline or project idea.

At past Bootcamps, I’ve listened to tactics used by legendary copywriters that accelerated their careers in smart and efficient ways. Then I reached out to marketers I knew and did the same.

It's A-Okay to piggyback off of someone else’s great achievements. You don't have to reinvent the wheel.

If you’re here at Bootcamp right now and you have even an inkling of an idea to pursue based on something you heard in a presentation or during one of the social events, ACT on it.

If you’re not here, get Bootcamp on Demand. You’ll still benefit from soaking up the great ideas of others and connecting with the marketers offering Spec assignments.

Either way, here’s a tip: Don’t just take notes based on what the speaker says or what’s been printed on their slides. This applies whether you’re here right now at Bootcamp, whether you listen to the presentations via Bootcamp on Demand, or whether you dial in to a teleconference or webinar somewhere down the road.

Instead of scribbling notes verbatim, listen to your own voice. What kernels of ideas are you sensing? What big brainstorm is about to kick off? When you soak up what the speakers share, what wheels start churning in your mind? (Share some of those ideas here — I’d love to hear them!)

Remember, most every AWAI event, teleconference, and webinar can be accessed later, so you’re not missing anything if you don’t take hardcore notes. Instead, focus on you and your own great ideas, inspirational musings, dream sparks, etc.

Don’t rewrite the book.

Don’t over-analyze or over-think things.

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: October 24, 2013

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