7 More Tips for Writing Compelling Copy
Part one of this series on how to write more persuasive copy was all about you, the writer.
Finding your authentic voice, feeding your mind, and relaxing your body… all so helpful to the creative process.
Now this post is more about the messy and spiritual aspect of the writing process.
It involves working with a Higher Power, or what Elizabeth Gilbert calls “your creative genius.”
So let’s dive right in and see how you can elevate your creativity by following these simple tips.
1. Consult your inner voice through prayer and meditation. Praying is asking God for guidance, while meditating or sitting in silence is listening for the answer. When you open up to the idea that there is a higher power guiding you, you feel less burdened by the responsibility of having to pull it off on your own. The next time you sit down to write, pray and ask for help. Be still and listen for inspiration from within.
2. What does your ad want to say? In his book Hey Whipple, Squeeze This!, advertising man Luke Sullivan suggests we ask ourselves, “What does the ad want to say?” This question implies that there’s you, the writer, and then there’s the ad you're creating, which has a life of its own. Listen to what it has to say to you, you might be surprised.
3. Forgive shitty first drafts. In Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott’s classic on writing, she advises we consciously plunk down shitty first drafts. Let it be messy; just get it down on paper. This practice combats overwhelm, perfectionism, and procrastination. (The title for her book came from a story where her brother procrastinated on a school assignment about birds for months. On the night before the due date, their father advised him to “Just do it methodologically, bird by bird.”)
4. Write first, edit later. Talking of embracing shitty first drafts… Perfectionism is a biggie for me, and I often end up revising something when I’m still in the middle of writing it. Big mistake. Why? It gets me out of the flow. Don’t edit while you’re in the middle of writing. It can drive you crazy. Write that shitty first draft (even if your spellchecker is underlining every fifth word in red), then read through it and edit the hell out of it.
5. Think before you write. Map out your story, ad, or article in your mind first. Imagine you’re telling it to a friend. How would you explain it to them? What would you say first, and what comes next? Once you have the plan down in your mind, map it out on paper, then start writing. This will make you feel organized, structured, and never run out of ideas.
6. Allow bad ideas. Here’s another one for self-compassion: have patience and allow for bad ideas in the process. A great idea (like a stroke of genius) is often buried underneath hundreds of shitty ones. If you don’t allow those, you might never get through to the great ones. Don’t censor yourself is what I’m saying. Put it all on paper, and then pan for the gold.
7. Read it out loud. Grammarly and other spellcheckers are great but do not rely on technology alone. You should always read your writing out loud when finalizing your copy. This way, you will immediately spot if something sounds weird, there are typos, or any long-winded sentences. (Most of your sentences should be short and succinct, but not always. I’ll speak more about that in another post…)