The Copytist

I write words that sell, influence and persuade.

Category: copywriting

Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist… And How To Overcome It

I was recently talking to some writers. Both fiction, web content, and copywriters.

And a constant issue comes up, over and over again.

Writer’s Block.

And every time it does, there’s a massive list of so-called “solutions”.

Running. Taking a break. Meditation. Exercise. Sleep. Have a drink. The list goes on.

But let’s define what writer’s block really is:

Imagine you’re writing. And then you stop. You don’t know what to do next.

You feel as if there’s nothing more you can think of. You feel bad.

Your regimen might require that you keep on writing for another 30 minutes.

And yet, words don’t come out. Ideas stop flowing.

The core of the issue is simple. You don’t know what to write.

There’s a very easy way to overcome this. And most people don’t do it, because it requires more work.

If you don’t know what to write… learn what to write. It’s really easy.

Ultimately, Writer’s Block Stems From Lack of Planning

Having a plan for what you’re writing is crucial. If you know what you need to write next, writing is becomes a technical task.

This puts the creativity of writing into the planning stage. Being free to write easily and at one’s own pace is unreasonably liberating.

Here’s how to avoid writer’s block from start to finish.

Research.

Literally everything you can. News articles, TV shows, books, movies, hearsay, whatever.

Keep notes of everything.

This phase is the most demanding overall. When I write copy, a simple sales page can take me as much as several weeks.

As a rule of thumb, you want to have at least 10-20 times as much information collected as you think you’ll need.

Outline.

Start with the Big Idea. What’s the text about? What’s the hook?

Break that into parts. Each element of your Big Idea.

What are the elements?
What’s happening between them?
What emotions do you want the reader to experience at each point?

Once you have all of those in place, set them into a coherent order.

Then repeat the process until you have everything planned out from start to finish.

And remember:
“Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal.”
–Igor Stravinsky

You write.

Write, write, write. Don’t stop.

Fill out the outline with emotions.

Fill it out with details.

You already have a detailed plan of what goes where, so write, write, write.

And DO NOT EDIT. If you’re writing without punctuation, capitalizing, whatever, that’s best.

Just put all of your ideas, and all of your elements in place. Make it a story.

Use speech recognition software (Google Voice Typing in Google Docs, or Dragon NaturallySpeaking are best).

This speeds you up.

20-30k words in a day isn’t hard, once you have a plan, and just sit down and start talking.

EDIT RUTHLESSLY

If you’re doing your own editing, this is the part that takes the most effort.

First edit light. Make sure the ideas and concepts are in place. Make sure your events are in proper order.

Then edit harder. Go into paragraph structures. Ensure things flow well.

Then go deeper. Start removing sentences which add nothing to the goal of your text.

Whether it’s plot, educating people, or the sale.

Cut it out.

Then repeat again. Go even deeper. And deeper.

Until every single word moves your reader through.
To the next word. To the next sentence.
To the next chapter. To the next book.

Editing is the part of writing which matters most.

Anyone can write. Few can edit.

For a start in basic editing, use HemingwayApp.

Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist

If you do your research, and plan your writing properly…

You’ll find writing to be effortless, while your artistry can flourish in the worlds and stories you create.

Or as some say, Proper Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss Poor Performance.

And that’s where the core of great writing comes from.

If you’ve found this helpful, or have comments, thoughts, or considerations about how this process can be improved, let me know in the comments.

Sincerely,
Phil Bajsicki

Plan Smart and Write Good Content in 20 Minutes

I started writing professionally, back in 2009. I translated for money, and at the same time wrote web content for companies I knew.

18 years old with no business experience. I translated texts at a near-native level, from Polish to English and reverse.

But that’s irrelevant and doesn’t count as work experience.

Because my writing process sucked

I would take the original, read it rapidly, and then delve into writing a translation, sentence by sentence.

And when I was writing original content, I would just take a load of notes by scouring Google. Then I would cram them into a quasi-readable form, and call it a day.

This resulted in several time-sinks for me.

Editing. Huge time-sink, since I had no idea what I was doing.

Proofreading. Not as bad, but still took me about 15-30 minutes on each piece.

Formatting. Most of what I was writing at the time was printables. Thank God we live in the digital era.

And the biggest culprit… actually typing.

You too can save time on writing

Nowadays I use a four-step process, which addresses all of the above problems.

Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents
Piss Poor Performance

Step One: Research & Idea Generation

This is the most demanding part of writing. If you’ve ever felt ‘stuck’ or otherwise incapable of producing content… this is the solution.

Before I begin writing anything, I take time to research the topic I am writing on as completely as possible.

I’ll also keep a separate piece of paper handy, where I’ll jot down article ideas. Anything that comes to mind goes on the paper.

When that’s done, I look at the ways in which my writing is going to support my ongoing endeavors. That can be a client’s marketing strategy, delivering premium value to you – the reader –  or just self-amusement.

Once I decide on which approach I want to support with the piece, I go through the list of ideas I made earlier. For every single one of them, I ask the question:

What value does this provide to the reader?

If I find it not suitable for the strategy, I’ll leave it for future use and move on. I’ll often go through 30-40 different ideas to find one that clicks.

Step Two: Outline, outline, outline

This is crucial. An idea can’t stand on its own. You don’t want to float around it any longer than absolutely necessary to get your point across.

By using a framework of how you want to present the idea, you’re making your work as a writer easier.

The way I do this is simply to guide the reader step-by-step. From the problem resolved by the idea, all the way to the solution.

As an example, this post consists of:

  • Short intro
  • Problem
    • Explanation of problem
  • Solution
    • Step 1
    • Step 2
    • Step 3
    • Step 4
  • End

Having a strong idea of what you’re going to say at each point makes writing effortless.

Step Three: Write

This is the part that is easiest.

What made the biggest difference for me in this respect was switching from typing to voice recognition. I went with the Google Docs Voice Typing feature, since it’s free, and available on all platforms.

Just doing this simple thing, increased my writing speeds by 3 to 5 times. Depending on just how complex the given topic is.

A 500-word piece would take me about an hour in the past. Nowadays, that’s 10-15 minutes, plus 5-10 for editing.

Once you have all the notes, ideas, and concepts laid out on the page, comes the tedious part.

Step Four: Edit & Proofread

I usually do my editing myself, with the help of HemingwayApp.

Then I drop the text into either Google Docs or Microsoft Word to catch any errors that might have slipped by.

Sometimes I ask my wife to read my writing for a final check-up, as she’s American, well read, and a very proficient writer.

Having a second set of eyes to rely on is always a good thing.

If you’ve found this helpful, or have comments, thoughts, or considerations about how this process can be improved, let me know in the comments.

Sincerely,
Phil Bajsicki

What does a copywriter need, and why?

Suppose you made the decision to increase your sales by hiring a copywriter. Generally, what comes next is a long discussion of exactly what you need. This includes, your audience, your product, and other things that are relevant.

To streamline the process, many copywriters use intake surveys. These allow the client to answer a list of questions, and save time.

Here is a Google document which I use. I don’t remember exactly where I got it, cover it serves all the purposes that I need.

Just click here, and it’ll open in a new tab. (Note this version isn’t editable, given that it’s for public access.)

So let’s go over it point by point.

Read More

Why copy is more important than design

Every message, whether it is a simple ad, a landing page, a book, a presentation, or your everyday conversations, relies on its content.

On the web and in print, the content is your words. Your words are your copy. Your copy makes, or breaks, the sale.

“I will do X for you for Y.”

This doesn’t actually incite people to take you up on it. They can always find the same thing cheaper. Or done better. Or faster.

How do they know it’s a good deal?
Do they even need it?

What makes copy/ content so important?

Copy is built from the ground-up to persuade, influence and convert.

Good copy reaches the people that you are selling to. It presents your offer as the solution to their problem. Whether that’s saving time, making their lives easier, or learning something.

And when you put it in context, all those things will affect your outcome. The more you connect with your prospect, the more likely they are to trust your expertise on a given topic.

To do that, you can use such things as:

  • Testimonials, References, Awards,
  • Past projects that you’ve done,
  • Guarantees,
  • Extra bonuses that your prospect will get when they buy,
  • And much, much more.

Good copy entrances, because it connects with people on a deep and profound level. And then it delivers the precise words they need, in order to take action.

You will sell more with good copy.

While design also has a wide spectrum of quality, is more limited.

Sure, you can have pictures, but at the end of the day, design is the frame around the content that the copy provides.

Executed perfectly, the two support each other, guiding your audience step by step. Explaining why they should buy, and addressing all reasons they might have to choose not to.

Yet if you were to invest in design alone, you would find your sales remaining the same. Because design on its own doesn’t actually convey meaning.

So before you go budgeting for your content and website, really ask yourself:

Do you have a strong offer to deliver to your audience?

Sincerely,
Phil Bajsicki

PS. To clarify, I’m not saying design is worthless – I’m saying that design isn’t content in the degree copy is.

Reading List – Hypnosis & Hypnotism

If you want to learn hypnosis from all sides that matter, this is The Reading List™.

It’s not particularly short, many of the books and works listed here are very theory-heavy.

Now, if you’re up to solving simple problems that you, or those around you have, you’ll find a lot of tools and techniques that you can immediately use in the Basics list.

And if you’re a copywriter/ salesperson looking to improve, you’ll want to focus on the more therapy-oriented titles on this list.

Lastly, if you’re here just to impress friends, you can’t go wrong with Reality is Plastic and the Stage Hypnosis section.


Basics of Hypnosis (mostly direct stuff)

A THEORY OF HYPNOSIS — Alfred A. Barrios, PhD

A good research-based overview of what hypnosis is, the ways it functions, and all that. It’s academic language, but it does cover everything in a coherent definition of what, how, and why.

Hypnotherapy — Dave Elman

One of the most, if not THE most important book on hypnosis and hypnotherapy so far. Must-read for anyone even remotely interested in practicing hypnosis in any extent whatsoever.

Yes, it is about therapy, but it covers all principles which are important.
And it does so in a very accessible manner.

Reality is Plastic — Anthony Jacquin

Excellent intro to practice, regardless of which direction you want to take later on. It’s a beginner’s book. It does cover things fairly direct perspective, and it makes in-person work easy. Which you should take advantage of; as suggestion remains suggestion regardless of medium.

Conversational (covert) Hypnosis

A lot of it mimics the approaches of conventional marketing. Yet the linguistic subtleties are something that I rarely see mentioned.

Worth your while, especially with regards to storytelling, using confusion, and metaphors.

Ericksonian Approaches — A comprehensive Manual — Thomas L. South

It explains most of the Ericksonian principles in a straightforward way, and opens the way for your study of the next book:

My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton Erickson — Sidney Rosen

Basically a script book. It contains the words of Milton Erickson. In-depth study of the way they’re written and their contents will prove very useful.

Literally anything by Igor Ledochowski

The authority on conversational hypnosis in this day, Igor went from lawyer to coach, to hypnotist. Any of his materials are pure gold as far as I’m concerned. What will be of most interest to writers are:

Power of Conversational Hypnosis,

Mind Bending Language System,

and World-Class Hypnotic Storyteller.

Therapy-oriented Materials

These are aimed at elaborating on issues, problems, and solutions a hypnotherapist can offer to their clients. This is definitely not something you can just pick up and use. It requires that you know what you’re doing, and that you can actually help your audience when implementing these ideas.

International Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis

Title says it all. The book is aimed at psychologists and psychiatrists, so the language can be rather dense at times.

Clinical Use of Hypnosis in CBT — Robin A. Chapman

If you’re interested in your target audience picking up healthier behaviors (such as selling coaching programmes), this is the book.

The Complete CBT Guide to Anxiety — Lee Brosan

Paired with the above, it gives insight into the methods of approach, the way to get your reader rid of anxiety. I imagine it especially powerful when their anxiety prevents them from taking action.

Hypnosis and Treating Depression — Michael D. Yapko

Same as above, except with depression. If you’re selling a good, life-changing program, deep knowledge of your audience is necessary. And what better way to start that process than by knowing what works, and what doesn’t?

Provocative Hypnosis — Jorgen Rasmussen

An absolute gem of a book, especially when you know your audience enough. That said, it does need a very deep familiarity with your prospects, so it’s quite difficult to use these methods reliably.

Stage Hypnosis and Mentalism

The reason this section is even here is because being in your audience’s heads is always an astonishing phenomenon for them. It gets attention really, really well.

The New Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnosis — Ormond McGill

Everything you need to get out and run a show. You’ll find easy, quick and useful techniques of getting attention, guiding it, and utilizing it.

13 Steps to Mentalism — Corinda

Super-old book, but it’s still very much valid, and useful.


And… that’s it. There’s a lot more worthwhile books that I could recommend, but this should be a sufficiently wide spectrum of techniques and information to cover anything you might need, whether you’re writing copy, or helping friends out. Or making sales.

Sincerely,
Phil Bajsicki

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