For today’s Copy Tuesday article, I’m challenging myself.
As I sit down to write, I’m pushing up against my deadline — hard.
I often give myself a good 45 minutes to write these things — sometimes a bit longer. And that’s to churn out what usually averages to about 1,000 words. With generally correct grammar (at least to style), minimal errors or misspellings, and dang-near final copy (I don’t have a proofreader for these daily articles).
Today, I have about half that — I’m writing this email in around 20 minutes.
But I’m doing it on purpose.
It’s inspired by an email I got yesterday, from a reader…
“That was the most inspiring thing I’ve read in ages. Damn Roy Furr—you had me shed real tears. Of course I could relate to her fear(s) so it’s as if you were talking to me as well as (Lynn). Thank you…for the inspiration-the drive-the boot to the ass-and even the tears to remind me I am still human after all :)”
If you didn’t read yesterday’s issue of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, you can read it on the site here.
So… What does this raving fan mail have to do with writing fast and to a super-tight deadline?
Here’s why. Yesterday’s lesson was written to a similarly-tight deadline. Maybe not so tight — but close.
Which forced me to come out basically unfiltered. As myself. No pretense. No positioning or posturing. Raw. Human.
The sentences read faster.
The ideas flow quick.
It was all rather rapid-fire — off the cuff.
And as a reader, you find that exciting.
You can feel the flow. It holds your interest. It’s generally easier to read. Even if the ideas are complex, I didn’t have time to express them in a complex way. So you get simple-to-read, simple-to-understand content.
That means it can reach down in past the conscious brain, and impact you on an emotional level.
Which is exactly what you want your copy to do.
Which is exactly what you want any persuasive writing to do.
This is a huge argument for writing fast — but how do you do it?
Here’s the thing. You can’t write fast until you know exactly what you want to say. You can’t write fast unless you’re 100% comfortable with the material.
When you’re pushing deadlines, you can’t afford to spend 45 minutes surfing Google results pages to throw in one little detail.
For Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, I can write fast because I’m drawing from personal experience. I’m drawing from things I think about every day — that I’ve pondered on for years.
That makes it stupid-simple to write these emails fast.
But what about copy for clients? You’re not working from your own inner store of knowledge, wisdom, experience, and stories.
If you want to capture lightning in a bottle — the magic of fast writing — you have to be ready to write fast.
What does that take? In short — research and planning.
I’ve talked about the pantsers versus plotters divide in fiction writing before. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants — they make it up as they go. Plotters plan out the trajectory of their story, and use that to guide them as they write.
In general, pantsers write slow, but spend little time planning. Plotters plan slow, but write fast.
If you’re writing copy for a client — and you want to write fast — you need to be a plotter.
Spend your time before you ever sit down to write gathering all the research and sources and information you can.
From there, start to fill in an outline, building it around the story you want to tell.
Make it logical — meet the reader at a place that captures their readership, bring them into your story, and carry it through to selling the product or service.
There’s a lot more to it — I’ll be digging in with the small group of copywriters who’re coming to Lincoln, Nebraska next week to attend my workshop.
But if you use this as your basic structure — research, plan, write — you’ll start to write a lot faster copy.
And maybe you don’t do what I do here — you don’t force yourself into some insane time line for getting client work done.
But by planning out the trajectory of your copy, bringing resources to the forefront when needed through outlining, and trying to write fast, you will create copy with momentum.
You’ll create copy that flows.
You’ll create copy that reaches in past the logical filters of your prospect’s mind and reaches them on a deeper, more emotional level.
You’ll write better and sell more.
For client copy, don’t forget to go back and spend some serious time editing.
When you’re getting the hang of it, fast writing will often be tangential — and not as organized as it should be.
You’ll have to learn to cut and restructure without letting go of too much of that lightning you’ve just captured.
You’ll have to double-check for the spelling errors and potentially confusing hiccups that often come with quick writing.
You’ll want to watch out for places where you over-used metaphor, or under-used it.
In short, you’ll want to write fast but edit a bit slower. (I know I’ve heard that many times before, but I’m not going to Google now for the quote because I can’t budget the time.)
But you will write better.
So how did I do with fast-writing this post?
You may get it a couple minutes later than normal. But you probably won’t notice. I actually wrote it in about 18 minutes — and it is coming in right around the 1,000 word mark.
And hopefully, after reading, you’re seeing a little lightning in this bottle — and it will influence you to challenge yourself and write a lot faster.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets