Here’s How Sad, Summery Music Can Boost Your Writing…

How’s it going? I was out running errands today longer than I thought I’d be, but I’d like to talk about something else, at least for now.

Let’s get to it.

I go into stores a lot to buy things. I’ve noticed that in a lot of different stores (especially the grocery type), they play ads for different stuff (which I should also get to in another post).

They also play music.

For some reason, maybe it’s just me, I’m noticing that they’re playing a lot of regret/wistful type love songs nowadays. I can’t really nail down titles for you too much, I just notice a lot of sad chords and hopeful thinking being thrown around.

And it made me really conscious of the season–summer–that we’re going to be coming into (or as Wikipedia schooled me on the other day, are already officially into, like right now).

I think that’s the point, though. That music somehow created in me that same type of yearning that the characters in the piece are experiencing, just because I listened to it. I was putting myself in their shoes without thinking about it (I don’t know if being a musician and a sometimes unnecessarily emotional dude helps with that or not).

This is the type of thing you want to do with your emails, short fiction, and what-have-ya. You want your readers, prospects, or client’s prospects to be with you every step of the way.

First they have to know and like you though (relationship and reputation, at least in your small corner of the Entire-net).

Then you have to prove that you value and know them with the info you provide (even if that info helps them solve a problem or entertains them, and it’s something you sell).

And only then, if you do your craft well, will they stick with you. At least that’s my take on it. There’s a writer I know of who actually listens to different pieces of music to laser in on different emotions while he writes, which is another, more specific angle.

But in the end, pick the fewest details that paint the biggest picture, and go, go, go.

Until next time,

Ty

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Copywriting Codex: Fictional Theater Agent Illustrates Huge Buying Trigger…

How’s it going? It’s a lot cooler today, and I’m glad for that.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

On Sunday, I watched quite a bit of an old(er) 1955 movie called The Tender Trap, with Frank Sinatra and Debbie Reynolds (who was about 23 at the time). It’s interesting because it’s about one of the greatest legitimate ways to get people to buy something you happen to be promoting.

The show’s about a married dude named Joe (played by a guy named David), who visits his friend Charlie in New York (the other dude, played by Frank Sinatra). Joe is super jealous of Charlie because in about the first five minutes of the show, three beautiful women come to his apartment. They’re talking about how much his apartment needs to be cleaned, kissing him, sweet-talking him, and everything else.

Anyway, Charlie is making good money as a theater agent signing people up for musicals and what-have-ya. Everything seems to come easy to him…everything.

Well, he and Joe are in the theater one day, and Debbie Reynolds’ character Julie is there, auditioning for a musical (I think). Under the guise of getting to know her professionally, (of course), Charlie asks Julie to dinner…

And she immediately says no.

Not kissing him, not fawning over him about how his apartment needs to be cleaned…just no.

And then the interesting stuff starts (not that it wasn’t to begin with). Charlie becomes fascinated by Julie, and keeps trying to get her to go out with him. Eventually things do happen, in a lopsided and hilarious way, but the point of this is…

We want what we can’t have.

Or what we don’t have, or something someone else has. If someone thinks they can’t have something, even though they know it exists, if it’s presented as desirable and beneficial, they’ll want it. And that something can even be access to another person.

It’s mostly perception that builds desire like this.

If we were to go into a store, and I pointed something out to you and said “XYZ is $300,” and I thought it was something you liked, wouldn’t questions start popping in your head? Things like:

Holy shmoly, it’s $300? Why the heck is it so much?

What makes it different?

Is it better quality than anything else?

Why do I have to examine it with a telescope from across the store?

When you started looking at it, to see why XYZ is so great, the benefits and features may build on from there. Maybe this was:

Made from high quality metal and yarn, processed with strict purity standards

Sewn by moonlighting shoemaker elves who’ve consulted for Vera Wang

Or something else…

We don’t need to be deceptive or anything to create desire. All we’ve gotta do is create the most favorable picture we can, and let the prospect’s mind and perception build their own reasons to buy from there.

Until next time,

Ty

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How My Sweaty Weekend Reminded Me of Being a Writer

How was your weekend? Mine was hot–I mean like in the high 80s hot or so. So no shopping, or comics, or papers to speak of…just chugging water, and trying to keep cool (and deciding against drawing the drapes in the interest of healthy exposure to sunlight).

