How was your weekend? Mine was cold–I mean like single-digit, freeze-your-fingers cold. I got most of what I needed to get done, done early and stayed home on Sunday. And then my internet flopped…ha. After the four days that the over-the-phone tech guy said we’d been having problems, it got fixed yesterday morning.
Anyway, let’s get to it for today.
This is going to be a Copywriting Codex, which is something I haven’t done in a long, long time. A Codex is Ty-speak for a copywriters-only post (instead of a Fiction File for fiction writers only). Not to say you can’t read this if you’re a fiction writer…if you discover something new to use in your writing, heaven forbid I stop you.
Several months ago, I was listening to a recording of a speech that Eugene Schwartz shot out to a group at Phillips Publishing in about the 1950s or so (I’ll probably refer to this in the next couple posts, and probably come back to it later on year, we’ll see–yes it’s that good). Eugene wrote a book called Breakthrough Advertising, about different types of copywriting/ad techniques. You can get a copy of this book on Amazon…the hardcover’s only $1,000 (maybe because it was the hardcover first edition?)
Anyway, one of the many things that Eugene said in the speech was that he got the assignment to write a sales letter to kick off a publishing company called Boardroom. But what really got me was that he wrote the letter in the time his wife had to get ready to go out with him on a date, party, or what-have-ya (she took a while, he said). It took him something like an hour to write this sales letter.
And then he sat on it…for something like two weeks–the amount of time he said he would need to write the letter when he first got the contract.
Why the heck would he do that? He said something like:
“because if I turned it in right then, he would think it was worth nothing…”
(Or something thereabout-ish.) I don’t know if he edited the letter before he turned it in–it didn’t really seem like he did (I could be wrong).
Isn’t that the craziest reason for letting work cool off you’ve ever heard? This can mean the world of difference for editing, fresh eyes on the work, and all that.
What I’m really thinking about though is the appreciation (by you and/or your client) about the time, effort, and value that comes from writing a piece of copy (supposing it’s good copy). Words that sell things or take people places do have value.
And I think setting it aside to appreciate and then revise it is one of the biggest ways to recognize that.
Until next time,