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3 Positive Actions to Schedule Right Now for Your Success

A couple of weeks ago, I told you how much I disliked New Year’s resolutions.

I firmly believe they’re counterproductive. For starters, just by calling them “New Year’s resolutions,” you’re setting up the idea there’s something to do at the beginning of the year. Well, what about the rest of the year, after the newness of New Year’s resolutions has faded?

Instead of making resolutions at the start of the year, what you need to do is establish a plan to guarantee your success for the entire year. This will involve setting up SMART goals. If you haven’t already read about SMART goals, see your December 9 and 16, 2013, issues of The Golden Thread.

But do it later … after you’ve read what I have to tell you today. Because today I want to tell you about three positive actions to take throughout the entire year that will help build your success.

I call this my “RWJ Formula.”

Set aside time every day for “R” … Reading

As an AWAI member, I know you’re probably doing a lot of reading of the program materials. This is as it should be. But to be really successful in copywriting, you need to vary that reading. Here’s how I do it …

  1. Schedule two books by classic copywriters to read by the end of the year. Notice I said “schedule.” Don’t simply decide what books you’re going to read. Schedule when you’ll start reading and when you’ll complete these books using specific dates. Make that schedule today.

    What books do I recommend?

    Start with the all-time classic: Eugene Schwartz’s Breakthrough Advertising. Let me warn you, this book can be expensive. If you buy it through Amazon, you could pay $100 or more. Before you do that though, do an Internet search on the title to find the best deal possible. I found an electronic version that I downloaded for my Kindle for a very small amount of money. (It’s available in other formats, as well.)

    But even if you have to pay $100, it’s worth it. Not just because it’s a classic. Schwartz’s ideas continue to fuel today’s most successful copywriters.

    And if you haven’t already read it, you must read Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy. Much of Ogilvy’s success happened in print advertising 40 years ago. But the principles he talks about still apply to today’s direct-response market.

  2. Schedule at least three books by modern master copywriters and marketers to read this year. You don’t have to go any further than AWAI.. I highly recommend Great Leads by Mark Ford (writing under his former pen name, Michael Masterson) and John Forde. If you do read this book, read it after you’ve read Breakthrough Advertising. It puts that classic into modern perspective.
  3. Finally, schedule at least three books not about copywriting to read by the end of the year. What you decide to read will depend on your chosen niche and your general interests. But it’s very easy to get so involved with learning everything you can about copywriting that you forget to broaden your general knowledge base.

Set aside time every day for “W” … Writing

It doesn’t matter how much you read, you won’t become a good writer if you don’t write. Schedule at least 15 minutes every day to write something.

It can be a spec assignment from Bootcamp … a Circle of Success spec assignment if you’re a member … a letter to the editor of your local newspaper … anything that allows you to practice what you’re learning in your chosen AWAI program.

And don’t forget that part of that writing should be copying classic promotions longhand from your AWAI Hall of Fame book. Or copying any successful promotion you can get your hands on. I told you last week how this simple activity builds up “muscle memory” that helps you become a better copywriter.

And now for the “J” …

You’ll hear the following advice a great deal from Joshua Boswell … from Katie Yeakle … from other successful copywriters … and from me.

While your success as a copywriter depends on many factors, one of the most important is your attitude. A huge first step in building your confidence as a copywriter is joining with other writers like you.

This is where the “J” comes in … it stands for “Join.” If you’re a professional copywriter, you should be associating with other professional copywriters. Where can you find such a group?

AWAI’s Professional Writers’ Alliance (PWA).

PWA is the first-ever professional organization geared specifically and exclusively to writers in the direct-response industry.

As a professional, you need to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in copywriting right now. Joining the PWA is the best way for you to do just that.

The PWA opens the door to this entire industry. And it provides the resources, knowledge, and news you need to stay connected as a professional.

When you’re a member of the PWA, you have the cachet of credibility that comes with membership in a professional organization. (Examples from my own life: When I worked as an organic geochemist, I belonged to the American Chemical Society. As a teacher, I belonged to the National Education Association.)

But the PWA gives you much more than credibility. You’ll also enjoy access to benefits such as …

  • Experts in the profession who’ll share their experience and secrets to their success …
  • Preferential front-of-the-line access to writing assignments (remember the “W” part of my formula?) …
  • A tutorial library with tools and resources such as a swipe file full of excellent writing samples to study (“R” and “W”) …
  • A member forum, where you can ask questions of experts and peers and get real-time answers …
  • And, as a direct by-product of the forum … connection to the camaraderie, encouragement, and support of an active community of other writers.

I hope you’ll join me in the PWA right now. It’ll be time, effort, and money well-spent.

For more information on the PWA click here. And please, don’t “resolve” to do it soon. To heck with resolutions. Do it now!

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: January 20, 2014

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