Do I have AC at home? Yep, I do, but I try to save it for the 90+, I’m-gonna-die-from-sweat-humidity type days.

Yesterday was not that type of day–it bordered on it, but in the end, things were fine.

Kinda reminds me of being a writer. So much of it is personal choice. What type of fiction do you write? Some people know what they like, and others have to try a few things (and some try some things to stretch themselves–more of something that I should do).

Do you publish it for others to enjoy on a blog like this, or try to get the world at large interested by getting a commercial rig-up to publish it…or do you publish it on Amazon yourself and shoot the word out?

Personal choice, again.

If you’re a copywriter, what niche do you write copy for? Health? Making money? B2B? Education? Other writers have a type of copy that they specialize in, like VSL scripts, sales letters, emails, or what-have-ya. Not to be confused with content like blogs or white papers (which other writers specialize in).

That’s all based on personal…you get the idea.

Personal choice is also why I schedule posts ahead of time. Seems that I’ve got some script notes to look over, another to draft, and a lawn that regrettably doesn’t mow itself.

So in the end, find what works for you, get good, and work it.

I know I will be…and remember to enjoy the process, and go easy on yourself.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: Taking a Shower, and Then…

How’s it going? The weekend’s almost here, but we’ve got some time left.

Today is Fabulous Fiction Friday, Triple F, and a prompt for you.

For some reason, bland life-things pop into my head to inspire these things. Which I have to sometimes twist/morph to be fictional.

Yesterday, for some weird reason, I had a thought about what to blog for that day. That subject popped into my head after I got off a coaching call, and during a stint in the shower (when hot water flows over your brains).

And then I forgot that idea. Arghhh!

Anyway, that led me in another direction. For this week’s prompt, you get:

A character takes a shower in something other than water. What is it, and why?

And now, we fiction. And if you’re going to be odd, offbeat, or what-have-ya, feel free to do that on your own deal, after you’ve dreamed up the backstory, gender, problems, setting, and more that go along with this plot point.

What if the nitrogen content on earth gets too low? Will people who don’t want to wear spacesuits have to take showers in nitrous gases before going outside? What if Kurt wants to test what happens if he doesn’t? Is it lethal? Or a conspiracy?

Or maybe the air on Earth has become toxic, and everyone takes a shower in a new compound called noo-voo-baria-stratuspherum to protect against harmful pollutants when going for a jog? That would be a plot point in itself–you’d have to weave a story and character who has a problem with this in some way.

All right, that’s enough to get the mental snowball hupping down the hill.

June 2017 has barely started. Do your best to make an impact–even if that’s just your day to day helping people.

And make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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Thinking Too Much about June…

How’s it going? Today is June 1st–awesome. I really enjoy blogging on the first and last days of the month (for some reason–I forgot to mention that yesterday).

Let’s get to it.

June is an interesting month because it’s almost halfway through the year (because of the 6 it has), but not really (because July 1st would be closer to having the year be half over, wouldn’t you say?)

That got me thinking (and so did a free group coaching call I had today, too, but that’s the subject of another couple posts).

A new month is a chance for new plans, continuing old ones, and what-have-ya. Being able to look back (ideally more than once a month of course) and correct where we’re going off track is a beautiful thing.

Sometimes we can’t do that. That’s part of why I became a fiction writer–to make up most (if not all) the rules, and give my characters a do-over, or meaningful change in their lives (depending on the ending, of course). And to entertain my readers.

An important part, for me, of being a copywriter is doing the same for real people–to show them products and services that can make their corner of the world a better place to be.

That’s why problems, real or fictional, is where most good stories and transformations start. You can’t have beauty without the beast, so to speak. It’s that push-pull that makes things exciting for readers (and frustrating for prospects dealing with pain or something else in their lives that they want to be gone).

Anyway, that’s how I think of new months, problems, and the day-to-day jaunt of this roller coaster we call life, to an extent. It’s something I need to get deeper into, no question about it.

We all have to start somewhere…even if that means starting over.

Tomorrow is Triple F. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,

Ty

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Across from the Roxy and a Catch-Up Announcement…

How’s it going? I knew it was coming close, but then I missed it…

Yesterday was the 500th post on this blog.

