The copywriter’s dirty little secret

Does this sound familiar?

You sit down, wheel your chair towards the desk, and turn on your computer. 

You open Word, stare at the screen, and scroll up and down the page.

Maybe you have a quick look at your emails… 

… and return to the document half an hour later.

Then you tell yourself you must start writing.

You just can’t get any words out.

When you finally do start writing, you keep thinking, “this is terrible”.

Then, you start editing and censoring yourself.

You get frustrated.

And the more frustrated you get, the harder it becomes to write anything.

This, of course, is often referred to as writer’s block.

If it’s familiar to you, you’re not alone.

But I have some good news:

It’s simple to overcome, once you know how.

Which brings me to the dirty little secret of every writer on the planet…

The first draft is ALWAYS a massive, stinking pile of dog manure!

In her terrific book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamont referred to this as ‘the shitty first draft’. Probably a nicer description than mine.

And, it’s the secret tonic to writer’s block.

How come?

Well, once you accept that your first draft will be terrible, no matter what you do, it takes the pressure off.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

Just get SOMETHING down.

And then, later, you can edit.

Here’s one more trick:

Write your first draft FAST. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t edit as you go. Try to write as fast as humanly possible without even thinking about it.

Again, it doesn’t matter one iota if your words are worthless.

You only get to decide that during editing.

And just think: even if every word you write is awful… and you need to start from scratch… you’ll still be a hell of a lot further along in the process than if you’d continued staring at a blank screen. 

That’s all for today.

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