It’s pretty shocking when I think about it. I appreciate everyone who hangs out here, comments, reads, and subscribes (if you know me, you know that already, but some of you don’t, at least not yet).

Thank you! Even if you only stop by once in a while, it’s more than I could hope for to be entertaining you each weekday (or giving it my best shot to do so).

Okay, didn’t want to bask in the glory for too-too long.

Let’s get to it.

Yesterday I had this hilarious (at least to me) conversation with a business receptionist. But it didn’t start out that way.

Monday night, I took my glasses off, and knocked them on my floor. I picked them up, looking for damage. No cracked lenses. The earpiece had folded in, like I do when I put them away before I go to sleep.

I thought everything was fine, until part of the covering for the temple piece (what holds glasses against people’s heads) came off in my hand.

What a bummer. The metal didn’t break, but the rubber at the very end came off. The other part that was intact was cracked, but it had been that way for awhile.

So yesterday, I slipped the piece back on, and taped it in place with clear tape. (Stylish, ain’t it?) And then I thought I probably couldn’t live the rest of my life with it that way, and decided to call around to get it fixed the right way. Apparently, Wal-Mart doesn’t do it, at least not the one in the nearest town.

I hopped on the ol’ Entire-Net and found another place that I’d never heard of, but that was in the same town.

Then I got on the phone. The woman wanted to know the brand of my glasses. I said I didn’t know, but had had them for years (about 10 or so actually). I tried to describe what happened. The woman said it might be fixable, and told me it’d be best for me to stop by. I said I’d try to do that in a day or so if I could, and asked where they were located.

“We’re next to the Roxy.”

And for some strange reason, she kept saying it, like it was supposed to clue me in. It was almost like we were trying to give each other a high-five, but kept missing or what-have-ya. I said I’d look it up, and hung up the phone.

It turns out the Roxy is actually Roxy Cinemas–it’s the movie place downtown.

I’m glad she couldn’t see how embarrassed I was. I’ve gone past that theater and read the movies playing dozens of times–I’m by there twice a week, and I’ve lived in the same spot for about 8 years–that’s over 2,500 times.

And I never knew the actual name of the place.

Here’s my point-erism:

If readers don’t have context, give them some. Even if it’s one familiar piece in your alien landscape for a fantasy short, or a common story or problem to lead into a product that could help them, but that they’d never heard of (yet).

And then springboard from there to the rest of what you have to say–that relatability will keep them with you.

Otherwise, you’ll be headed for Roxy territory–not where you want to be.

Until next time,

Ty

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the eyeglasses place was right across the street from the movie theater. The lady tried to repair the broken part, but the rubbery part cracked off. I now have two new, awesome chocolate brown temple pieces, all fitted on–for free.

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Why I Try to Handle Short Weeks Close to Regular Ones…

How’s it going? Memorial Day’s over now, which is all right. I did watch Where Eagles Dare, a 1969 or ’68 World War II movie with Clint Eastwood about rescuing some U.S. soldiers during the war. I thought it was pretty neat because I’m used to seeing Clint Eastwood as a cowboy or a statistician.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

I hate to cheap out a tad by using yesterday’s theme, but Memorial Day led into this. It’s generally a day where businesses are closed and a lot of people get the day off (although I did send in one request to do some voice work).

I realized that I would be taking Friday off this week, so my “work week” will only be three days, if we pop Memorial Day out of it.

Which makes it a short week. I was going to quote Zig Ziglar again on that, but I realized I wrote about short weeks before and did that already over this way.

I’d like to go a different way with this today.

As a writer, you plan almost everything, don’t you? Where your characters live, where they work, their favorite food. And for you copywriters, you’re planning out things like your hook, how many emails in a series, how many upsells after a VSL, and what-have-ya.

For me, planning out my work has to be exactly the same way. I like routine, and a lot of my time is devoted to responsibilities (work for clients and so on).

So “spontaneous” things almost never get done, unless they’re being done as part of some other time off (which doesn’t happen a lot at all).

That’s why you have to have a process that you go through–checklists, to-do lists, a monthly planner, what-have-ya. So that no matter how long or short the week is, things get planned, stories get written and sent off, and more.

I have a calendar and notebooks where I write down confirmed dates for client or prospect phone calls, completed projects, due dates, and all the other things I need to keep it all straightened out–instead of tangled in my head, or stuck inside some 20 email chain in a message somewhere.

And I definitely need to improve, to be sure.

How about you? Do you like to use electronic methods for planning, or pencils/pens and notebooks? Drop me a line in the comments.

Until next time,

Ty

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Memorial Day Got Me to Thinking…

How was your weekend? For some of us, it still could be going, because today is Memorial Day, in the United States. I’ll get to more of that in a bit.

As far as how my weekend went, mowing was involved, which meant for me that sore legs were also involved. Stretching seems to help, but I forget to do those before working out (which, it turns out, is what walking behind a mower for a few hours is). When I’m doing a super-structured workout though, I always warm up. Go figure.

Let’s get to it for today.

I’m having one of those weird days. I have things I’m planning to do, for sure, with work and my life. But there are some times, like today, my mind is opened to something bigger.

Memorial Day is the last Monday in May (also according to Wikipedia, the unofficial start of the summer vacation area of the year). That also means remembering all the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country and ideals.

That means a whole lot–seems that a lot of everyday problems pale in comparison to that, right? Things like having slow internet or bird doo on the front steps somehow become less of a problem. May 29 is also the birthday of both JFK and Patrick Henry, who also had super-impactful lives, no doubt about it.

And then there’s me, and you.

We all have the capacity to impact people, but until we’ve actually done it, it seems a little far away, doesn’t it?

And here’s the weird thing–we may never know if and how we impacted someone’s life for the better, because they may never tell us at all.

So it’s better to just concentrate on being the best we can be at writing, marketing, or what-have-ya, get the word out, and let everything else lock into place.

If it’s working, do it more, and if not, do something else.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of simpler things, more often than not.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: It’s Not Ideal, but Do It Anyway…

How’s your week been so far? My internet’s been a little wonky, so I’ll make this quick (and use it for inspiration, too).

For some reason the speed is way down on it, but there are some things I can still do–kinda slowly.

So for today’s Fabulous Fiction Friday prompt, you have:

A character is in an unfavorable situation, but they do something anyway.

Wide open, I know. You’ll have to pop gender in there, all the backstory, as well as what’s being done, why the situation’s unfavorable, and what-have-ya.

Something like:

Carlos is having a problem with his back, and has to go to work because he has to pay rent at the end of the month. What if he collapses when he’s on the job, and gets hospitalized? What if “rent” means seconds off your life for every moment you’re not at work, because of overcrowding, disease, or other problems future humanity has gotten itself into, in the fictional sense, at least?

Or how about Jenny is worried about having to confront her boyfriend about some strange texts that don’t seem to be from his mom or sister, discussing a meeting at a place she’s never heard of. Is she just paranoid? Is he a cheater? Or is he paying off his debt to a mobster, because he’s really from the future? And if he is, how would she eventually find that out? Another angle…did he leave his phone out for her because he was itching to come clean and couldn’t think of any other way?

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling.

This is the last full week of May 2017, too.

Make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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Funny Thing Happened on My Trip through the Blogosphere…

How’s it going? I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for over 3 years or so now. And something really weird brought it up, too.

I got followers to another blog that I have, Fiction and Copy. The thing is…

I haven’t updated that blog since I posted about my American Idol winner prediction…in 2014.

Wow. Today I did post over there, to let the kind folks who followed that one know about its beefier counterpart over here.

What’s weird about it is that several people followed Fiction and Copy, even though I haven’t tended it for years and years. Maybe they liked the style.

I appreciate that a lot.

Well, here they’ll get more of it, that’s for sure, although I need to get back into pop culture more, since I kinda departed from mentioning that type of thing, at least a teeny bit.

Which reminds me…

When people do market research, it turns up interesting things. You’ll still need to test the market though. Will they buy, or won’t they? You want to get as close of a guess as possible so that it’s not guessing, but who knows? Maybe readers will like your main character’s new girlfriend, maybe they won’t. Or they think that he and his girl he broke up with should get back together, or what-have-ya. Or the email campaign you write for a client may do well, even though you wrote in a style you’ve never tried before.

That’s why the market needs to be tested. As long as the idea isn’t way off, people may still enjoy it, and buy into it. It’s the age-old tightrope of “give me the same, but different” that writers of almost every type have had to walk for decades and longer.

The results may be a surprise…just like awesome people following a blog I totally forgot I had.

Until next time,

Ty

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